Autumn 2010

November 2010

Welcome to our third newsletter;

Whether we like it or not, or whether we choose to ignore it, climate change is going to affect us all. Maybe not this year, maybe not even next, but without doubt our children and grandchildren will see shortages in fuel and food and huge price rises. Any changes for the better that we can make now, no matter how small, will help secure them a more stable future.

The principal aim of Transition Lavenham (TL) is to help make Lavenham more self-reliant in energy, food and local services, thus reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ and in the process, helping to cushion us from the inevitable blow. That may sound like a woolly and unachievable mission statement but great progress has been made since that first well-attended meeting just over two years ago, with lots of behind-the-scenes work being carried out by the steering group and others. When TL took its first steps, we were one of only a few, now there are several hundred Transition Towns all with similar aims to our own. Collectively we have enormous strength. Here are some of the things we have done so far;

Transition Lavenham has concluded its study of the Village Hall energy systems. We recommend that it seeks funding for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels for its roof, to benefit from feed-in-tarriffs and provide free electricity for air source to air heat pumps to heat in winter and cool in summer the main hall and society room. We are also investigating the installation of presence and absence detectors to switch off lights when not needed and light intensity (lux) meters to provide illumination with the lowest electricity consumption.

During the year we also commissioned a survey on the feasibility of energy from wind power in the Lavenham area. This demonstrated significant potential on the old airfield and at three local farms. TL has supported an application for an installation on one of the farms and this has now gone to appeal.

Food Production

Our land share scheme continues and it is surprising what can be achieved in a relatively small space.
Our picture shows just one day’s harvest of vegetables during September this year
If you have some unused land or would like space to grow your own then please get in touch.

rich pickings

TL is also looking for space to start an orchard– minimum 4 or 5 trees. Please contact John Knight if you can help.
Our scheme to distribute free seeds will continue In 2011 and we expect to have packs available at the Farmers’ markets in February or March.

Publicity and awareness

Apart from our regular attendance at the Farmers Market (thanks to John Knight) we have held several meetings to in the Village Hall to help raise awareness. These have included showing the film Age of Stupid, a presentation by the Open Spaces Theatre Group, and a film about the Transition movement. Members of the steering committee have attended a number of local events and meetings to publicise and explain our activities. We also now have over 100 members of our Transition Lavenham Community Interest Company. Membership is free and you can download an application form from our web site at or get one at the Farmers’ Market

Peak oil

Though BP hotly denies it is the ultimate peak, global all-oils production, including tar sands, heavy oils and natural gas liquids, fell 2.6% from a peak of 82 million barrels a day in 2008 to 80 million barrels a day in 2009. This is 30 billion barrels or 30 gigabarrels or 30 Gb per annum.

The Brazilian government has just claimed that the newly discovered off-shore Tupi field contains 8 billion barrels, so if this could all be extracted it would provide just 4 months of global demand.

The latest well was drilled in waters 2,152 metres (7,055 feet) deep approximately 290 kilometres (180 miles) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. The sub-sea technology needed to exploit this find presents severe challenges.

A 2008 US Geological Survey reportsaid the area offshore Greenland could hold oil and gas of more than 50 billion barrels of oil equivalent. But until now, companies’ exploration efforts have come up empty handed. This would last the world just 18 months at present consumption.

In Lavenham we have to retain our quality of life by improved efficiency in energy use and with alternative sources to oil.

What now?

We face massive challenges but there is a lot that we can do. There are many ways in which we can reduce our own households’ footprint, even if we live in a listed building or conservation area and are subject to short-sighted planning regulations. Things are changing, attitudes are evolving and we’re learning all the time, but for TL to progress further with its aims, we need more help.

You may have added your name to our list of possible volunteers at one of our events, in which case we’ll be contacting you again soon. But please, if you feel you can offer suggestions, maybe some solutions and most of all, a little time, do get in touch with one of us to find out about opportunities to get involved. We need groups looking more actively at energy conservation, food production, local buying power and more. We also need help with administration, publicity and events organisation. Please give one of our steering committee members a call if you feel you can help. All their names and contact details are listed on our web site at

These are difficult times, but by working together we can make Lavenham’s future a bit more sustainable for the people who live here after us. Don’t we owe it to them?

Our next meetingwill be an Annual General meeting for all members of Transition Lavenham CIC to be held in the Guildhall on Thursday 20th January at 6p.m. After the formal business we plan to have a short break for refreshments at around 6.30 p.m. after which all will be welcome to join us for a short presentation and a discussion.

Yours sincerely

Carroll Reeve
Chairman Transition Lavenham CIC