Understanding environmental impact is crucial to sustainability and community quality of life.

Vote to Leave European Union Challenges Environmental Campaigners

Leaving the European Union will provide environmental campaigners with challenges and opportunities. Many of our environmental laws are based on EU treaties and will need to be replaced. As David Levy of Marinet outlines in a blog article, the challenge to environmental campaigners is to take advantage of the opportunity to play an active role in shaping the new legislation to ensure that commercial interests are not allowed to roll back established environmental protections.

Cwmbrân Big Event

Torfaen Friends of the Earth had a stall at Cwmbrân Big Event, held on Saturday the 11th of June at Cwmbrân Boating Lake, an annual event organised by Torfaen County Borough Council.

We enjoyed Cwmbrân Big Event as usual. We spent the day talking with visitors and giving out information about Friends of the Earth's bee campaign and in support of the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union.

Daisy-Mae, Abbie, Katie & Lucy publicising Friends of the Earth's Bee Cause campaign to ban pesticides that harm bees and to encourage people to grow more bee-friendly plants.

Rosemary Fisher and Carole Jacob handing out copies of Friends of the Earth's Position Statement on voting to remain in the European Union

Rosemary Fisher and Carole Jacob handing out copies of Friends of the Earth's Position Statement on voting to remain in the European Union.

Wild Forest Products in Europe

StarTree have organised an international conference on Wild Forest Products in Europe on 13–14 October 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. The two-day conference includes invited keynote talks, sessions with contributed oral presentations, a poster exhibit, and a panel discussion with decision makers and stakeholder representatives. More information at: http://star-tree.eu/final-conference-2016

‘Save the planet, it's the only one with chocolate’

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds and Torfaen FoE members take tea as part of Stop Climate Chaos Cymru's campaign for the COP21 talks in Paris

Torfaen's MP Nick Thomas-Symonds joined some Torfaen Friends of the Earth members for tea and chocolate cake as part of the Stop Climate Chaos Cymru campaign in the run up to the climate change talks in Paris, at Raspberry Tearooms, Llanyrafon Manor Cwmbrân.

Torfaen Council Votes NO to Fracking and Becomes Wales' Newest Frack Free Area!

Yes, you read that correctly. On the 20th of October 2015 Torfaen County Borough Council voted against fracking. This follows a recent campaign by Torfaen Friends of the Earth to stop fracking in their area, which saw hundreds of people support a petition calling for the controversial process of fracking not to be allowed in the county.

We want to say a huge well done to all our amazing local campaigners and to everyone who takes the time to sign these petitions! The fight to get all local authorities in Wales to become frack free is still underway.

Update

At a later meeting Torfaen County Borough Council withdrew their previous decision to declare the area frack free on the advice of its Chief Planning Officer. The council, however, remains opposed to fracking in Torfaen has written to the Welsh Government in support of its cautionary position.

Bees Petition

TFoE bee information stall at B&Q staffed by Carole Jacob and Suzi McIntyre

Members of Torfaen Friends of the Earth spent 4 hours on Saturday the 19th of September at the B&Q store in Cwmbrân collecting signatures to petition MPs to support the current ban on neonicotinoid pesticides and extend it to all crops.

Neonicotinoids are neuro-active substances used as insecticides, and their use has been linked to reductions in bee populations. Bees perform a vital role in the pollination of many crops and wild plants.

Further information and photographs.

South Sebastopol: Planning Application

Taylor Wimpey South Wales and Barratt Homes have submitted a planning application for part of the first phase of work on the South Sebastopol site. The application concerns landscaping, layout, roads and infrastructure for 210 dwellings.

Details of Planning Application 15/P/00271 are available and the deadline for comments is the 24th of June 2015.

South Sebastopol Environmental Steering Group

The first meeting of the South Sebastopol Environmental Steering Group, which involves the developers of South Sebastopol, the council members and officers, Gwent Wildlife Trust, The Canal and Rivers Trust and Torfaen Friends of the Earth, has been held. A Management Plan has been produced and currently being scrutinized by the ESG before implementation. The ESG will act in perpetuity and therefore, this is a long term commitment for Torfaen Friends of the Earth.

Varteg Hill Opencast Mine

Friends of the Earth Cymru have issued a press release highlighting their representation to Torfaen Country Borough Council opposing Glamorgan Power's proposal for an opencast coalmine at Varteg Hill. Written by Gareth Clubb, Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, the representation draws attention to the misrepresentation of environmental policies and law in the proposal to mine coal, as well as the irrationality of mining fossil fuels in the the light of climate change.

Another opencast coalmine is proposed by Miller Argent in the Rhymney Valley, in Caerphilly County, and Friends of the Earth Cymru have called on the Welsh Government to outlaw opencast mining.

Campaigns

Torfaen Friends of the Earth campaign locally on issues of local and global significance.

Current campaign areas include:

Bee Friendly Community Garden

Torfaen Friends of the Earth are creating a bee friendly community garden on neglected land next to 1 Railway Terrace, Sebastopol, Pontypool NP4 5EJ co-ordinated by Torfaen's countryside officer, Gareth Phillips, with Keep Wales Tidy on board too.

Work took place on the site on Thursday the 28th and Friday the 29th of August 2014. On the Thursday Torfaen Countryside Rangers in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy cleared the overgrown vegetation on the site in order to make it accessible. On the Friday volunteers from the local community helped clear waste from the site. Read an account of the two days spent clearing the site.

There is still work to be done clearing the site. Contact us if you would like to be involved.

BEEing Friendly at Cwmbrân Big Event

Carole and Corinne at Cwmbran Big Event June 2014

Carole & Corinne campaigning for bees at Cwmbrân Big Event, June 2014. Photograph by Adrian Reilly.

BEEing Friendly at Llantarnam Abbey

Volunteers sewing wild flower seed in a fieldTorfaen Friends of the Earth joined forces with Torfaen Biodiversity Partnership, Torfaen County Borough Council, Ancient Cwmbrân Society, Gwent Wildlife Trust, The Floodplain Meadows Partnership and Natural Resources Wales to seed a new flower meadow in the grounds of the beautiful Llantarnam Abbey with the kind permission of the Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy. … Read more