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WALKS 1ST HALF YEAR 2014137 - Copy

UK Power Networks is installing new electricity cables on the Isle of Grain as part of a £1million investment.

The company will be installing 1.6km of new high voltage cables along Grain Road, plus 500metres of power lines across farmland as part of the project which is due to start on March 3.

Engineers are replacing an existing high voltage cable that is due for renewal. Work is due to finish in August to ensure reliable electricity supplies for homes and businesses for years to come.

Electricity supplies will not be affected by the scheme although roadworks will be needed and advance warning signs will be used at intervals along Grain Road to keep motorists informed.

Temporary traffic lights will be in place while a series of short trenches are excavated in the road to install a duct line into which new cables will be pulled and joined to the electricity network. The Grain Road excavations will be between Colemouth Creek bridge and the bend south of Wallend. The traffic lights will be manually controlled at the busiest times to help keep traffic flowing through the works.

A small tunnel will also be constructed to carry the new electricity cables underneath the railway line and this should have no impact on the public.

Colin Barden, UK Power Networks’ Head of Network Operations in the South East, said: “We are constantly investing in our network to improve the reliability of electricity supplies and reduce the likelihood and duration of power cuts in the future. As the electricity distributor throughout Kent we are replacing this section of cable to strengthen electricity supplies in the long-term following some cable faults in this area.

“The cables will be laid along the main road to the Isle of Grain. We have planned our work with care, closely consulting the local authorities to keep the impact on the local community to a minimum.”

This project is part of the £500 million that UK Power Networks is investing each year in new equipment to keep improving power supplies and cater for growing demand for electricity. The company delivers electricity across more than a quarter of Britain serving the South East, London and East of England.

Gruffalo-press imageThemed activity trails, giant wooden Gruffalo sculptures and a big birthday forest picnic are coming to Bedgebury.

Families in Kent and Sussex are invited into a deep dark wood near their home this year to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with characters from the world-famous picture books.

From April, visitors can join Mouse on his adventure and explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale through activity trails in the Pinetum.

The fun-packed partnership kicks off with The Gruffalo activity trails in Bedgebury and 27 other forests across England, which run through to the end of September. In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay in Bedgebury right through the winter until February 2015. Characters from the stories will lead children through the trees with adventure and intrigue, learning about woods and forests as they go.

From June, a giant wooden sculpture of one of the world’s best-loved monsters himself will be hidden in Bedgebury Pinetum. Another 14 of the 7ft tall sculptures will be hidden in forests across England, for families to track down. The 15 Gruffalos will all be different and are currently being individually-carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites.

Visitors are also invited to gather in Bedgebury with family and friends on Saturday 7 June to celebrate The Gruffalo’s anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic – inspired by an exciting party pack of forest-inspired picnic ideas, activities and bunting, free to download this Spring from the Forestry Commission’s website http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo.
Daryl Shute from Magic Light Pictures, the brand building and production company responsible for the award-winning animated Gruffalo films commented:

“The Gruffalo encourages followers to explore the real world with imagination, creativity and a true sense of adventure. With emphasis on learning and the great outdoors, Forestry Commission England is the perfect partner, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them in this anniversary year to launch these exciting new series of trails across the country.”
“The Gruffalo lives in the natural world so a local forest is the perfect place to set out with Mouse on his journey in search of these magnificent new wooden carvings of one of the nation’s favourite children’s picture book characters.”

Sandra Styles from Bedgebury commented:

“There is no better way to celebrate The Gruffalo than within the deep dark wood and forest that he calls home.

“The Gruffalo is a national treasure and so are our forests and this partnership will really help to bring the story to life and celebrate the anniversary in true Gruffalo style.

“All the activities have been carefully positioned at Forestry Commission sites across the country so you are never more than an hour away from a Gruffalo adventure, and we are very excited to be a part of the celebrations with The Gruffalo activity trails and a sculpture at Bedgebury.”

Details of trails and sculpture locations and the forest birthday picnic party pack are available from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo. Sign up online to find out more about the exciting year of forest celebrations.

walking bus stop signIt’s all aboard for children in Medway as the number of youngsters using the Walking Bus service doubles. Almost 1,500 youngsters now take part in the project – up from 734 previously – and there are 47 active routes.

The Medway Council scheme is a fun, healthy, and safe way of travelling to school. Powered by good, old-fashioned legwork, the children and volunteers walk in a group along a set route, picking up or dropping off ‘passengers’ at specific ‘bus stops’ on their journey to and from school.

The rise in users was boosted with a ‘Hedgehog Hike’ and ‘Social Netwalk’ event during International Walk to School Month where 17 schools in Medway took part. Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, councillor Phil Filmer, said: “We’re delighted more and more children are taking part in this scheme.

“It’s a great way for children to get to school, helps encourage them to be safe on the road as well as having health and environmental benefits.”

A walking bus can be easy to set up and must have a minimum of two adults per route (often staff or parents); an adult ‘driver’ at the front of the bus to and a ‘conductor’ at the back of the bus, ensuring that a ratio of one adult to every six children is met.

Younger children and babies transported in pushchairs or buggies may join the walking bus if accompanied by their parent or carer.

To find out more about individual schemes in Medway, email travel.safety@medway.gov.uk or visit http://www.kmwalktoschool.co.uk/

In a separate success, Medway Council has now issued 40,000 reflective tags to schoolchildren to help them stay safer on their journeys to and from school. The tags, which can be attached to backpacks, bags or on clothing, helps make children visible in headlights up to 150m sooner and it makes children up to 15 times more visible in daylight. Community wardens have helped deliver the tags, which were funded by the council’s Public Health department.

Work has started on upgrading a Medway park which has attracted £60,000 from a green projects fund.
broomhill view2
This follows a successful Medway Council bid for SITA Trust funding to enable the £150,000 project to begin at Broomhill Park, Strood.

A complete refurbishment of the infant play area will take place and a new sports wall will provide an opportunity for children to play sport and active group games.

Full resurfacing of 1km of paths and the car park also forms part of the project.
A human sun dial has been designed jointly with the Friends of Broomhill and will replace one painted on the site’s old gun emplacement five years ago.

The play area will have a natural theme with images of leaves embossed in the playground surfacing. Equipment will include swings, a climbing frame and a see-saw.
Installing the play area as well as resurfacing paths and the car park will take up to six weeks and the site car park will be closed during that time.
Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “This is an exciting scheme which will provide young children with a lovely place to play in a natural setting.
“It’s part of a long-term vision developed by our greenspaces team with the local community. We are very grateful for the significant contribution from SITA that has allowed this project to go ahead.”
Jools Granville of SITA Trust said: “We are pleased to provide this much- needed funding to such a good project. We’re very impressed with the amount of community buy in and look forward to seeing members of the public enjoying these new facilities.”

Food waste recycling has just got easier for Medway residents.

medway council caddyFrom Monday 27 January, compostable kitchen caddy liners to take food leftovers can be bought at selected Medway libraries.

The liners are £1.50 for 26, a competitive price to encourage more residents to use them.

Libraries at Chatham Community Hub, Hoo, Rainham, Strood, Walderslade and Wigmore will stock them for a six-week trial. If successful, other libraries could be added.

Cllr Phil Filmer, Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, said: “Using these liners is good. They keep the kitchen caddy clean, reduce smells and make it easier to transfer food waste.

“We have had a good response from residents since we introduced weekly recycling in October and we want to encourage more.

While caddy liners are best, newpaper or kitchen roll can be used as an alternative. For more details, www.medway.gov.uk/recyclenow

Shoveler Anas clypeata, drakes in flight, Norfolk, AprilLovely weather for ducks as a record number lands at RSPB Cliffe Pools

The North Kent Marshes are a vital winter retreat for European ducks and waders that escape the frozen north, a birdwatching spectacle that has drawn ornithologist Murray Orchard to Cliffe Pools for the past forty years. This month Murray counted 720 of one of the UK’s most attractive ducks, the Shoveler, dispersed across the flooded clay pits.

Murray said, “This count is probably the highest at a single site in Kent since 1961. In my experience, the last two winters have seen the largest gatherings of waders and ducks in the history of Cliffe Pools. I have never before seen so many Shoveler in one place at one time; the total is four times the national threshold and almost twice the international threshold for conservation significance.”

The male Shoveler has an enormous beak and striking plumage and is normally seen in much lower numbers, less than a hundred, than the other species of duck.

The clay pits became an RSPB reserve in 2000, and are unique in the Thames Estuary for their saline lagoons. Murray lived near Cliffe for thirty years and regularly travels down from his home in Hertfordshire; counting birds on this scale takes experience and patience, skills Murray has honed since the age of 12 when he started birdwatching in his garden. Murray said, “Seeing these Shoveler was a great pleasure but they were hard to count, taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend will be a much simpler task.”

Cliffe Pools recently attracted 10,000 Dunlin at high tide, which Murray described as “twisting and turning like a huge cloud of smoke over the pools,” and 9,000 Black-tailed Godwits were recorded last winter. The information gathered by enthusiasts such as Murray, and all those participating in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, provides a finger on the pulse of nature in the UK, buying time to respond to conservation threats before long term damage is done to UK wildlife.

Picture1Kent Wildlife Trust, Half Term Fun – Rock and Fossil Day Leaders: Ray and Wendy Cooper and Diana Franks from Kent Geodiversity with assistance from Victoria Golding. An introduction to looking at rocks and fossils including a touch table, rock and fossil identification and a chance to work with microscopes to make up a collection of microfossils. Also put in your postcode to discover the rock type under your house.

Thursday 31st October 2013, 11.00am – 1.00pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm, Tyland Barn, Maidstone, ME14 3BD. Suitable for ages 4 – 14 year olds. Contact: Dot Hughes Cost: Suggested donation of £3.00, Booking essential by telephoning 01622 662012 or emailing dot.hughes@kentwildlife.org.uk

Contact us
Kent Wildlife Trust
Tyland Barn
Sandling
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 3BD

Phone 01622 662012 Fax 01622 671390 or info@kentwildlife.org.uk

false_false_widowsNews stories about false widow spiders are an annual occurrence, but this year the coverage has been far more persistent, with more sensationalised, unsubstantiated and downright nonsense stories than usual. With over 650 species of spider in the country but very limited public awareness there is little appreciation of the diversity of spiders, and any spiders vaguely resembling false widows (and some spiders looking nothing like false widows), are being identified as such by the press and subsequently members of the public, and vice versa since it seems fact-checking by journalists is rare. Having said that, false widows are fairly common and widespread in the South, and have been around for some time. Read More

If, like me, you have recently discovered or rediscovered the beauty of the Grain coastal area you may be interested in reading the article written by Michael Dale about the area and beyond. An article he contributed to the Thames Estuary Partnership Magazine for 2012 and reasserts the value or should I say several of the different values of this most remote part of our Peninsula. The full article can be found here TOTT_Winter_2012_36-37 (1)

Michael also runs regular guided walks around the park, stopping on occasions to impart to you the fascinating history of parts of the park. Join one of these if you can, there are two remaining for this season and they take place on the 27th October and the 24th November, you can get more details by emailing michael.dale@virgin.net or calling 01634 270314

DSC_0176Having successfully won funding of £14m in a joint effort with Veolia Environmental Services, our recycling collections will change to weekly on the 28th October. Almost all of us by now will have received our grey food recycling box which can be kept inside the house and its compostable liner can then be placed in the brown bin or its equivalent.

The increase in frequency should make it easier for most households to make the most of their recycling opportunities for all the items that the council currently process. I for one will be glad to know that Friday is recycle day, full stop, rather than having to peer up and down the road to see what everyone else has put out. Read More

marshMedway Council calls on Boris Johnson to visit North Kent and explain why he wants to impose one of the world’s biggest airports on its residents.

The council demands the mayor makes the trip just days after Daniel Moylan visited Maidstone to talk to members of the Kent Economic Board. Read More

Medway Council Trading Standards are warning the public to think carefully before signing up to green deals being sold door-to-door in Medway.

Officers advise that potential customers should always read carefully what is on offer before buying anything on the doorstep. This is because some systems may not return the expected energy savings that salesmen offer when they knock local doors – or at least not in the time frame expressed. Read More

kwthighcowWith the increasing amount and variety of livestock that the Trust owns or loans conservation grazing is becoming an increasingly important management tool. Thanks to recent project funding, many of the chalk downland reserves in the Darenth Valley are being grazed by sheep and cattle this winter, and this year for the first time we will be using goats to control invasive buddleia and silver birch at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. Read More

golden ploverLate summer and early autumn at Oare Marshes have seen huge numbers of wading birds passing through on their annual migration to over-wintering locations.

During August and September counts in excess of 2,000 black-tailed godwit, 750 redshank, 150 dunlin,100 ringed plover, 200 golden plover and 50 curlew sandpipers have been recorded – the highest count of the latter for many years. Read More

listening to treesIf you’ve ever felt like branching out and having a new experience Medway Council could have the answer for you later this month.

A new art installation will give people the chance to listen to the inner workings of trees.

To get to the root of it – how does it work?

Artist Alex Metcalf uses special high performance microphones to record the sounds from inside the tree as water is pulled up from the roots to the leaves. Read More

grain-beach-0361.jpg If you need to know more about the possible hazardous waste site at Grain you can click the following link to find all of the contact details.

Perrys Farm Information

Or you can contact your local Councillor to register your opinion by following this link

Find Your Councillor

Over the last year Hoo Peninsula residents have been meeting with local farmers, environmentalists, businesses and planners to discuss what the Hoo Peninsula could be like as a place to live and work.

Key to this is thinking more about how we can use “greening” projects to improve your quality of life as well as that for wildlife and business. A greening project could be the planting of more trees in villages to reduce temperatures in the summer. Such work could also improve local pride and provide a home for wildlife. The following link to a short video shows other examples of greening projects and their wider benefits http://vimeo.com/38736492.

These local meetings (called Community Conversations) have been organised as part of a larger EU funded project called GIFT-T! (Green Infrastructure for Tomorrow – Together!). The end goal of this work is to see if we can demonstrate what a strong social, economic and environmental future for people, wildlife and business could be.

GIFT-T! is at an early stage but we are really keen to hear the views of lots of local people – of all ages and interests about the Peninsula’s environment and future. To make this as easy as possible an on-line questionnaire has been set up where you can tell us your thoughts. The link is http://139.165.29.43/Gift/Hoopeninsula/

What next?

1. Your information will be saved and will form a key part of the information directing our work.
2. It might be possible to show the results in a future addition of the Peninsula Times.
3. You could attend a future Community Conversation meeting – email Martin.hall@gtgkm.org.uk or call 01634 337593 with your contact details.

PRESS RELEASE issued by AirportWatch a copy of the letter is at the bottom of this press release

Campaign groups representing communities threatened by airport expansion have joined forces in writing to Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, calling upon him to safeguard all the threatened communities against blight.

The Airports Commission is due to produce an interim report at the end of this year and, if it concludes that the UK needs more airport capacity, it will publish a shortlist of options. The Commission’s final report and recommendations won’t be published until mid-2015, after the next general election and it will then be for the Government of the day to take any final decisions. Read More

Photo credit and copyright Sam Baylis

Photo credit and copyright Sam Baylis

Tue, 01/10/2013 – 7:30pm Illustrated talk by Malcolm Jennings. A look at the amazing communities of insects that live in the tiny worlds that surround us. Organised by North West Kent group. Venue location Mick Jagger Centre, Dartford Boys Grammar School, Shepherds Lane, Dartford, Kent, DA1 2JZ Suggested donation £2.50. Suitable for wheelchair users. Suitable for people with limited mobility. 01622 662012

Oct Poster

Festival of Wildlife 2013 – Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th August, 10am – 4pm

This free family event, now in its 6th year, is the only annual event in Kent to celebrate the wonderful world of wildlife. Organised by Kent Wildlife Trust and centred in and around a splendid woodland and lakeside setting – the packed programme features bug hunting, guided walks and angling demonstrations. The ‘Best of Kent’ stalls will offer all manner of arts and crafts and tasty locally-sourced food products. More

Harpella forficella by Ross Newham

Harpella forficella by Ross Newham

A species of moth not previously seen in Kent and known only by its Latin name Harpella forficella has been discovered at Kent Wildlife Trust’s Holborough Marshes nature reserve, near Snodland. This striking cream and brown moth, native to Europe, was found by amateur naturalist and Trust volunteer, Ross Newham. Ross undertakes moth recording at a number of Trust reserves across West Kent, with all records helping to build up a detailed inventory of the species in the area. Using this information, conservation bodies can then study the biological records available to plan the management of sites. More

Dormouse copyright Ian Rickards

Dormouse copyright Ian Rickards

Kent Wildlife Trust is dismayed that, once again, the government has ignored its own policies meant to protect the natural environment, and has given permission for the destruction of 31 hectares of ancient woodland in order to extend Gallagher Aggregates’ Hermitage Lane quarry near Maidstone.

This irreplaceable habitat is known to support many rare and threatened species including dormice, six species of bat, birds and insects. More

wildlife7oaks2The only annual event in Kent to celebrate the wonderful world of wildlife. This FREE family fun event, now in its 6th year, will be jam packed with interactive activities including bug hunting, small mammal searches, live music, traditional folk dancing and our popular guided walks. There will be opportunities to participate in creative, environmentally aware workshops and demonstrations that share traditional values and you will go home having learnt a little bit more about your natural environment and the wildlife of Kent. More

A new committee that will play a major role in ensuring Medway residents have the access to the best possible health and social care will meet for the first time on Tuesday (18/6) afternoon.

Nationally Health and Wellbeing boards have been established in all County Councils and Unitary Authorities. Read More

There can be very few people that think an airport anywhere on the Peninsula is a fantastic idea. If you would like to see why this area doesn’t need an airport and to get to appreciate some of the beauty that surrounds us, most often within walking distance of our homes, click the link below. It will take you to a Council publication that shows some circular walks on the Hoo Peninsula, some are good just for the view others will have you walking through history that in some cases goes back several thousand years. It may only be some coppiced woodland or the very path that you are walking on but many of us believe it should stay that way.

CLICK HERE

Get your tickets for the Kent County Show

Poster - FINAL

Places are limited for two special guest lectures running alongside the exhibition “Exploring Antarctica: The Final Expeditions of Scott & Shackleton”, showing in No. 1 Smithery: The Gallery at The Historic Dockyard Chatham until 30th August. Read More

Residents of all ages are being urged to use a new health watchdog to get more involved in how health services are run in Medway. Healthwatch Medway, set up as part of national government NHS reforms, has been set the task of championing the views of local people using the NHS and social care services. A new website – http://www.healthwatchmedway.co.uk – set for launch this summer, will provide residents with more information on the services it provides, how to get in touch and what it is doing to represent their views. More

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