This is the web site for the "Rother Greens" - the local party covering the Rother District Council area of East Sussex
We have an active membership in this area, and meet regularly (currently all our meetings are via Zoom video-conferencing).
We are currently campaiging for the County Council elections which are taking place on 6 May 2021.
The meeting will be by Zoom. Please note the Zoom details for this meeting may be different from previous meetings. They will be emailed out to all members and supporters of Rother Green Party a few days before the meeting. The following meeting will be on 28th April.
Green Party candidates Sue Burton (Bexhill East) and Dominic Manning (Rye and Eastern Rother) have both signed the ABCD Climate Action Pledge.
Our Green Party candidate for East Sussex County Council in Bexhill East, Sue Burton and Ros Clayton of Bexhill Environmental Group have been litter picking on Wrestwood Road. They collected 4 bagfuls of litter!
Hopefully, the good weather and the relaxation of Lockdown rules should see more volunteers coming forward to help to make Bexhill a greener and more pleasant place!
Sue says "Many people are doing their bit to get the towns tidier. Alongside main and country lanes is where the real rubbish is."
You can help to keep your area beautiful for everybody by reporting fly tipping, litter, over-flowing bins and dog mess on Rother District Council’s website: my.rother.gov.uk. You can mark the place on a map.
Would you like to help maintain the beauty of the East Sussex countryside, by monitoring light pollution and the darkness of the night sky? Wealden retains some of the darkest skies in the South (one of the reasons why the Royal Greenwich observatory was in Herstmonceaux from 1957 to 1979), and the Milky Way is still visible on certain nights. But we are at risk of losing this important heritage.
The natural cycle of dark nights and daytime light, it turns out, is essential to everything. Studies on the impact of light pollution show that for humans, an increase in artificial light leads to reduced levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. This, in turn, is linked to obesity, depression and diabetes!
Studies on nocturnal animals impacted by sky-brightening show them foraging for shorter durations at night, and birds singing and searching for worms earlier in the day. Many insects are drawn to singeing bulbs or fast-moving car lamps. A study at the University of Exeter concludes that artificial sky brightening has widened to the point of systemic disruption. It is argued that connecting to the natural world of a starry night is fundamental to us taking care of our home planet and one another.
What can we do as individuals? Scientists say we need to question the idea that we should be afraid of the dark. Start with the simplest measures and only shine lights when they are absolutely required. Restrict the timing, intensity and spectrum of artificial lights. Draw your curtains. Install downward-pointing garage lights, with timers and sensors and low amber bulbs. Importantly avoid outdoor LED’s.
The Green Party has urged the government to tackle light pollution and associated wasted energy; it calls for action against the over-use of security lights, floodlights and streetlights and encourages the use of new lighting technology that allows upward light pollution to be minimised without compromising road safety or increasing crime.
It's a win-win situation. Reducing excess artificial light saves money. Currently, the Council for the Preservation of Rural England accounts for a 1 billion pounds of waste in inefficient lighting.
Would you like to help protect the exemplary night landscapes in your area? Would you like to know more about Light pollution?
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to borrow a sky quality meter
- Sign up for http://www.highweald.org/about-the-high-weald-unit/news/2136-light-pollution-help-us-count-the-stars.html
- Register with the CPRE for their Star Count project, Feb 6-14th, email@example.com
- To discover Light pollution in your area – go to CPRE’s interactive map.
Become a Dark Sky Champion.
On 21st September 2020, Rother District Council approved the creation of a Town Council for Bexhill. The Green Party's District Councillor Polly Gray has been a member of the Governance Review group which made this happen.
Polly says: “I’m thrilled that the new Rother District Council has delivered what the majority of residents told us they wanted, and proud to have been part of the process. Decisions about Bexhill will now be made by the people of Bexhill.”
The new Bexhill Town Council will come into being in May 2021 and will gain a substantial budget from Rother District Council. The new Town Councillors will decide what responsibilities they want to take on, but these could include parks and open spaces, museums, bus shelters, fountains, the town landscape, and more.
Polly adds: “Events in 2020 have shown that Bexhill people have a lot to give and lots of great ideas. So, if you think you might like to be one of 18 new Bexhill Town Councillors, helping to shape the future of our town, and if you would like to be endorsed by the local Green Party (you don’t have to be a member), please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you."
Re-wilding: report on visit to Knepp
On Tuesday 1 September 2020, I was one of 20 Bexhill Environmental Group members taking part in a 3 hour walking safari (following all the current Covid-19 guidelines) at Knepp Estate, near Horsham, to learn about their re-wilding project.
The 3.500 acres of Knepp Estate was an intensively farmed arable and dairy farm, but in 2000 the owners, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell, were forced to accept that the heavy clay soil was driving it close to bankruptcy. They took a spectacular leap of faith and handed the whole estate back to nature, with a series of regeneration and restoration projects aimed at nature conservation or “re-wilding”.
The vision at Knepp is radically different to conventional nature conservation in that it is not driven by specific goals or target species. Instead, its driving principle is to establish a functioning ecosystem where nature is given as much freedom as possible.
Animals such as longhorn cattle, Exmoor ponies, Tamworth pigs and red and fallow deer are allowed to graze completely freely all year and are creating the new habitat which has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife. Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies are now breeding. The next exciting project is the introduction of beavers later this year.
During our walk, when we were split into two groups, we managed to see all the animals on the estate, lots of birds and insects and a flock of storks flying overhead. There are hundreds of trees, including a large number of ancient oaks.
The grazing animals help to control the growth of trees, as without them the area would soon turn into closed canopy woodland, which is a poor habitat for most wildlife. The younger trees that grow amongst the brambles are protected from grazing animals, until they grow mature enough to withstand predators. The tree canopy then kills off the protective brambles, creating woodland.
It is interesting to see the balance of nature: disturbance from grazing, browsing, rooting, rubbing and trampling provides a check on the galloping scrub; and the battle between these two processes - animal disturbance v vegetation succession- creates all sorts of vegetation structures which contribute to a dynamic, ever-shifting mosaic of valuable habitats.
Following the success of Knepp, there are now a number of other rewilding projects in the UK and a charity, Rewilding Britain, has been set up, campaigning to restore to nature more than a million hectares of land by 2100. This equates to 5 per cent of the entire country and could go a long way to helping the UK to achieve its aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
In the words of the 19th century Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, in his poem Inversnaid, written in 1881:
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wilderness? Let them be left
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
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