LCWO Newsletter December 2016

LCWO’s latest newsletter covers:  the health impacts of living in a damp home and information about support available in Oxford to address this, some positive and negative actions from the big carbon emitting countries and a call to everyone to act now to stop global warming reaching 1.5 degrees; details of a city council promotion to encourage more recycling; and looking for mammals in our wildlife area, Kingfisher Corner.

LCWO’s newsletter now forms part of the West Oxford Community Association newsletter.  It is delivered in hard copy to all households in West Oxford and distributed to members and supporters by email.  It is shown here as a standalone newsletter.

LCWO news December 2016



Bring and Take Autumn 2016

LCWO’s Autumn 2016 Bring and Take event was held on Saturday, 1st October, from 10.30am – 12.30pm.  It was only a couple of hours but, as at all our Bring & Takes, so much stuff was swapped in that time.  Here is the event in approximate numbers:

  • 174 attendees
  • 977 items re-homed, of which the most popular were books (27%), toys and games (23%) and  clothes (19%) 
  • Leftover stuff:  10 bags of textiles (clothes and soft furnishings) taken to our local primary school to help with their fundraising, and many books taken for their Christmas bazaar; one third of a small van load taken to a charity shop and half a small van load taken to Redbridge (our local recyling centre), as far as possible for recycling.

For general information about the purpose of Bring & Take events please see Reduce, Re-use, Recycle at our Bring and Take events.

Bring & Take Event 1st Oct 10.30-12.30




LCWO Newsletter June 2016

LCWO’s latest newsletter is now available as part of the West Oxford Community Association newsletter but is shown here as a standalone newsletter.  It is delivered in hard copy to all households in West Oxford.

This issue focusses on: issues of concern to West Oxford residents, particularly air pollution, and actions we can take to reduce it, Low Carbon Oxford Week 2016, Osney Lock Hydro electricity generation figures and the Low Carbon Hub’s Share Offer 2016.

June 2016 LCWO newsletter


How clean is our air?

The harmful impact of air pollution on health has been known for some time.   Air pollution has been linked to the development of a range of diseases including cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes and obesity as well as to changes linked to dementia.  It is also known that spikes in air pollution make the situation worse for people already suffering from Continue reading “How clean is our air?”

Community energy share offer 2016

Let’s power up Oxfordshire with community-owned renewable energy

The Low Carbon Hub, now in its fifth year, has launched a Share Offer to support the continuing development of hydro and solar community energy projects in Oxfordshire.   Investors can choose to invest in the Sandford Lock Hydro project or the Solar 2016 portfolio of 18 new solar pv installations on school and business rooftops across Oxfordshire, or they can invest in both.   The share offer opened in the middle of April and closes at 5pm on 11th July 2016.   Information about the Share Offer and how to invest can be found on the Low Carbon Hub website. Continue reading “Community energy share offer 2016”

Bring and Take Saturday 14th May 2016

Join us for our Spring Bring and Take this Saturday, 14th May 2016 from 10.30am – 12.30pm at West Oxford Community Centre.  Bring genuinely re-usable items in good, clean condition between 10.20-11.30am only, take items from 10.30am-12.30pm.  Small electrical items will be PAT-tested for safety.  If you have large items please leave them at home and bring a photo, description and contact details to display at the event.  We would welcome any surplus seedlings you have.

For general information about the purpose of Bring and Take events please see Reduce, re-use, recycle at our Bring and Take events

Bring & Take poster May 2016


LCWO newsletter April 2016

LCWO’s latest newsletter is now available as part of the West Oxford Community Association newsletter but is shown here as a standalone newsletter.  It is delivered in hard copy to all households in West Oxford.

This issue focuses on:  LCWO’s open meeting where Waitrose and Sainsbury’s outlined what they were doing to reduce their carbon emissions and residents put forward ideas for further improvements; and the milestone reached by our sister organisation, West Oxford Community Renewables – the generation of their one millionth unit of green electricity.

March 2016 LCWO newsletter




How green is your supermarket?

Low Carbon West Oxford recently held an open meeting called ‘How Green is your Supermarket’ to find out what our local supermarkets are doing to reduce their carbon emissions and help residents make greener food choices.

All 6 local supermarkets were invited: the Coop, Tesco Express, Aldi’s, Waitrose, Sainsburys and M & S. Waitrose and Sainsbury’s actually attended and The Co-operative sent apologies and a copy of their Social Responsibility Report 2015 v9.

Continue reading “How green is your supermarket?”

The Paris Climate Deal: words are not enough

A message from the climate talks to world leaders and people everywhere
A message to world leaders and people everywhere

World leaders will be judged by their deeds not by their words

Last month (December 2015) the leaders of 200 countries gathered together in Paris and agreed on a landmark deal to tackle climate change. The Paris climate deal, The Paris Agreement, includes an important ambition to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C, and a long-term goal to bring global emissions to zero.
Importantly countries are required to come back to the table every 5 years to increase their ambition in reaching these goals.

Words are not enough

The deal sends a powerful message that fossil fuels have had their day. However, it doesn’t mean we can now sit back and let governments get on with it. Current pledges to reduce polluting carbon emissions are not strong enough to keep us safe from dangerous climate change. The goal for getting to zero emissions is too far in the future and there is a risk that some countries will not do enough. Continue reading “The Paris Climate Deal: words are not enough”

West Oxford Community Survey

Towards the end of October we delivered a community survey in hard copy to all residents in  West Oxford to ask them how we can best support them to reduce energy waste in their home.  By reducing energy waste residents will be able to reduce their fuel bills and help to reduce our community’s carbon emissions.

We will collate the responses we receive and use the information in our applications for funding to provide the information, advice, support and energy-efficiency measures which residents need.  Any information we use will be anonymous so no individual will be identified.

Prize draw

A copy of the survey can be downloaded here as a Word document, saved, completed and returned to us by email to  Alternatively you can download the survey as a PDF here; open the survey and complete it by clicking on “Fill and sign” in the right-hand panel.  The “Fill and sign” menu bar which then appears, gives you the option of using text, a tick or a circle for your answers as well as an option for your signature.  Return your completed PDF survey to as an attachment.  If you return your completed survey, including the section for your contact details,  by the end of the day on 5th November 2015 we will enter you into a prize draw for £100 of energy efficiency improvements for your home.   The prize draw rules can be found at the end of the survey.

Highlights of the ‘For the love of …..’ lobby

The best bits

It was a sunny day on 17th June when 9,000 people from around the UK came to Westminster for a mass lobby of Parliament to speak up for what they hold dear that could be affected by climate change.  They spoke to over 330 MPs.  Find out what happened in the highlights video.

Speaking up

Amber Rudd,  Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, was interviewed about the lobby.  She said she welcomed the campaign and that “Politicians can’t deliver on the ambition without the public saying we need you to do this.”  But will the government deliver?

For the love of …… all that we hold dear

On 17th June about 9,000 people went to Westminster to lobby their MPs to help protect all the things they love from climate change.  The Energy Bill Revolution, one of the groups involved in the event, called upon the government to make insulating homes a priority “for the love of 2 million cold children” because insulated homes use less fuel which is good for the climate and cuts bills.   The Guardian gave a full report on the event.

The role of bunting

In the run up to the event LCWO members Ruth Stavris, Miranda Miller and Vicky Hirsch organised “For the Love of…….” bunting workshops in West Oxford and at the Big Green Day Out fair in Broad Street at the start of Low Carbon Oxford Week.  The bunting showed MPs the things we love and could lose as a result of climate change.

Bunting - carrots Do the right thing bunting Save me bunting Rows of bunting from West Oxford

LCWO lobbyists

LCWO members Lois Muddiman and Ruth Mayne spent one hour with 35 other Oxfordshire residents lobbying our MP Nicola Blackwood providing suggestions on how to address the difficulties faced by local councils and community groups in accessing grants for energy efficiency measures.


For the love of ……..

Speak up for the things you love that could be lost to climate change

The things we love are threatened by climate change – but we can protect them by urging politicians to act.

On 17th June thousands of people from across the UK are coming together for a day of action and celebration and to speak to their MPs and tell them why fighting climate change matters to us all.  This will be the biggest ever UK MP climate lobby, and the first mass lobby of the new government.  Continue reading “For the love of ……..”

Low Carbon Oxford Week 2015 calendar of events

Low Carbon Oxford Week 2015 has something for everyone.  This What’s On guide will help you make the most of the week:  Low Carbon Oxford Week full events listing.  A hard copy of the listing is also available from shops, community centres and leisure centres across the city.  You can find more details about each event on the LCO website.    All events are free unless otherwise stated and booking is required for some events and activities. Continue reading “Low Carbon Oxford Week 2015 calendar of events”

Low Carbon Oxford Week 13-21 June 2015

Low Carbon Oxford (LCO) Week was a huge hit in 2014 and it’s back again this year with even more activities and events for you to get involved in.   If you missed it last year you can get an idea of what it was about from this short video.

LCO Week is a summer festival which uses culture, creativity and community to inspire local people to take action against climate change.  It’s a celebration of all things good and green in Continue reading “Low Carbon Oxford Week 13-21 June 2015”

Bring and Take Saturday 9th May 2015

Our twice-yearly swap shop for residents of West Oxford is happening tomorrow at the West Oxford Community Centre.   Residents can save money, cut carbon emissions and take home a whole range of things, some useful, some unusual:  a pile of books to read, or a ‘new’ outfit, or a DVD of a favourite film, or even a life-size cardboard cut out of Luke Skywalker from Star Wars!

Bring & Take poster May 2015

An unusal find at the Bring & Take
You can find all sorts at the Bring & Take!

Question your election candidates on environmental issues

A climate change hustings is being held on Tuesday 28th April at 7.30pm in the Assembly Room, Oxford Town Hall.

Low Carbon West Oxford and Low Carbon Oxford North put a series of questions on environmental issues to the parliamentary candidates for Oxford West and Abingdon.   The climate change hustings is a chance for you to put your own questions to the candidates on the key environmental issues affecting everyone.   Questions can be emailed in advance to or tweeted to @Lowcon using hashtag#hustingsq, or you can submit them on the night.

climate change hustings poster april 2015

What the manifestos say on climate and energy

Carbon Brief tracks manifesto promises

The UK’s closest election in a generation is now only two weeks away.   Carbon Brief has been tracking the climate and energy content of the parties’ manifestos as they were launched.  Their climate and energy tracker table allows an easy comparison between the parties on twenty-five issues.

Carbon Brief reports on the latest developments and media coverage of climate science and energy policy, with a particular focus on the UK.   They produce news coverage, analysis and factchecks, and publish a daily and weekly email briefing.

Energy efficiency commitments in election manifestos

Low Carbon West Oxford is a supporter of the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR), campaigning for warm homes and lower energy bills for all.  The EBR is an alliance of children’s and older people’s charities, health and disability groups, environment groups, consumer groups, trade unions, businesses, politicians and public figures.

The EBR has been reviewing the parties’ commitments to energy efficiency as set out in their election manifestos.   EBR’s views (not necessarily LCWO’s) can be read on their website.

The election manifestos published so far for parties with candidates in Oxford West and Abingdon are: Labour Party, Liberal Democrat Party, Conservative Party, Green Party, UK Independence Party UKIPSocialist Party of GB.  The  remaining party, the National Health Action Party, has not yet published its manifesto but its policies are shown on its website.


Low Carbon West Oxford – LCWO

LCWO was set up after the summer floods of 2007 by residents concerned about climate change and local flooding.

It is a community-led initiative which aims to combat climate change by cutting our community carbon dioxide emissions by 80 % by 2050, encouraging residents to live more sustainably, and contributing to a more cohesive and resilient community.

We seek to work in an inclusive manner and ensure that everyone who lives and works in the area has a chance to participate in and benefit from LCWO’s projects.

Onions Baked with Cream and Parmesan [January]


Onions– 4 large onions
– 300ml (10fl oz) double cream
– A handful of grated Parmesan
– Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°/gas mark 4.
  2. Peel and parboil the onions until tender which should take about 25 minutes, then drain them.
  3. Cut the onions in half long ways, and put them cut-side down in a shallow ovenproof dish.
  4. Pour over the cream and cheese and season.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden.

Coleslaw [February]


– 1 medium carrot
– ½ a medium green, white or savoy cabbage
– 1 small or ½ medium red cabbage
– Handful of raisins or sultanas
– Handful of walnuts

– 1 tbsp mayonnaise
– 2 tbsp natural yogurt
– 1 tsp grainy mustard
– 1 tsp brown sugar
– 1 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
– 1 tbsp olive or walnut oil


  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Shred the cabbages and stir into the dressing.
  3. Grate the carrot and stir into the cabbages.
  4. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.

Warm pumpkin and walnut salad [October – November]


Pumpkin– 800g (2 lb) pumpkin or squash
– 100g (4 oz) walnut halves
– Peppery green leaves such as rocket
– Parmesan
– 1 large garlic bulb
– Olive oil
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
  2. Peel and deseed the pumpkin/squash and cut it into small chunks. Break the garlic into cloves, but don’t peel them. Put the pumpkin/squash and garlic on a baking tray and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until the pumpkin/squash is soft and just browning at the edges – it may take up to an hour, but check after 30 minutes.
  3. Place the walnut halves in a separate dish and put them in the oven for the last 10 minutes of the pumpkin/squash cooking time to toast them lightly.
  4. Toss the walnuts with the roasted pumpkins/squash and garlic.
  5. Put the leaves in a large salad bowl. Scatter the pumpkin/squash, garlic and walnuts on top.
  6. Serve straight away with some slivers or Parmesan on top.
[October - November]

Warm Cabbage, Onion and Apple Slaw [February]


– 1 onion (red’s fine) sliced very finely
– 1 medium green or savoy cabbage, sliced thinly
– 2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
– Olive oil
– Pepper
– Vinegar (balsamic, wine or cider)


  1. Heat a little oil in a large pan and saute the onions for a few minutes.
  2. Add the apples and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the cabbage a dash of vinegar, seasoning and a little water.
  4. Stir over a high heat until everything is combined and the cabbage is just cooked.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake [October – December]


Apples– 175g (6 oz) brown sugar
– 175g (6 oz) softened butter
– 175g (6 oz) self raising flour
– 3 free range eggs
– 4 apples
– 25g (1 oz) demerara sugar
– ½ tsp cinnamon
– Optional: 100g toasted hazelnuts


  1. Preheat the over to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light. Add the eggs, beating well. Sift the flour into the bowl, folding through quickly.
  3. Peel, core and cut the apples into slices but kept together in halves.
  4. Spoon the cake mixture into a greased baking dish and arrange the sliced apples on top without pressing down.
  5. Sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon and – if using – the hazelnuts over the apples.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes until the topping is golden and the apple is tender.
[October - December]

Gazpacho [September – October]


Tomatoes– 700g (1½ lb) chopped ripe tomatoes – the riper the better
– 1 cucumber peeled and chopped
– 2 green peppers or 1 red and 1 green pepper, chopped
– 3 cloves garlic
– 225g (8 oz) brown bread crumbs
– 5 tbsps red wine vinegar
– 5 tabsps olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 500ml (1 pint) water


  1. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl, mix them up and leave to soak for 30 minutes or so.
  2. Put batches of the mix into a blender – adding more water if necessary – and liquidise until smooth.
  3. Chill for at least an hour before eating.
  4. Before serving add ice-cubes and if necessary more water.
[September - October]

Blackcurrant and Chocolate Chip Cookies [June – July]


Blackcurrents– 125g soft butter
– 150g soft brown sugar (I used molasses sugar, but the sandy brown stuff works just as well)
– 1 large egg
– 150g plain flour
– 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (actually I used self-raising flour instead & it seemed to be ok)
– 150g chocolate chips
– 100g blackcurrants


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F and lightly grease a large flat baking tray.
  2. Mix the soft butter and sugar until they are smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the egg and keep beating the mixture until it is light and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl and fold in gently with a metal spoon.
  5. Add the blackcurrants and chocolate and stir in gently.
  6. Put dessert-spoon sized dollops of the mixture wide apart on the baking tray. You may need to do two batches.
  7. Check after 8 minutes – they may need 10. Carefully remove from the baking tray and put on a wire rack to cool.
Variation: Why not try replacing the chocolate chips with 100g of chopped hazelnuts.

Runner Beans in Garlic [July- September]


Runner Beans– 500g (1lb) runner beans
– 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
– 25g (1 oz) butter
– 2-3 tbsps water
– Salt and pepper


  1. Top, tail and remove any stringy bits from the beans. Slice them diagonally into smallish pieces.
  2. Put the beans, garlic, butter and water into a pan and bring to a simmer to make sure the butter and garlic are distributed evenly.
  3. Cover the pan and put on a very low head for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more water if needed.
  4. When the beans are tender, season well and serve.
[July - September]

Courgette and Lemon Salad [August – September]


Courgettes– 3-4 courgettes
– Zest of 1 lemon, plus 2-3 tbsps of juice
– Zest of 1 lime, plus 2-3 tbsps of juice
– 2 tbsps of olive oil
– 2 tbsps chopped summer savory or tarragon
– 1 tbsp runny honey


  1. Shave the courgettes length-ways using a vegetable peeler to create thin slivers. Put these in a shallow bowl. Add the lemon and lime zest.
  2. Make the dressing from the lemon and lime juice, honey, oil and herbs. Pour the dressing over the courgettes, toss gently and serve.
[August - September]

Rhubarb and Ginger Pudding [March – June]


– 100g (4oz) soft butter
– 100g (4oz) caster sugar
– 2 large free range eggs
– 100g (4oz) self raising flour, sifted
– 500g (1lb) rhubarb
– 3cm (1?) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
– 80g (3oz) sugar


  1. Heat oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, one at time, beating well.
  4. Sift flour into a bowl and fold in quickly and gently.
  5. Cut rhubarb stalks into 3cm (1?) lengths.
  6. Arrange in a buttered 1 litre baking dish and scatter with grated ginger and sugar.
  7. Spoon mixture on top of fruit and bake for 50-60 minutes until the topping is golden and rhubarb is tender.
[March - June]

Swiss Chard and Couscous Gratin [April – May]

Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard


– 400g (14 oz) Swiss chard
– Knob of butter
– 100g (4 oz) couscous
– 50g (2 oz) fresh Parmesan cheese
– 2 garlic cloves
– Salt and pepper
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 100ml vegetable stock


  1. Chop the chard and steam for 5-10 minutes until tender then remove the excess water by pressing in a colander.
  2. Finely chop the garlic and sauté in hot oil for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Poor 100ml (scant ¼ pint) of vegetable stock into a saucepan and add the couscous and butter. Bring to the boil stirring continuously and remove from the head. Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix the garlic, chard and couscous together, add salt and pepper to taste, and place in a shallow warmed heatproof dish.
  5. Grate the Parmesan and sprinkle evenly over the surface. Place under a medium hot grill for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted.
[April - May]

Nutty Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Nutty Rhubarb Crumble Cake
Nutty Rhubarb Crumble Cake



  • 400g (scant 1 lb) rhubarb
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons demerera sugar


  • 60g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 90g (3 oz) plain flour
  • 30g (1 oz) demerera sugar
  • 60g (2 oz) chopped hazelnuts

The orange zest and hazelnuts aren’t essential but make it even more delicious! As an alternative you could use almonds.


  • 120g (4oz) softened unsalted butter
  • 120g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 120g (4oz) self-raising flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5.
  2. Grease a 9″ (22cm) cake tin.
  3. Prepare the rhubarb
    1. Chop the rhubarb into 1/2″ (1cm) cubes and put in a bowl.
    2. Gently stir in the demerara sugar and orange zest.
  4. Prepare the topping
    1. Sift the flour into a bowl.
    2. Add the butter, chopped into small cubes and rub in until the mixture looks like chunky breadcrumbs.
    3. Roughly stir in the demerera sugar.
  5. Make the cake
    1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light.
    2. Add the eggs, beating well.
    3. Sift the flour into the bowl, folding through quickly.
  6. Assemble the cake
    1. Spoon the cake mixture into the tin.
    2. Arrange the rhubarb evenly over the cake mixture.
    3. Spoon the crumble mixture onto the rhubarb.
    4. Sprinkle on the nuts.

Bake for 60 minutes but check after 40.

The orange zest and hazelnuts aren't essential but make it even more delicious


Hazelnut Vinaigrette [May – October]


– 1 tsp chopped roasted hazelnuts
– ½ tsp Dijon mustard
– 1 tsp runny honey
– 1tbsp chopped fresh herbs – parsley, tarragon, basil works well
– 1 pinch mixed spice, nutmeg, salt, mustard seeds
– A few grindings of black pepper
– 1 small clove garlic
– 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
– 4 tbsp hazelnut oil
– Dash of soy sauce
– 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds


  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and press the button.
  2. This vinaigrette will keep for several weeks in a tightly lidded jar in a cool place (not the ‘fridge).
[May - October]

It’s better by bike!

The benefits of cycling to work
Cycling is Greener, Quicker, Faster, Cheaper, Healthier, Smarter, Sexier.

As part of Climate Week seven of our members cycled along the Botley Road during rush hour on Friday 7th March  wearing hi-vis vests displaying one of the following words:  Greener, Quicker, Happier, Cheaper, Healthier, Smarter, Sexier.  Our aim was to encourage commuters to get on their bikes, beat the traffic jams, get fitter, save money, reduce their carbon footprint and reduce air pollution.

Continue reading “It’s better by bike!”

Local flooding and climate change

Following the recent flooding in West Oxford and other parts of the UK, LCWO committee member Ruth Mayne, put a series of questions to Oxford University climate change expert, Professor Myles Allen.

Myles is Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment and the Department of Physics, University of Oxford. His research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and risks of extreme weather and in quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts.

Ruth:  David Cameron recently told MPs that he “suspected” that the recent spate of wet weather, which has caused widespread flooding was linked to climate change. Does the evidence support that view?

Myles: The prime minister is right that there is good reason to suspect a connection, and also right to be cautious. Unusually high rainfall can happen in the absence of global warming, as part of the natural variation of the weather, but there are simple physical reasons, supported by results from computer modelling, to believe that human influence on the climate is making high wintertime rainfall events like these more frequent. It will never be possible to say “but for global warming, this event would not have happened”, but with detailed modelling, we can say how much global warming might have contributed to the risk of an event occurring.

Ruth: The latest  United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that scientists are more convinced than ever that the planet is warming, sea levels are rising and that humans are responsible for the majority of it, especially over the past 50 years. Is it still possible to limit global warming, and how much do we need to reduce global emissions by to do so ?

Myles: The sobering conclusion of the latest IPCC report is that, because carbon dioxide accumulates in the climate system, the only way to stop global warming in the long term is to reduce fossil CO2 emissions to zero. To have a reasonable chance (say 2-in-3) of limiting the warming caused by carbon dioxide alone to 2oC, we would need to limit total emissions over the entire industrial epoch to one trillion tonnes of carbon, over half of which has already been emitted. That is possible, but it would require global emissions to fall, on average, by 2.5% per year from now on — and, of course, the longer emissions rise, the faster they have to fall to meet the same cumulative budget. Right now, emissions are increasing at around 2% per year, and since many developing countries insist their emissions must continue to rise to meet their needs, it follows that those that can afford to do so will have to cut emissions much faster than 2.5% per year.

Ruth: Why limit warming to less than 2 °C?

Myles:  A sustained warming of 2 °C or more would already be well outside the range of temperature fluctuations experienced since the last ice age, and many vulnerable ecosystems and societies are expected to suffer under this level of climate change. We are already seeing the impact of less than 1 °C of warming on some types of extreme weather events — even a 2 °C world would be very different from the one we have grown up in. The question people should be asking is whether that is a future we want, when there are perfectly viable alternatives to continuing business-as-usual emissions.

Ruth: What can West Oxford residents do?

Myles: Clearly reducing your personal and community carbon footprint helps. But it is also very important to make your government aware that you want it to take action to limit cumulative global carbon emissions. Right now, we have a lot of tactical measures to get emissions down in the short term, but what is the long-term “exit strategy”?


Practical solutions for a warmer home

Energy adviser Mark Saunders recently visited 10 homes in West Oxford to offer one to one energy advice visits which we sponsored as part of a pilot project. He found that staying warm without incurring a huge energy bill was foremost for many, as was treating a particularly cold room, or dealing with a long put off energy / warmth saving project. Most of the homes he visited were typical of the area; being Victorian terraced properties, many opened up downstairs and still retained single-glazed sash windows etc. These houses were not built for warmth, but there are things that can be done to make them warmer.

Drawing on his 15 years of home energy advice experience, Mark was able to offer householders advice to help people make their homes more energy efficient. He has now summarised all the most sought after advice based on his home visits and the energy saving advice clinics he gave at our ‘Bring and Take’ events.  We are pleased to share this so that everyone can learn from this pilot project.

The advice is contained in this leaflet ‘Practical solutions for a warmer home’.

The leaflet includes solutions to the following issues:

– insulationg boarded lofts

– dealing with old windows

– treating cold walls and cold ground floors

– draughty front doors

– optimising your hot water

– getting the most out of your radiators

Our thanks to Mark for sharing his expertise and experience with us.

Guide to swishing

LCWO Swishing 2012

Earlier this year we held a fantastic Swishing event for women and girls. 320 items of clothing changed hands, all free, making big savings for their new owners – and a lot of fun was had in the process.

Swishing events are easy to organise, so why not hold your own swishing party? To help you get started we’ve produced a simple guide to organising a swishing event:

How to swish!

Swishing is simply offering your unwanted but good condition clothing to others who are doing the same, and taking home items that they have brought and that you like. It’s good fun, free, and reduces waste and the environmental impact of buying new clothes. Give it a whirl!

You can either do it on a small scale, with a group of friends, at someone’s house, which is extremely easy – just get people to bring their items along and help you take any remaining stuff away afterwards. On this small scale people are happy to rummage among things in a big pile on the floor. Just be careful when trying things on that you don’t lose the clothes you turned up in!

Swishing can also be done on a bigger scale – two very successful community swishes have been held in West Oxford. We used the local primary school hall, and prettied it up, and advertised the event in the local community association newsletter and with posters in local shops. You need to explain what swishing is, provide a contact number for further details, and specify that it is for women only. It would make an excellent fundraising event – as people are getting lovely clothes for nothing they may be very happy to contribute to a good cause in the process.

You will need to source some clothes rails (we borrowed the Oxford NCT ones) and lots of hangers (you can ask in shops to borrow them), and get items hung up by size, and also get hold of a few full length mirrors from people willing to lend them. You will also need some people willing to help pack away and take the unwanted items to charity shops, and return the borrowed fixtures and fittings.

If you’d like further advice, or help with sourcing things contact Ruth Stavris on 07767 692756. Happy swishing!

Bring & Take March 2012

Bring & Take 2012 - Seedlings swap
Bring & Take held in March 2012

A very big thank you to you for all your hard work which made the Bring & Take on Saturday such a great success.

There were many people involved both before the event and on the day, all doing different but essential tasks.  On the day 22 volunteers helped by setting up rooms and equipment, running activities, overseeing the Bring & Take, recording the items taken, sorting & clearing up, disposing of leftover items  – it was a real team effort and the results speak for themselves.  Even the weather played its part.  The new community cafe was open and served delicious home-made cakes and refreshments during the event.

Over one thousand items were recorded as being taken for re-use, an important increase on the figure for our October Bring & Take.  As usual, books proved to be very popular, accounting for a high percentage of the items taken.   Our PAT testers were kept busy and certified all the donated electrical items as safe to re-use.   A large proportion of the leftovers from the Bring & Take will also be re-used:  the children’s books, CDs and DVDs  were taken to West Oxford school for fundraising and three car boot loads were taken to charity shops.  We were able to make a substantial donation of items to Orinoco Scrapstore for further re-use. The remainder was taken to Redbridge, where only a small proportion ended up in landfill.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact us by following the link Contact Us.

The Big Dig

The Big Dig

What a fantastic day!

A huge thank you to over 120 willing volunteers from South Oxford, West Oxford, Oxgrow, the University and further afield, who worked so hard in atrocious weather conditions, to plant trees.

Some stayed all day and some came just to plant one tree and together we planted 1,100 trees.

  • Hazel: 350
  • Ash: 300
  • Oak: 25
  • Wild cherry: 50
  • Rowan: 50
  • Field maple: 75
  • Small leafed lime: 50
  • Crab apple: 50
  • Guelder rose: 50
  • Spindle: 50
  • Dogwood: 50

The day long rain helped to water them in nicely and give them a strong start. Over the coming months we will see them start to grow inside their deer protectors. In 3 to 5 years time, we will have a very impressive young woodland.

The trees themselves should not require any maintenance in the near future other than regular weeding to make sure that grass and weeds do not restrict their growth. We have given them a good start by removing the turf from around the planting site.

As well as planting trees, volunteers had the opportunity to have a look inside the pavilion and see some outline plans for a small wind turbine on site.

We will be arranging further activities on the site in the near future – watch this space for further details.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact us by following the link Contact Us.

Big Dig Gallery

Oxfordshire Charity Award 2010

Oxfordshire Charity Award 2010

Thank you to all our members and partners who have helped us to win the OCVA Charity of the Year Award

Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) was named Oxfordshire’s Charity of the year 2010 in recognition of its work with the community of West Oxford in tackling climate change.

The award was run by Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) with the Oxford Times as the media partner. The charity of the year award was sponsored by Henmans LLP.

A report on the award ceremony is available here.

The judges at the Oxfordshire awards said: “LCWO is an excellent example of residents taking positive action locally in response to a global problem which has had a real impact on their local community.

Their achievements are also real. For example, as a result of their first Low Carbon Living Programme over 140 tonnes of CO2 was cut by the 36 participating households, representing an incredible cut of 36 per cent in one year.”

LCWO has also cut an estimated 80 tonnes of CO2 emissions by introducing three car club cars, used by around 170 people. The group has also been responsible for planting about 640 new trees. The charity was praised for its success in mobilising people in West Oxford to take part.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact us by following the link Contact Us.


Kingfisher Corner Opening

Kingfisher Corner - Wildlife Wetland Area
On May 1st, LCWO officially opened a new wildlife area in Botley Park.

LCWO volunteers have also helped plant 600 new trees on the edges of Botley and Oatlands park to help aborb Co2 and reduce local flooding and attract wildlife.

Kingfisher Corner – Wildlife Wetland Area
Kingfisher Corner was created as a wildlife wetland area on the site of the old play park which was moved next to the Community Centre café by the
Council in 2009.

The move created an opportunity to encourage wildlife and diversity into the park. The tree and wildlife projects have been designed and supervised by the Forest of Oxford (a local charity), in coordination with Oxford City Council.

Kingfisher Corner - FritillariesTwo ‘scrapes’ have been excavated to provide different habitats for plants and animals.

Species planted around the wetland area include:

  • cherry
  • alder
  • rowan
  • dog rose
  • buddleia
  • buckthorn
  • fritillaries
  • cowslip
  • purple loosestrife
  • marsh marigold

Future plans include building an otter holt on a specially prepared location near the stream. Please let us know if you see kingfishers or otters here!

Other Projects in the Local Parks
Volunteers from Low Carbon West Oxford and Forest of Oxford have teamed up with the children from West Oxford Primary School & from the local Woodcraft Folk to plant a variety of native trees, shrubs and flowers on the edges of Botley Park and Oatlands Road Recreation ground.

Kingfisher Corner - PlantingAs well as helping encourage wildlife and bio-diversity the trees will help absorb carbon dioxide and suck up water to reduce local flooding.

Some wildflowers including purple loosestrife and marsh marigold have also been planted.

Other species planted in the parks include:

  • white poplar
  • white willow
  • alder
  • weeping willow
  • golden willow
  • scarlet willow

Kingfisher Corner is funded by:

  • Trust for Oxford Environment
  • Wiley Blackwell
  • Mid Counties Co-operative

Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact us by following the link Contact Us.

One Jar of Honey

West Oxford Community RenewablesOne jar of honey is the annual rent that Corpus Christi College will charge West Oxford Community Renewables Ltd for leasing their Sports Ground from the summer of 2010

West Oxford Community Renewables Ltd (WOCR) plans to establish an Ecology centre on the grounds as a centre of excellence for sustainable living. The Centre will be a place of inspiration and education, promoting the transformation from a heavily carbon-based existence to a shared low carbon future.

What WOCR and LCWO plan to do with the land

WOCR will work with LCWO to establish an interlocking set of projects which will both impact on the overall carbon output of the area and which will add to the ecology of the site to create a rich biodiversity.

  1. Carbon Sequestration through tree-planting and building soil carbon through low-input agriculture.
  2. Community beehives will increase the number of bees available for pollination on and off the site and will replace some of the colonies that have been affected by virus and habitat-reduction.
  3. A community orchard will produce fruit and nuts. Local food production reduces the need for carbon-intensive transport from outside the community and delivers healthy, naturally-produced food locally.
  4. Growing vegetables. We will investigate what other forms of food production can be achieved taking into account the size and sensitivity of the site. We will try to support our food production with local composting. We hope to work with a local organisation, My Life My Choice to grow food for their new café in West Oxford Community Centre which opens in April.
  5. Renewable Energy. We will look at the possibility of installing Solar PVS and erecting a small-scale 6Kw wind turbine. This would be subject to public consultation and planning applications.
  6. Training Events. Community renewable schemes are taking off all over the country and LWCO is recognised as one of the most successful path-finding projects in the UK. We would hope to use the pavilion as a centre to train people from other communities in how to set up and run their own projects. The site could become something of a national focus for the Low-Carbon network. We already enjoy links with local schools and would seek to further our involvement by offering some classroom sessions at the site.
  7. Community Events. We will plan a series of events designed to bring about greater awareness of our activities.

“This is a very generous offer from Corpus Christi College and we are really looking forward to a long and successful relationship with them. We are keen for this to be a joint project with local residents from Grandpont as well as West Oxford”.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact us by following the link Contact Us.

Lois Muddiman, Director West Oxford Community Renewables Ltd.

West Oxford Community Renewables  West Oxford Community Renewables
Children from West Oxford and Grandpont community outside the Corpus Christi College Pavillion

Recent Competition Success

LCWO and WOCR have recently been successful in 2 national competitions. LCWO and WOCR were runners-up in The Big Green Challenge run by NESTA (National Endowment of Science Technology and the Arts) and received an award of £100,000 which will be shared between the 2 organisations.

WOCR is also one of 22 winners in the Low Carbon Communities Challenge being run by DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) and received an award of £803,000. The money will be used to buy equipment for renewable/clean energy projects.

WOCR Special General Meeting

 Logo - Low Carbon West Oxford

Low Carbon West Oxford

invites shareholders to the take part in our

 Logo - West Oxford Community Renewables

West Oxford Community Renewables
Special General Meeting

Wednesday 9th December
8:00 – 9:30 pm
West Oxford Community Centre

West Oxford Community Renewables (WOCR) was established for the specific purpose of building community-owned renewable energy schemes in West Oxford and to thus generate funds for LCWO.

LCWO featured on BBC 10 o’clock news

Mark Easton, BBC home affairs correspondent, visited West Oxford in early August to film part of his report for The Perfect Storm series. His team arrived at 6am and took off in a hot air balloon from Botley Park.

The film he made can be seen on his blog along with an interview with Lois Muddiman.

Thank you to all the LCWO members who gave up their time to be part of the film.

Competition Rules Sept 2009

 Logo - Low Carbon West Oxford

 Low Carbon West Oxford

 Logo - West Oxford Community Renewables

Open Day – 26th September 2009 – 2pm to 5pm

Craft & Produce Competitions
Rules of Entry

General Rules

  • All competitions are free to enter
  • All competitions are open to people who live or work in West Oxford.
  • Entries will be judged and prizes awarded on the day.
  • One entry per person in each competition, but feel free to enter every competition.
  • N.B. Please bring all entries to the Community Centre promptly at 2pm on 26th September, to allow time for filling in an entry form and labelling of entries.

Photography Competitions

Theme – “Grow or Make Your Own”

Please enter a photograph you have taken of something you have made or grown your self.

For example, fruit, flower, vegetables, a meal, a cake, a dress, a craft item, a piece or furniture – anything really, as long as you made it yourself.

Photographs should be printed, in colour, size 6” x 4”

Categories: 1) Under 16 years old 2) 16 years and older

Victoria Sandwich Competition

Home made Victoria sandwich cake – made with cream and jam, no more than 8” diameter.

Open Day September 2009

Logo - Low Carbon West Oxford

Low Carbon West Oxford

invites you to our

Logo - West Oxford Community Renewables

Open Day

Saturday 26th September from 2pm – 5pm
West Oxford Community Centre
Tea and Cakes will be Served

Bring & Take

bring stuff you no longer need to swap including books, clothes, toys, household items or excess produce from your allotment

Find out more about LCWO

This year 38 households in West Oxford reduced their CO2 by 30%.

Buy shares in the project

A chance to buy shares in West Oxford Community Renewables


Pumpkin, Biggest Marrow, Runner beans, Tomatoes, Funniest Veg,
Victoria Sandwich, Scones, Cupcakes,
Photograph on the theme of “make/grow your own”
For children – Garden on a plate, Flower arrangement in an eggcup.

Rules available at Comm Centre, Eggs Etc and online here

Business Share Offer Launch

 Logo - Low Carbon West Oxford

Low Carbon West Oxford

invites you to the take part in our

 Logo - West Oxford Community Renewables

West Oxford Community Renewables

Share Launch to Local Businesses

Wednesday 23rd September
7:30 – 9:00 pm
Science Oxford

An opportunity to be one of the first investors in this innovative project

West Oxford Community Renewables (WOCR) was established for the specific purpose of building community-owned renewable energy schemes in

West Oxford and to thus generate funds for LCWO.

This event is also a networking evening for members of 2degrees

LCWO meet Ed Miliband

Members of LCWO meeting David Milliband at NESTA HQ
Members of LCWO meeting David Milliband at NESTA HQ

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said,

“Local solutions to the global problem of climate change are vital if we are to make the shift to a cleaner, greener future. LCWO is a great example: they’ve come to grips with the issue, developed local action plans, and then simply got stuck in and made things happen.

We want to see similar community projects across the country. Last week, the Government outlined what steps we will take to reduce emissions under our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan.

It’s heartening to see that groups such as LCWO, with its enthusiasm and initiative, are already leading the way. They may also benefit financially from the clean energy cashback schemes which will begin next year”.

Case Study for DECC

DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) have included LCWO as a case study in the UK Renewable Energy Strategy 2009 which is part of the the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan published by the government on 15th July 2009.

Follow the link to the DECC website where you can download a copy. LCWO are mentioned on page 166.

Share Offer

Dr Evan Harris buys the first WOCR share
Dr Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, who lives in nearby North Hinksey, has bought £1,000 of shares.

He said: “I bought shares because I think it’s a good cause, run by good people with good ideas, which to me are the ingredients of a good investment. It’s a long-term investment — not a donation — designed to meet a long-term challenge.”

Shares cost £1 each and are available in groups of 10, 250, 1,000 or 20,000.

To receive a copy of our share offer prospectus, Contact Us

Share Offer Launch

Logo - Low Carbon West Oxford

Low Carbon West Oxford

invites you to the take part in our

Logo - West Oxford Community Renewables

West Oxford Community Renewables Share Offer

West Oxford Community Renewables (WOCR) was established for the specific purpose of building community-owned renewable energy schemes in West Oxford and to thus generate funds for LCWO.

Co-op Dividends

Co-op Dividends
Mid Western Coperative Society continues to support Low Carbon West Oxford. Their members have been given the opportunity to donate their dividends to Low Carbon West Oxford. Mike Pickering, Energy and Environment Officer at Midcounties Co-operative, said ” We are delighted to be supporting LCWO in this way”.

Nick Clegg Visits LCWO

Nick Clegg visits Low Carbon West Oxford
Nick Clegg visits Low Carbon West Oxford

On Thursday 28th May, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg came to Oxford and was shown around a house on East Street which is currently being rennovated.

The owners are one of the 38 pilot households working with LCWO to reduce their CO2 emissions.

They are installing energy saving measures including insulation, solar panels, a wood burning stove and a new efficient boiler.

Osney Hydro Scheme

LCWO have been awarded a grant for the Osney Weir Hydro Scheme. A grant of £2,507 was awarded by Oxford City Council towards the cost of designing a micro-hydro electricity generating scheme at Osney Weir.

This is part of Low Carbon West Oxford’s (LCWO) Big Green Challenge project to promote sustainable lifestyles, which could ultimately win the community a grant of up to £1 million to develop low carbon energy sources. (Oxford City Council – Full Text )

Members of LCWO By Buck Gates on Osney Island

Children’s Advent Calendar

Children from West Oxford Primary School searched the streets of West Oxford throughout December to find the Christmas energy saving tips displayed in front windows.

Advent Calendar 2008
Advent Calendar 2008

Only 2 families were able to find all the tips which appeared daily during the last 2 weeks of term. They won Boswell’s gift vouchers.

Big Green Challenge Finalist

LCWO chosen as NESTA Big Green Challenge finalist

One of LCWO’s projects was recently selected as one of 10 finalists in a national climate change competition called the Big Green Challenge.

We won an initial £20,000 for a pilot year, with the possibility of winning up to £1 million more for our community in 2009.

LCWO Big Green Challenge Finalist
LCWO Big Green Challenge Finalist

LCWO Big Green Challenge Finalist

The project aims to cut C02 emissions in our community by 80% by 2050 by creating community-owned renewable energy projects including

  • large scale solar panels on roofs in Osney Mead Industrial Estate
  • a micro-hydro scheme in Osney Weir
  • a wind turbine on Harcourt Hill.

We will sell the electricity generated from these projects and use the income to help local households to make energy (and financial) savings.

In the longer term, we also hope to use the income to increase carbon sequestration by plants and soil in the watershed.