Ideas for Action!

Our first two Green Drinks sessions appear to have been a great success and we will continue holding these.  They will continue to be 7:30-8:30pm at the Catherine Wheel in Goring on the first Wednesday of the month.  The next ones will be on the 7th December and the 1st February as we will be having a break for January.

Although, the aim of the Green Drinks sessions is to have an informal social gathering, one of the things that has come out of them is an interest in a number of potential activities for GSSG aside from the hydro scheme.  Ideas suggested so far include:

  • Undertaking a ‘green asset’ audit of the villages
  • A cycling and walking improvement campaign
  • Talks… ideas for subjects welcome…either with speakers in mind or otherwise (to be held either as separate events or for speakers to come to green drinks)
  • Getting hold of another thermal imaging camera for a another housing efficiency study
  • Getting young people involved
  • Organising a birdsong walk
  • Holding an electric bike demonstration day
  • Having a talk to the group from the Goring neighbourhood plan team

Volunteers needed for taking an active role
Given the interest in such a wide selection of activities (including the hydro scheme), for any of these to happen we really need to get some more active volunteers on board to help organise things. Any skillsets are welcome, even just keenness and enthusiasm will do!

If you would like to put yourself forward for getting involved, please get in touch with us at ContactUs@ggs.org.uk

Judgement of the High Court November 2016

On 9th November, the case between Goring Parish Council and South Oxfordshire District Council was heard in the High Court.  We found out shortly before the hearing that the case against the Environment Agency regarding the flood risk assessment had been dropped by GPC, leaving this matter settled and the adequacy of the assessment unchallenged.  The case heard therefore only covered the planning process undertaken by SODC.

The judge found that although SODC failed to undertake a screening process for the need for a formal environmental impact assessment, “all of the potential impacts of the proposed development were considered in detail by the Council as local planning authority, especially given in the present case that the proposed development has been subject to consultation with various statutory consultees, including the Environment Agency, and the numerous representations made to the Council by the public, including the Goring Parish Council”.  Given that the parish council did not identify any new factors that had not already been considered by the SODC in reviewing the planning, the judge refused to quash the decision as there was no reason to conclude that, were the process to be gone through again taking into account any of the issues raised by GPC, there would be any likelihood of a different decision being reached.

So, although it is unfortunate that there was a problem with the way SODC processed the planning application, what this has meant is that the judge has reviewed all the evidence and concluded s that there were no suitable grounds for revoking the planning permission. In doing so he also concluded that in generating renewable energy from the Thames “the factors weighing in favour of the grant of planning permission were weighty”

The full judgement can be found here: Final_Judgement

We have subsequently heard that GPC intends to appeal this decision.  However, having followed the process carefully to date, even were the appeal to be successful, it could only result in the need for us to immediately resubmit our planning application as all the issues rest not on our information, but on the way it has been considered by SODC.

Green Drinks at the Catherine Wheel

The Sustainability Group is setting up a monthly ‘Green Drinks’ event to bring together local people with an interest in environmental and broader sustainability issues in an informal and convivial setting.  Your interests can be professional or personal, it doesn’t matter. We will be trialling the event over the next three months, on the first Wednesday of each month (5th October, 2nd November, 7th December).  We will be meeting in the back room at the Catherine Wheel in Goring.  Simply come down to the pub and we will have some of the core Sustainability Group members there from 7.30-8.30 on each of these nights

There is no need to let us know whether you will be turning up in advance (though feel free to contact us if you wish) just turn up and we can guarantee someone being there for that hour (at least!).   If you would like to get in touch about this, or if you would like to attend but this day/time is inconvenient, please get in touch as we will be reviewing the timing for the new year.

For more information on the international Green Drinks movement see: http://www.greendrinks.org/

Goring Parish Council seeks Judicial Review in attempt to stop the hydro scheme

We regret to say that on 4th April 2016, Goring Parish Council, after many years of supporting the scheme, decided to initiate a judicial review regarding South Oxfordshire District Council’s decision to grant planning permission.

The action being taken does not, however, involve either Goring and Streatley Sustainability Group, or Goring and Streatley Community Energy, and only involves SODC and the Environment Agency.

The letter initiating the action can be found here: GPC Pre-Action Letter