EFOE News December 2010    



                          No meeting in December – instead it’s a


Christmas Social


 At La Siesta Tapas Bar, 11 Bond Street, Ealing W5

Wednesday 15 December from 8.00 pm onwards


If you haven’t been to this restaurant before, you can see menus/prices at



Guests are welcome. It would be useful (though not essential) to let Virginia know if you intend to come, so that we have some idea of numbers (contact details on last page)


We’ll probably be meeting for a pre-dinner drink at one of the nearby pubs, to be decided after a little market research (tough job but someone has to do it) – will confirm later



The Sustainable Livestock Bill


The Bill had its Second Reading in earlier this month, and was debated for five hours. Unfortunately it fell short of the 100 yes votes that were needed for it to proceed to Committee stage.


Campaigning had persuaded more than enough MPs to support the Bill. However, as the debate wore on, and hostile MPs made it impossible to start the voting, some supportive MPs were obliged to leave for other commitments. (Ealing North MP Steve Pound was there and voted in favour. The other two Ealing MPs did not vote.)


The Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill received neither debating time nor a vote.


Both Bills will be allocated new Second Reading dates in the New Year, but neither will be guaranteed debating time.


While this is disappointing, it isn’t all bad news: the Government has conceded that action is needed to tackle the environmental aspects of factory farming, although they did not want to be pinned down to a legal commitment. They agree that the destruction caused to South American habitat by growing soy for animal feed is a problem.


In the coming months they plan to bring forward some of the policy changes that FoE wants – new rules for buying the food served in schools, and hospitals, and new labelling to make it clear when food is British.

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice has proposed that the issue of sustainable farming should be discussed further at a conference in the New Year.


It’s a start, anyway. Now the task is to build on the support of those MPs who were in favour of the Bill and to work with the many organisations who joined in with the call for a new Law. These include the RSPB, War on Want, Compassion in World Farming, the National Heart Forum, Sustain and numerous others.  Even the National Farmers’ Union called the Bill “admirable”. So – watch this space!


October Meeting (AGM)


No change of officers: Jules Tennick continues at Co-ordinator, Catharine Browne as Treasurer, and Virginia Fassnidge as Chair.


We reviewed our activities since the previous AGM.


  • In March, Nic Ferriday gave evidence on behalf of Ealing FoE at the public enquiry into the proposed Blue NG biofuels plant in Southall. Jules also spoke against the development. (Subsequently, Blue NG’s plans were turned down on grounds of unacceptable air pollution.)


  • Nic also prepared statements on behalf of West London FoE for the London Plan Examination in Public on the subjects of Climate Change and Green Infrastructure.


  • Otherwise, our year’s activities were dominated by work on the Food Chain campaign (see above) and we took every opportunity to get members of the public to sign postcards asking their MP to support the Sustainable Livestock Bill, including a couple of mornings at the West Ealing Farmers’ Market – one wearing cow suits!


  • We had stalls at the Animal Welfare Bazaar, London Borough of Ealing Recycling Roadshow, Perivale Wood Open Day, Ealing Community Network Conference, Litten Nature Reserve Open Day, Hanwell Carnival, Northolt Green Living Fair, Blondin Park Summer Event, and Ealing Homes Residents’ Fun Day. Besides the Food Chain campaigning, we had a range of information leaflets and various activities, such as demonstration of compost-making, feelie bags, and the Lifestyle Tip Lucky Dip, and we sold second-hand books at the Hanwell Carnival.


  • We also joined Hounslow and Brentford FoE group at the Brentford St George’s Day celebrations, Osterley Day, and the Brentford Festival.


  • We accepted an invitation from the Southall-based Christian environmental organization A Rocha to take part in their International Day of Climate Action. We put together a short dramatic presentation about the effects of clearing rainforests and converting farmland to biofuel production.


  • Prior to the Copenhagen talks, several EFoE members lobbied Stephen Pound, MP for Ealing North, about action on climate change, and we took the EFoE banner to The Wave demonstration.


  • EFoE helped to inaugurate Ealing Green Drinks, an informal monthly get-together for anyone interested in environmental issues.


  • We joined Ealing Transition for a showing of the film “Food Inc”, an exposé of the food industry.


  • Aidan Stowe of Cumberland Energy gave an interesting presentation on home electricity generation and the new Feed-In Tariffs.


  • Several of us went to FoE events, including the Local Groups Conference.


  • We had two enjoyable social evenings, one at Christmas in La Siesta Tapas Bar and the other in the summer, starting with a short walk along the River Brent, followed by a meal at the Afghan Khayber Restaurant in Hanwell.





Planning applications


Ealing’s local website www.ealingtoday.co.uk  now lists recent planning applications in the Ealing and Hanwell areas (can be found under the Property section on the home page). Would anyone be prepared to scan this regularly and report on anything that looks as though it might raise environmental concerns?





Mega Dairies? No Thanks!


It is also encouraging to know that a number of MPs across all parties have expressed concern at the plans by Nocton Dairies to build a vast factory complex housing up to 8000 cows. The cows would be kept indoors for most of their lives: “zero grazing”. This “farm” would be the first of its kind in Western Europe.

This reduces cows to the level of machines, and deprives them of opportunity for any kind of normal behaviour. Cows bred for very high milk yields (more than 10,000 litres per annum compared with around 7,000 in conventional dairy farms) are at risk from mastitis, lameness, and bacterial infections. They are exhausted after three or four lactations and are slaughtered when they are about 5 years old.


Quite apart from the animal welfare issue, such mega-dairies are likely to drive small farmers out of business by driving down dairy prices to a level that they aren’t able to compete with. Many are already struggling. As Compassion in World Farming points out, a litre of orange juice costs £2.20, and a litre of milk 74p; a pint of beer is £3.50 while a pint of milk is 45p. The appeal of cheap milk seems obvious, and yet a recent (June 2010) survey conducted by MORI for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) found that three in five adults questioned said they would not buy milk produced in huge dairy sheds.


To date 74 MPs have signed Early Day Motion 942 (Not in My Cuppa and Cows Belong in Fields campaigns).


For more information on Nocton’s proposal, and on welfare of farm animals in general, see:

Compassion in World Farming’s website www.ciwf.org.uk

WSPA’s website http://notinmycuppa.com


Friends of the Earth have produced a briefing, Factory farming’s hidden impacts, which you can download:




Helping people change the way they think and act on energy


The Centre for Sustainable Energy has produced a series of advice leaflets telling people how they can cut their fuel bills and keep their homes warm.


They are aimed at helping the general public and are written in easily understandable, non-technical language.


There are 10 leaflets in the range – loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, solid-wall insulation, the new feed-in tariff, damp and condensation, using your storage heater, using Economy 7, reading your gas or electricity meter, understanding your gas bill, and understanding your electricity bill – and more are planned.


The leaflets also include a list of 15 simple, handy household tips to help cut household fuel bills and improve people’s quality of living.


They are available to download free from http://www.cse.org.uk/pages/skills/advice/energy-advice-leaflets



Feed the Birds


Over half the adults in Britain feed birds in their garden. It’s especially important at this time of year when food sources are dwindling. However, some food can do more harm than good.

For instance, fat from cooking is bad for birds, because the meat juices have blended with the fat and when allowed to set, this consistency makes it prone to smearing which is not good for birds’ feathers. It is a breeding ground for bacteria and so it potentially bad for birds’ health. Lard and beef suet on their own are fine, though, since they re-solidify after warming, and as they are pure fat they are not so suitable for bacteria to breed on.


This advice comes from the RSPB website, where you can find more advice on what food to give the birds in your garden.  Don’t forget to provide water for them in freezing conditions.




To the Woods!


The Woodland Trust has launched an interactive website to encourage people to go out and explore the woods in their area. The site will include searchable maps, inspiring ideas, free activities and space to upload your photos and tips.


Just go to http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/visit-woods/Pages/visitwoods.aspx and enter your postcode to get information on woodlands within a radius of 20 miles.



Send an e-card


If you want to save on paper and postage this Christmas, consider sending a Friends of the Earth e-card. They have some excellent designs, including one of the Aurora Borealis.


You’ll find them here: http://www.foe.co.uk/living/cards.html




Attention Bookworms!

Friends of the Earth has launched an affiliate scheme with the UK’s largest dedicated online bookseller. The Book Depository offers a great range of books and e-books plus free worldwide delivery. It is aiming to republish books that are out of print or hard to find. They will give FoE 5% commission on everything ordered via the link on the FoE website.






Text Box: First Meeting in the New Year: Wednesday 19 January 2010 at 7.45pm
The Rock Room, St John’s Church, Broomfield Place, off Mattock Lane, West Ealing W13 9LB













Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



From Newsletter Editor: Virginia  ( vfassnidge@yahoo.co.uk ) 020 8847 0016