Cumbria Action for Sustainability
It strikes me that this edition of the newsletter is a pick 'n' mix of the themes usually associated with 'sustainability'... there's reducing energy use in buildings, cutting down on waste, growing your own food and sourcing it from closer to home, greener transport and energy production. As a comms person, I don't like the word 'sustainability', because it doesn't mean anything to some people, and means different things to others. To me, 'sustainability' is about living within our means - not our financial means, but within what the world can provide and renew, without harm... living in balance with the world around us. I live in hope of finding an inspiring word to sum all that up. Meanwhile, read on for your monthly round-up of 'sustainability' goings-on! Jaki
CAfS at forefront of new airtightness test
CAfS is helping to field test brand-new technology for measuring the airtightness of buildings.

It's called a pulse air test, and it works by releasing a blast of air inside the property and then measuring the change in pressure as it leaks out. The clever Pulse machine is able to give an instant read-out showing how airtight the building is.

This new equipment and method, developed by Build Test Solutions, would offer another option in addition to the blower door test, which is commonly used to measure airtightness currently.

The development of this new technology is funded and actively supported by the Ebico Trust, who have made it possible for CAfS to take part in the field tests. It's also been a great opportunity for CAfS to work in partnership with Dr Brenda Boardman, a trustee of the Ebico Trust and Emeritus Fellow at the
Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

We're doing the field tests as part of our Energy Saving at Home draughtproofing scheme, which is also funded by the Ebico Trust. Several of the householders who have taken up this service are kindly allowing us to do pulse air tests in their homes before and after we've installed the draughtproofing equipment, to measure the difference it makes. It also puts the new test through its paces, checking how well it can pick up this scale of change to the building's airtightness. We'll keep you posted!
CAfS supports council's drive to cut energy use
South Lakeland District Council
CAfS has been awarded a contract to assess six of South Lakeland District Council's corporate buildings, identifying how they could be more energy efficient. We'll also look at how they could make use of renewable energy.

The council intends to use the results of our assessment to guide capital improvement works in their buildings, which should reduce their energy use.

It's great news for the taxpayer and the environment. It reflects the council's commitment to reducing their carbon emissions and setting a fantastic example for residents in their area to see.

It's also great news for CAfS, and we're grateful to the council for the trust they place in our professional services, based on the projects we've delivered on their behalf in the past. We're very much looking forward to using our skills and working with our expert partners to help the council make changes that will have a long legacy.
Rubbish Rebels returns with a new twist
This time last year, you might remember that we were busy running a scheme for primary schools, teaching our young people all about recycling and reducing waste. Well, it's coming back for the new school year, in an exciting new format!

Last year's pilot was well received, and Cumbria County Council has asked us to develop it into a programme that all primary schools in the county can use.

We're fine tuning our ideas with the help of some schools and teaching experts just now, but it will be a self-contained lesson plan with exciting resources to help teachers deliver elements of the curriculum in an interactive way. Think fun workbooks, challenges and videos made right here in Cumbria especially for Rubbish Rebels.

Are you a teacher? Or do you know any who might be interested?
You can register your interest on our website, to be first to know when the materials are ready to use.
Calling Alston Moor residents who can fix things
DIY enthusiasts and experienced tradespeople are all being invited to share their skills to help others on Alston Moor and keep useful goods from going to waste, as a new Repair Café gets under way this summer.

Repair Café volunteers typically find themselves fixing electrical goods, IT equipment, electronics, furniture, clothing and textiles and even mechanical goods like lawn mowers. 

It’s not a big commitment for the volunteers, as there'll be four of the events over the next year, lasting for a few hours each time. And, there's free training in PAT testing available for two people who are willing to fix electrical items.

CAfS is organising the events on behalf of Alston Moor Partnership, funded by Cumbria County Council and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation as part of the Alston Moor Greenprint.

We're also keen to hear from people with the skills to repair books, musical instruments, or even sharpen knives and gardening tools, along with someone to run the reception desk, and a local organisation to manage the refreshments, perhaps as a way of bringing in some donations for their group.

If you're able to lend a hand, please contact Roe Baker: or call us on 01768 210276.
It's all growing on at Alston Moor!
Speaking of the Greenprint project (above), another strand of this three-year initiative has taken a stride forward in recent weeks. It's our Let's Grow Alston Moor scheme to create a network of growing spaces.

We put out an appeal for land that local people could use to grow their own food and it was really successful, with residents offering up different types of sites.

We had a tour around some of them during the week before last, and we're now looking at whether we could potentially have a community polytunnel, spaces for wild food foraging, native planting and also training. Watch this space for more updates!
Sustainability news...
Pollution: UK's Clean Air Strategy out for consultation
The Government has launched its new Clean Air Strategy, as part of its 25-year environment plan. It sets out a range of measures to cut pollution, along with new legislation. Media headlines focused on proposals to reduce pollution from wood-burning stoves.
Strategy: Scottish plan would cut emissions by 90%
The Scottish government has published a draft climate change bill, with a target of reducing emissions by 90%. Read more >>
Youth: Bright Green Future opens for applications
This one-year training programme for 14 to 17 year olds has opened for registration. It's all about creating a new generation of environmental leaders, and features training and learning, mentoring, work placement, local projects and a residential course. Managed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), it's part of a Big Lottery funded project called Our Bright Future. Read more >>
Grants: Fund for restoring farm buildings
A new grant scheme is offering funding for land managers to restore their historic farm buildings. It's being piloted in five national parks, including the the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. The scheme aims to help owners save iconic historic farm buildings from falling out of use buy offering 80% towards the cost of restoration. Read more >>
Film: Vote for your favourite green movies
You can be the judge of films sent in by citizens from 21 countries across Europe for the ‘I LIVE GREEN’ video competition. The films show the actions they've taken to protect the environment. You can now watch the 31 shortlisted videos and cast your vote to help choose the winner of the Public Choice Award of EUR 500. Be quick... the deadline is 31 May! Read more >>
Catch-up: Tune in for plastic and green homes
If you missed these couple of interesting BBC Radio 4 programmes, you can still listen online:

  • Plastic Fantastic (a four-part series on our love/hate relationship with it)
  • A Greener Home for All (This Costing the Earth programme explores whether there is a way to solve the housing crisis without nearly doubling our emissions. Could we build affordable and green homes for all?)
Waste: Morrisons new measures to tackle plastic
There have been a couple of recent announcements from supermarket chain Morrisons on reducing waste. They've pledged to make all their packaging recyclable by 2025 and they're actively encouraging customers to bring their own tubs for deli counter products, to avoid single-use plastic packaging.
How Low Can You Go?
It's that time of year when we start to dream of holidays... and potentially rack up the biggest chunk of our personal carbon footprint for the year! So, over the summer, we'll share a few tips on having a holiday in a way that doesn't cost the earth.

Let's get the biggie out of the way first, shall we... yes, it's flights. Your share of the carbon emissions created by a long-haul flight is about a quarter of the average person's annual carbon footprint. If you want to look into travelling over land or sea by public transport, a fantastic website for planning long-haul train journeys is, or for coach travel try Eurolines or Flixbus.

If a return overland journey is more than you can manage, how about for one leg of your trip?
How we have the ability to change what happens | Thu 31 May | 7.30pm | South Lakes Foyer, Kendal | Talk by Jeremy Lent, author of The Patterning Instinct.

Climate Change: The Answer is Beneath Our Feet | Fri 1 Jun | 7pm | Rheged, Penrith | Walter Jehne, climate scientist, soil microbiologist and innovation strategist, lays out the latest scientific insights and a new radical way forward.

Free bike checks | Tue 5 Jun | 10am-12pm & 3.45-5.30pm | Penrith Library | For adults and children. Checks by Arragons, hosted by Cumbria County Council as part of Bike Week.

Teddy Bear's Plastic-Free Picnic | Sun 10 Jun | 2-4pm | Coronation Gardens Penrith | Hosted by PACT as part of Keep Penrith Tidy.

Farmers' markets (complete with Give & Take stalls):
  • Carlisle - Fri 1 Jun, 9.30am-4pm (normally first Sat of each month) Now features Goodness and Grain plastic-free stall… bring your containers!
  • Brampton (last Sat of each month)

Help keep plastic out of our oceans by taking part in a beach or river clean-up:

A bit further afield, but worth knowing about:

Routes to Retrofit | 28 June & 12 July | 5.30-9 pm | URBED, Manchester
Learn how to: navigate the construction industry, make the most out of your budget, be a discerning customer and a good client. Cost: £99-£170. Ask about bursaries

How the grid works | Wed 29 June | 9am-2pm | Manchester
Workshop by Electricity North West giving an insight into how community and local energy projects interact with the distribution network and the issues that affect projects.

Introduction to Permaculture Design | Sat 11 & Sun 12 Aug | 9.30am-4.30pm | Dilston Physic Garden, Tyne Valley | Design strategies, commonly used permaculture ethics and principles, two design tools, a presentation about permaculture projects and some practical methods of permaculture gardening.
Repair cafes: Bring along items that need fixed and volunteers will do their best to help. You might even learn a few skills along the way.

Kirkby Stephen Repair Cafe | Wed 6 June | 2-4pm | Local Links

Pop-up Repair Workshop | Tue 12 June | 4.30-7pm | Bryce Institute, Burneside

Penrith Repair Cafe | Sat 9 June | 10:30am-12:30pm | Old Fire Station

And finally...
Just a little reminder about the 563 Stagecoach bus from Penrith to Appleby, if you're visiting the area in this lovely weather. It runs from Monday to Friday, including school holidays, and its future depends on passenger numbers. Please support it if you can!
Know of a sustainability event?  Tell us  & we'll include it next time.
Cumbria Action for Sustainability
01768 210276 | |
Company Number: 6492907 Registered Charity Number: 1123155