What a contrast between this summer and last: in 2012 we seldom saw the sun and the rain came down in “stair-rods” but this year Angus Dart recorded a total of just 80mm for sunny June, July and August (last year his catch for the 3 months reached 240mm).
During recent weeks, members of the Group have been conducting a tree survey in the Village. Trees over 25 metres tall have been recorded in terms of: location, species, height, girth, health and other attributes. The results of the survey are being analysed currently. The idea is to capture details of the tree population now and to carry out a similar exercise, say 10 years hence, for comparison.
Work is continuing to maintain habitats in St James’s Churchyard: the bat population in the church has been very active in recent weeks.
Peter Varley’s article in the last issue of the Villager encouraged parishioners to consider installing photo-voltaic panels and thermal panels for hot water in order to offset rising energy costs. These costs seem to rise with successive gas and electricity bills, making household installations even more beneficial. A community run solar farm would be a very worthwhile investment for parishioners.
One alternative to solar energy is hydropower. Some communities along the Thames are harnessing the flow over their local weir to generate electricity. There are 44 weirs on the river which could be developed: currently Archimedes Screws are being installed at 7, the nearest to us being Goring. Similar installations are being considered for both Days and Benson weirs. Stringent Environment Agency controls have to be met to safeguard the fish population and to protect the aquatic habitat. Costs are considerable, but many of the schemes can generate enough power for 300 to 400 houses.
On Thursday 29 October Professor Allan Hutchinson, Head of the Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre at Oxford Brookes University, will present a talk on “sustainable transport - the future of personal mobility” in the Village Hall at 8pm. Allan has lived in the Village since 1999.
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