Solar PV Workshop 20th April

*After our March workshop sold out two months in advance, we have added a second for April. Please book soon too avoid disappointment

The Deal

This is only the second workshop Demand Energy Equality has organised where we ask people to pay. We have always kept our workshops free such that we can target low income households and facilitators who can pass on the skills. We want to continue this into 2013.

However…our funding is starting to run out. Running a paying one day course will enable us to keep running our free workshops for those who cant afford to pay. £80 of the £100 participants pay to attend this course will be put towards the running of further free workshops. There is one concessions place available, please get in touch if you are unable to afford full price.

The Details

The course will be a full 8 hour day where you will:

  • Build your own 80 watt panel to take away.
  • Learn how to build up your own solar PV array of self made panels and how to connect these to your home.

We will provide:

  • One free 12v battery for you to take away, worth £30-40.
  • The opportunity to buy materials and tools such as soldering irons and solar cells for future panels at cost price.
  • 2 experienced course facilitators for a group of 10.

The panel design we will be teaching is that used for our solar tree project, a very durable panel made from double glazing units. On top of this you will receive a certificate of attendance!

The course will run on Saturday 20th April 2013 in Bristol. If you can’t make this day and would like us to run another date or have a question please email –

If demand exceeds supply for this workshop we will be happy to organise another. Just get in touch.

Book here.

Latest news from Shift Bristol, new courses open for booking!

Advanced Urban Permaculture Design Course

12 day residential June 5th to June 17th, 2013 in Bristol

Lead tutors Sarah Pugh and Jillian Hovey

An intensive Permacultural exploration of the complex mix of landscape, networks, culture, limitations and opportunities in an urban setting. This design-focused course will support you in developing innovative design approaches to co-creating regenerative solutions for urban communities. Together we will explore inspiring ideas, expertise and experience from Bristol’s cutting-edge sustainability movement.

Gain hands-on experience of designing for communities through a range of tuition, activities, discussions and field trips. This course is essential learning for anyone who has taken a PDC and wants to take Permaculture out of the garden and into urban communities.

Explore how we can use Permaculture to design productive, regenerative and resilient urban communities by:

  • Consulting with and engaging people towards the regeneration of their neighbourhoods
  • Working alongside existing community development initiatives
  • Creating inclusive systems that meet people’s needs
  • Addressing the issues of access to affordable food and energy, education, land, and local economy
  • Remediating degraded urban environments
  • Uncovering and building connections and networks

Cost £875 with some concessions available – accommodation and all meals included. Please email us for a booking form.

Booking deadline 3rd May 2013.

The course has been designed in consultation with local community leaders and aims to address real needs and create viable designs and ideas to complement and augment local plans. It takes a wide view of urban design and goes beyond designing community gardens within a cityscape. The design exercises will look at real community needs, issues and limiting factors to apply permaculture to the very fabric of the area. We will be uncovering the obstacles to sustainable regeneration with a view to designing whole and healthy communities.

Practical Sustainability Course 2013-2014 Open for Booking

A dynamic and holistic curriculum exploring Permaculture Design, Organic Horticulture, Energy, Woodland Management, Green Building, Soil and Ecological Interactions, Re-localisation, Group Dynamics and Community Engagement.

Bringing together some of the UK’s most experienced tutors and practitioners to explore positive, creative and practical solutions towards a sustainable, community-led future.

Talks, workshops, discussions, field visits, design projects and practical activities.

Tutors include Sarah Pugh, Patrick Whitefield, Tim Foster, Tony Wrench, Mike Feingold, Mike Feingold, Max Drake, Ben Law, Steve Pickup and many more.

Two and a half days a week for 40 weeks. Cost £2150.

Visit for details

“A fantastic learning experience throughout… a wide variety of modules, offering a complete picture of modern sustainability.”

“So much more than a great course…more of a life-shift”

URGENT ACTION! Make ‘representations’ on the Bristol’s new Local Plan by 10th May 2013

From the Blue Finger Alliance:

Site allocations and development management policies | Bristol City Council. (link)

Please click on the link above – It will take you to the ‘final draft’ of what will become the new Bristol Local Plan, the document which will govern what development is and isn’t okay for the next 10-15 years. So far there is no protection for food growing land in it, and the Park & Ride Site on the Blue Finger is still in it (red hatching on dark green – green belt – land).

The ‘Site Allocations and Development Management Policies – Publication Version’ is what will be viewed by a Planning Inspector this summer and adopted by Bristol as it is, UNLESS representations are made to challenge the policies as laid out in this version. Anyone can do this. It can be tricky to know what to look for so we will help you.

Local plan P&R site allocation

All ‘representations’ made by 10th MAY 2013 will be considered by the Planning Inspector who can then make changes to this version in accordance with those representations or objections.

There is little or no consideration in the document as it stands for ‘safeguarding land for food’ or policies to support the development of a resilient local food system. So, the Blue Finger Alliance is writing, on behalf of all it’s members, a range of representations (objections, new policies or policy modifications) which we want to see included in the Local Plan when it’s adopted. We will share these with you when they are written and we encourage you to use them as a basis for your own objections.

If you follow the link above and go to Map 5: Greater Fishponds (bigger version of the image above) you will see that all the objections to the Park and Ride in last years public consultation have been ignored – it shows the land as Safeguarded M32 Park & Ride site. There is still no solid justification for the P&R in this location. and given that Bristol is the one of the most congested cities in the UK, building any kind of car infrastructure – particularly one which people MUST drive to use, is unjustifiable. While the congestion on the M32 is genuine, it is a problem for Bristol and South Glos to work together on to find solutions that will really work on both sides of the city boundary, long term. The two authorities haven’t yet done this.

Please take a bit of time to look at these documents and make your own objections so that the best quality soil which is already there can be used for healthy, progressive purposes which we will be proud of in 5, 10, 30, 60 years time.

COMING SOON : Guidelines on how to make your objections.

First victory for Living Heart for Bristol!

Update February 2013: Following the public responses to the consultation, the Council has now proposed a trial, which largely follows the Living Heart for Bristol’s alternative proposals (see below). Read the story in The Post.

Summary of the Council’s New Proposals

Map Showing the Council’s Revised Proposals

Background: In 2012 the Council consulted on proposals for some minor changes to the Old City streets. The Living Heart for Bristol proposed a more radical alternative, involving an extension to the pedestrianised area of Corn Street. This found favour with the public in a consultation, and with most of the Old City Traders when it was first presented to them (although more recently, a couple have begun to voice some opposition).

Link to the Council’s Original Consultation Draft

The Living Heart’s Alternatives

Summary diagram

Read our detailed response to the Council’s proposals

70% Of the Public Support the Living Heart for Bristol’s Proposal – see the questionnaire of shoppers and stallholders conducted on November 3rd..

South West Extreme Energy Gathering 30th March

It will be an opportunity to:

  • Find out about different campaigns in the South West
  • Understand the concept of Extreme Energy & connect local campaigns to the bigger picture
  • Build relationships and solidarity between groups
  • Share strategies and skills

Why: This should be a stimulating and useful day, give renewed energy and impetus to campaigns and enable us to share resources, experience, and people to get an effect greater than the sum of our parts. The event also takes place a month before the national Extreme Energy Gathering that is taking place in Manchester 26-28th April, which will bring together diverse campaigns and communities that are resisting extreme energy extraction methods for a weekend of networking, strategising and sharing of skills and knowledge.

Where: Hamilton House, Stokes Croft, Bristol
When: 10am – 4pm on Saturday 30th March 2013

The plan for the day is:
10.15 a go-round sharing successes and challenges from the various campaigns
11.30 a presentation on Extreme Energy by Frack Off.
12.00 a plenary discussion leading to people raising issues for the Open Space workshop in the afternoon where the issues discussed are the issues important to YOU.
Lunch break 12.30 -1.30 (lunch is not provided but there are lots of good places to eat nearby)
1.45 prepare the Open Space around the question: How do we raise the power of the Extreme Energy label and how do we campaign more effectively together?
2.00 – 2.50 Open Space session 1
2.50 – 3.40 Open Space session 2 (some discussions may continue over both sessions)
3.40 – 4.00 Report back and next steps. Things to take to the national gathering in Manchester.
4.00 – 5.00 continue networking while tidying up.

If you are coming along as part of a group, please email, just so we can help time budget the go-round & the number of chairs & stalls etc.

The go round of groups & campaigns is your chance to share:
– An overview/brief history of your group & what you’re organising around
– What has been going well
– What has been challenging

Please also let us know if you require a stall space or have any other needs.

Who: It will be attended by Biofuelwatch, Frack Free Somerset, Bristol Rising Tide, Frack Off, South West Against Nuclear, Stop Hinkley, Safe Energy Wales, Frack Free Dorset and more. People new to campaigning and/or extreme energy are also completely welcome.

More information about Extreme Energy:

Extreme Energy is the process whereby energy extraction methods grow progressively more intense over time, as easier to extract resources are depleted. The process is driven by unsustainable energy consumption and is important because extraction effort is strongly correlated with damage to both society and the environment.

Examples of new extreme energy methods include Tar Sands, Deep Water and Arctic Drilling, Open Cast Mining and Fracking, but even conventional fossil fuel exploitation is becoming more extreme. The intensity of extraction effort needed translates pretty directly into the fraction of the economy that must be devoted to energy extraction, and therefore dictates what is left over for the rest of society.

The course our society is on leads to a world where energy corporations (Exxon, BP etc.) hog an ever growing fraction of human activity while everyone else is starved of resources. The local and global environmental impacts of energy extraction are also growing at a frightening rate and these new methods are also often accessing fossil fuels which would previously not have been left in the ground.

What about the UK?

In the British Isles a large number of new extraction methods threaten to devastate communities and the countryside, while increasing our contribution to the global ecological crisis.

In addition to a surge in open cast coal mining and onshore conventional oil and gas extraction, entirely new methods such as fracking for shale gas and coalbed methane (CBM) looks set to coat large areas of the countryside with thousands of wells.

Beyond that underground coal gasification (UCG) threatens to bring vast industrial devastation, similar to the tar sands in Canada, much closer to home. A new batch of even more dangerous nuclear power stations and large number of biomass power stations are also on the cards.

However there is a silver lining to these forbidding clouds. Across the globe communities are organising to counter extreme energy extraction. Where once such threats seemed distance (other people’s problems), now they are creeping into people’s back gardens. Empowering and connecting communities to resist this destruction is crucial.

Frack Free Somerset
Twitter: @FrackFreeSom

Frack Free Somerset is a coalition of concerned groups in Somerset who are taking action on hydraulic fracturing.

Designing for Legacy events at the Architecture Centre

A series of three talks: 13, 20, 27 March, 18.30, £6/£4 each Booking essential: 0117 922 1540

Don’t miss this fascinating trio of talks hosted by the Architecture Centre to discover the lessons learnt from the delivery and legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games. As the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership continues to develop plans for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, these talks focus on the design of urban landscapes, flexible and sustainable venues and creative and viable temporary uses. Linked to the Architecture Centre’s current Olympic legacy themed exhibition, After the Party, the presentations and discussions consider the future sustainability of Olympic developments and their urban impact.

I: Urban Landscapes (13 March)
Stephen Witherford presents architects Witherford Watson Mann’s visionary work on the Lower Lea Valley, one of the most exciting and challenging urban regeneration opportunities in Britain. As host to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Lower Lea Valley contains some of London’s most distinctive and vivid landscapes. The Olympic and Legacy development have removed major tracts of polluted land, providing a major portion of the overall infrastructure for the regenerated valley, as well as delivering ground-breaking new sporting facilities, housing and commercial space.

II: Venues (20 March)
Nick Reynolds, senior principal/director of Populous, presents the practice’s work on the World’s most environmentally friendly Olympic stadium for London 2012. Populous embraced the opportunity to develop the architectural language of venue design to achieve a balance between the immediate needs of the large Games stadium against a long term, small scale venue.

III: Meanwhile Use (27 March)
Shankari Raj Edgar, from Bristol based CODA Architects, presents research on the future of temporary developments in our cities, commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation. Alongside other design and strategy projects, she brought together Common Capital, Cardiff University and Pop Up Bristol to collaborate on a research project for The London Legacy Development Corporation, investigating how to successfully deliver Meanwhile Use Spaces in the current economic climate.

Free Admission
Architecture Centre,
Narrow Quay
Bristol BS1 4QA
T: 0117 922 1540
Wednesday 8 January – Sunday 7 April 2013 Open Wednesday to Friday: 11am – 5pm Saturday and Sunday: 12pm – 5pm Closed all day Monday and Tuesday

Self Build Workshops Bristol 2013 by Ecomotive

Half-day and one-day courses for people exploring the possibilities and realities of self build/custom build and community-led housing.

Would you like to design and/or build your own home? Working with others to do this is a creative and empowering process through which we can actually create affordable homes which meet our needs.

Facilitated by Ecomotive an experienced community self build co-operative, these interactive workshops are a place to explore ideas and examples of self build, ask questions, progress projects and meet like-minded people. There will be a well blended mix of information, inspiration, discussion and reflection to help you on the path to understanding your options, forming choices and making decisions.

“A fantastic session. Clearly the course designers are knowledgeable and passionate about self building.” Participant 2012.



Open to all. Recommended for those new to self build / custom build who want to explore the different options, background and approaches.

Monday 15th July

£45/£35 (concs) for individuals.

£60 SME (less than 15 employees)/Charity/Non-profit

£80 corporate / local authority.

“Eradicating Ecocide” – The Fifth Crime against Peace with advocate Polly Higgins

This public meeting is organised by The Bristol GREENPEACE Group & sponsored by TRIODOS Bank.

It is at 7pm THURSDAY 7th MARCH 2013 in Room 3C4 College Green Campus,City of Bristol College,St George’s Road, BRISTOL BS1 5UA.

International advocate Polly HIGGINS will be talking and discussing her international campaign to make ECOCIDE the fifth crime against peace, joining crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, genocide & war crimes.

More info before or after the meeting at : ERADICATING ECOCIDE web