Transition Stroud

This is a shared history blog. Together we can write the history of our process of transition as it happens.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Getting action on 'Peak Oil'

Monday morning this week 5 of us from the Business and Government Transition Stroud group met up in Star Anise cafe - see previous blog on this for what we are up to (blog 16th July).

Photo: Council Chamber, Ebley Mill, Stroud District Council

We spent the first bit of the meeting sharing news as we've not met since July. This included updates on Stroud District Council and other Transition Stroud sub-groups and the proposals for a tighter Transition Stroud core group to facilitate the sub-groups. We also discussed how Transition Stroud peaked in terms of energy around the Heinberg event and appears to some people to have lost some momentum - in fact a closer look shows a huge amount of activity going on from fact-finding trips by the energy and textile groups, to a couple of film nights about bicycling, a bike picnic and much more. One of the problems is that we have not been so good at sharing our successes and progress.....

One interesting bit of national news that was also shared was the previous days Independent that had an article about Lord Oxburgh, the former chairman of Shell, who has issued a stark warning that the price of oil could hit $150 per barrel, with oil production peaking within the next 20 years. He accused the industry of having its head "in the sand" about the depletion of supplies, and warned: "We may be sleepwalking into a problem which is actually going to be very serious and it may be too late to do anything about it by the time we are fully aware."

Fi, the groups' coordinator, fed back from her meeting with a Strategic Director at the District Council - it was very good to hear about his support and interest in the issue. We spent some time on exploring what our next steps should be - one possible way forward that needs exploring more is through Local Strategic Partnerships....what are those?

Well to be honest there seem to be few who fully understand the role of these bodies and certainly most seem to operate without much interaction with the public - basically Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) are non-statutory, multi-agency partnerships, which matches local authority boundaries. They "bring together at a local level the different parts of the public, private, community and voluntary sectors; allowing different initiatives and services to support one another so that they can work together more effectively."

LSPs are important as they set policy - these aren't just reports on issues but something that will lead to actions - therefore an LSP looking at Peak Oil - or aspects around that like energy security - could be a powerful way forward. Indeed that could lead to a Portland-style document - see more here - this could be a huge step forward in terms of improving local resilience, getting more groups to understand and prepare for Peak Oil and more. Potentially exciting stuff....we'll see as there is still much to do.

Meanwhile a note to say the next Transition Drinks will be Oct/Nov - we'll post date on this blog soon.

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