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The changing of the seasons

Category: General

Date: 03.10.2016

Time: 11:20

Trees have been given a new palette of colour, from vibrant reds to vivid oranges and flashes of brilliant yellows. With a sea of woolly hats, scarfs and gloves… but “hold on, hold on” I’m still in a t-shirt with the windows wide open! Ok, so it’s not autumn just yet but the changing seasons are fast approaching and before you realise it autumn has passed and winter is with us.

It’s not too long before we change the clocks. The nights are now longer than the days and remarkably trees are able to sense this loss of light due to chemical light receptors within their leaves. Trees can detect day-length changes by as little as half an hour and when the receptors are triggered the tree’s leaves begin to undergo chemical and physical changes that will produce all the vivid colours seen during the autumn season. 

So what is happening? (In a condensed version):

Chlorophyll is a green pigment that allows plants to absorb sunlight and turn it into food that can be stored for winter. While trees are in leaf they will create chlorophyll as fast as they use it up, allowing the leaves to stay green. But as the days shorten this process begins to slow down and the production of chlorophyll is reduced until, finally, it stops altogether. This is due to the fading light and decreasing temperatures, which trigger the tree’s eventual dormancy period.

As the chlorophyll draws back, other pigments begin to appear like carotenoids that will produce yellows and oranges. This pigment is present throughout the growing season, however it is masked by the stronger green pigment within the chlorophyll. Once chlorophyll has reduced the carotenoids then come into their own and give leaves a new burst of colour.

However, this is not the only pigment involved in this process. We have another called anthocyanins that produce reds and browns, not only adding colour but also helping to lower the leaf’s freezing point. This gives some vital protection from the cold, allowing the leaves to remain in place for longer, thus giving more time to absorb vital nutrients to send into storage for the winter months ahead.

The precise timing of the colour shift is genetically controlled while weather and soil moisture can affect the quality of the autumn colours. A summer drought can delay the changes in the leaves by a few weeks while a warmer spell will tone down the autumn colours.

As all of the above takes hold, head outside, take in as much colour as you can, collect those remaining apples from the trees and enjoy my favourite season: autumn.

Simon Belham is the Forest for Peterborough Project Officer.



My journey back to who I was in Nigeria

Category: General

Date: 03.08.2016

Time: 14:02

So, last week it was reported in the news that plastic bag use has plummeted in England since the introduction of a 5p charge last year.

In the six months since the levy was brought in last October, 640 million plastic bags were used in the seven major supermarkets in England. In 2014, the waste reduction charity WRAP estimated the same shops had used 7.64 billion bags over the full year. If the trend were to continue over the year this would be a drop of 83%. Huge success! Why these statistics? I’ll come back to that later…

My name is Nneka and I am the Finance Manager at PECT. I have been in my role since August 2014 and have successfully managed to avoid writing a blog, up until now! I wouldn’t consider myself a wordsmith – give me numbers over words any day!

I grew up in a University community in the south east of Nigeria – a child of professors. We were in no way rich but neither were we deprived. We could pay for a driver, gardener and general help but I can assure you, my family didn’t believe in waste.

I am the last child of four so I have worn more than my fair share of hand-me-downs. You just had to look at my toys to see they were all missing an arm, a foot or a motor by the time I got to use them. And any packaging we reused until we had used the life out of it. We were the kings of recycling, but didn’t attribute a name to what we did at the time.

As a child, my first foray into the ‘business’ world, and of haggling, was selling used tin cans and newspapers/magazines to ladies called ‘Nwanyi Khom Khom’, which translates to ‘Khom Khom Lady’. (Khom Khom was the sound made if you were to beat a tin can like a drum). The Khom Khom ladies would call from house to house looking for what they could buy off the children. Adults weren’t too interested in the paltry amounts being made from those transactions – which came in handy for sweets from the corner shop. These items then got sold on to manufacturers in bulk and reused in the manufacturing process.

As a child, if we ever wanted to have soft drinks in the fridge (regular Coca-Cola, Pepsi etc.), they came in glass bottles which you would have to return to the retailer once empty. In fact, you had to own empty bottles to swap when you went to a retailer to buy. These bottles got sent back to the producers who then commercially washed and reused them.

It has been 10 years since I left Nigeria. I know for sure that the soft drinks companies have joined the plastic bandwagon but I’m not quite sure if the ‘Khom Khom ladies’ still go from door to door. I yearn for those good old days - the simpler days. But life happened. I grew up and inadvertently my life changed and probably my values too. Well, to be fair when you live in an environment where it’s cheaper and probably easier to buy a new television than have yours fixed (which I found out the hard way) or buy a new pair of shoes rather than visit a cobbler, then what do you do?

So, why did I add the statistic about plastic bags at the beginning? Well, I remember my first week at PECT and visiting a supermarket to buy some lunch with my manager at the time. As I reached out to put my purchases in a plastic bag, my manager (an environmental champion) said not to, and offered to carry them for me instead. At the time there wasn’t a 5p charge, but from that day I vowed to ditch the single-use plastic bags and try as much as possible to use re-usable bags.

And so began my journey back to who I was in Nigeria. That and a lot of other things I have picked up while at PECT have made me change my attitude and think more carefully about the environment. I continue to make changes to make sure that I live sustainably, so that my children and grandchildren get to enjoy the wonder of natural life all around us.

Nneka Ijere is the Finance Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust.



The world we want

Category: General

Date: 18.07.2016

Time: 17:58

Over the years, many young adults and teens like me have been involved with protesting and trying to change the current state of the world. Recent examples include the junior doctors’ strike and National No Bra Day to promote breast cancer awareness.

It is true that these are very important matters, but they are all for nothing if the planet that sustains us is gone. Ultimately if the earth is gone then so are we.

We couldn’t have got where we are today without scientific and economic developments like those during the industrial revolution, but these have also caused terrible effects for the planet, with rising CO2 levels and deforestation. You hear about these problems a lot, but what do they actually mean?

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the infrared and thermal radiation given out by the sun to be trapped in our atmosphere. This is known as the greenhouse effect, and it causes the temperature of the oceans and seas to rise by a few degrees. Although it may not seem like this could have harmful effects, it really does – it causes the molecules of water to expand slightly. Imagine every water molecule in the world expanding. This is one reason why we have rising sea levels.

This will affect areas below sea level like Peterborough, with the worst ultimately causing our city to be submerged. Although this is happening slowly at the moment, it will happen at the current rates of pollution. And who will this affect the worst? The next generation.

So what can we do? We can take an interest in the state of our earth, the state of our city, town or village, look into new ways of making tomorrow better but greener and cleaner too. Look for sustainable sources of resources and food. Find ways to make technology help us, for example sign petitions for wind, wave, solar or any other sustainable energy sources. Help to plant trees or stop deforestation by signing more petitions, because trees clean up the CO2 that we don’t need.

All it takes is an email or a name to do some good, and if you don’t want to receive further emails, then unsubscribe – it’s as easy as that. So please, to all students, apprentices, home-schooled or activist kids, or to anyone who’s reading this: please do what you can. This is our Earth.

Kiran Double is currently volunteering at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT). To get involved, email volunteering@pect.org.uk to register your interest.



Walking the walk!

Category: General

Date: 10.06.2016

Time: 13:16

I have now been PECT’s Office Manager for a little over a year and one of the key parts of my role is to look after our membership with Investors in the Environment (iiE).

iiE is a national green accreditation scheme for businesses who want to boost their environmental credentials. The scheme helps businesses to reduce their impact on the environment and make savings by showing them how to track, manage and reduce their energy, water and waste usage. Businesses involved are audited each year and are recognised for their achievements at the annual iiE Awards.

Even through we’re an environmental charity there are always further things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. I have described some of the measures we have in place below:


- The installation of LED lights meant that last year we were able to reduce our energy use by a whopping 28%!
- Our heating is set between 18-21 degrees and is only on in the winter.
- We turn computer monitors off when not in use and switch lights off when leaving the room.
- We make sure our printers are turned off at the end of the day.

Waste/ Recycling/ Composting

- We have clear bags in waste bins so that our visitors and staff can see how little waste we have.
- We have a compost caddy and large recycling bins.
- We have a sharing table for leftover food to go on so there is no food waste.
- Reusable bags are available for staff to use when they go shopping.


- We have an electric car for staff to use for external meetings or visits to Peterborough residents or businesses.
- We have bikes for our staff to use.
- If our staff travel to meetings via bike then we will pay them 20p per mile.


- We reuse leftover water from meetings for watering the office plants.
- We have toilet hippos in place in the cisterns, which reduces the amount of water flushed.


- All of our computers are set up for double-sided, black and white printing.
- We have a scrap paper pile for staff to use.
- We only use FSC certified, recycled paper.

All of these things and more help us to reduce our carbon footprint inside the office as well as our work helping businesses, schools and communities to reduce theirs across the city.  At PECT we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk too!

Selina West is PECT's Office Manager.



Renewable energy surges!

Category: General

Date: 01.06.2016

Time: 10:00

An impressive zero-emissions milestone was marked in May 2016 when, for 107 hours between Saturday 7 and Wednesday 11 May, Portugal’s electricity demand was met completely by solar, wind and hydro power. It’s a particular achievement for a country which had previously relied heavily on coal and natural gas – as recently as 2013, renewables provided less than a quarter of Portugal’s electricity supply.

This trend for increased use of renewable energy has not only been seen in Portugal. Just a few days later, Germany announced that clean energy (wind, solar, biomass and water) had supplied almost all of its electricity on Sunday 15 May. Likewise, during a two-day period in 2015, wind power supplied 140% of Denmark’s electricity needs, with the surplus being shared with Germany, Norway and Sweden.

These surges in supply from renewable sources make headlines today, but industry experts are predicting that this kind of energy model will be common in the future. James Watson, the CEO of SolarPower Europe, commented: “This is a significant achievement for a European country, but what seems extraordinary today will be commonplace in Europe in just a few years.”

So, where does Britain stand on the growing renewables trend? There are signs of a shift here, too – a new record was recently set when, over a 24 hour period in April, solar energy provided more electricity than coal-fired power stations. However, according to analysts Carbon Brief, the shift was due not only to the increase in solar capacity, but also to the decline in coal generation. Solar growth is also forecast to stagnate over coming months, as government incentives are cut.

The good news is that consumers can still choose to make a move towards renewables in the UK. Customers can opt for a green energy tariff, where the supplier commits to providing all or part of their energy from renewable sources. The Energy Saving Trust  offers free and impartial advice on renewable installations, as well as details of financial incentives such as ECO, Feed In Tariffs and Renewable Heat Incentives.

Right here in Peterborough, the City Council’s Empower campaign  offers homeowners the opportunity to have solar panels installed free of charge. Former Leader of Peterborough City Council, Marco Cereste, said of the scheme: “It bolsters our ever growing environmental credentials by reducing the carbon footprint of our residents and the city as a whole.”

While 107 hours of exclusively renewable energy might seem a long way off for the UK, maybe it can be a reality here in Peterborough a little sooner.



Winter's day is past

Category: General

Date: 19.05.2016

Time: 10:56

Hush, Can you hear it?
The rustling in the grass,
Bringing you the welcome news
Winter's day is past.
Soft, Can you feel it?
The warm caressing breeze,
Telling you the sticky buds
Are bursting on the trees,
Look, Can you see them?
The primrose in the lane,
Now you must believe it -
Spring is here again.
- Poem by May Fenn

For me, it seems the whole of the city has woken up after a long and grey winter, from a time when it most certainly felt like everything and everyone was hiding away from its true self, or maybe just the rains! As I look out the window into the garden and the streets below, the world greets me with a palette of colour – from the blossom of the cherry trees to the new flowers standing proud. 

The world that seemed dull and cold has come alive once again. We may never see the remarkable processes happening beneath our feet during the winter months, and may presume the natural world around us has stopped growing altogether, but within that cold hard ground the plants and trees were secretly preparing for rebirth. This is now well underway.

Bursting buds and leaf burst is triggered by the increased length of the day and warmer temperatures that occur during this time of year. This is a good sign of life, but this can also be a sign of a process happening too late or even too soon, giving us a stark reminder of our ever changing climate.

The old saying goes: “Ash before oak we’re in for a soak, oak before ash we’re in for a dash” – you will be happy to hear it was the oak this year! As I look to the months ahead I see my calendar filling up with tree site maintenance days, events and activities, and it certainly feels like an exciting time.

So take note! Spring always give hope for rejuvenation in our lives with a sense of renewed excitement and zest for life. But this should not stop during those cold, dark, wet and windy months past… oh, who am I kidding, spring has arrived and summer is in on its way, let's all get outside and enjoy every moment!

Simon Belham is the Project Officer for Forest for Peterborough.



Ethical Weddings

Category: General

Date: 04.02.2016

Time: 14:36

This year I’m getting married. I can’t quite believe I’m saying this - time is passing way too quickly! As we all know, weddings can be very expensive. The dress, the suit, the cake, invites, flowers, the venue, decorations… it all adds up. Most of the people at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) are very artsy and creative, so I’ve had a lot of ideas suggested since my engagement on how to save money by doing most of the work myself and I thought I would share this via my blog post in order to help anyone else with planning their wedding! So here goes:

Save the Dates and Invites

Once you have picked your special day, you may wish to send Save the Dates to your friends and family. I decided to make my own Save the Dates using an idea I found on Pinterest.

I started off with a long piece of card which I folded into thirds. I then decorated the card and added a line that said ‘Selina and Andy are tying the knot’. After this I put a hole at either end of the card and threaded some string through, so that when you pull both ends of the card the strings ties a knot in the middle. There are plenty of different ideas on the internet so take a look and give one of them a go!

 (Photo from www.belovedfoto.com)

The Venue

Picking a venue is not an easy task. One option that would support a local green community project is having your reception at The Green Backyard. The Green Backyard is a community project, based in the centre of Peterborough and is run entirely by volunteers, who transformed the once derelict site into a community garden that is open to everyone. The Green Backyard isn’t taking bookings for weddings quite at the moment, but it is something they are looking to do in the future, so keep an eye on their website!

The Dress

My dress was purchased from www.WED2B.co.uk. The shop I used was based in Leicester, but they’re all over the UK. The dresses they stock are from cancelled orders, discontinuations and unused samples. The dresses are beautiful and I can’t wait to show mine off. An alternative option would be to purchase your dress from a charity shop.

Decorations and other bits and pieces

Instead of a set meal for our guests, we’re planning afternoon tea, including sandwiches, cakes and scones. Our reception venue are sorting the food, but we are in charge of getting the cake stands, so for the past year I have been scouring the local charity shops and I have managed to purchase some great bargains, whilst supporting charities that are close to my heart. I also purchased tea cups to fill with petals and flowers to use as table decorations.

To add more of a DIY touch, you could make your own bunting and confetti. Visit www.Save-On-Crafts.com where you can find plenty of ideas.

Finally, instead of wedding favours, on our guest’s behalf we have decided to donate money to a charity that means a lot to me and my partner. If you purchase place cards from Macmillan Cancer Support you can get ones with pins or flower seeds for your guests. These wedding favours are a great way to say thank you to your guests and raise money for Macmillan. There are other charities that do similar things so, if you have a charity in mind, make sure you have a look at their website.

 (A lovely idea for a place for guests to put your wedding cards using a suitcase from a charity shop and some handmade bunting)

That’s all my tips! If you’re getting married, or if you know someone who needs some ideas for their wedding then I hope this helped!

Selina West is PECT's Office Manager and Company Administrator.



New Year, New Year’s Resolutions

Category: General

Date: 26.01.2016

Time: 10:41

I know that, without fail, once January appears there’s always an influx of articles and incentives encouraging the creation of a ‘New You’ for the New Year. The majority of these seem to suggest that last year can be written off, and that a new year brings with it the chance to start afresh.

I personally don’t believe that the arrival of a New Year should be a chance to discard what’s been before. Everything that’s happened previously – and the lives of those who’ve come before us – offers a great learning experience. Surely it’s by learning from mistakes that we can avoid them in the future?

Rather than starting afresh, perhaps a New Year affords a wonderful opportunity to look at what’s gone before and to see how we can improve our decisions for the future. Perhaps rather than just the ‘all or nothing approach’ of initiatives such as Dry January and Veganuary (although these can be a great starting point), we should also be looking to take gradual steps that will make a lasting difference? Perhaps we could use these initiatives as a kick-start to long-term change?

If everyone looked to make small behavioural changes then together we could make a massive difference. Just cutting back on your meat intake by 20% or by making ethical choices about where you shop (supporting local and independent) you can help to reduce carbon emissions, food miles and create a lasting impact.

I’m pretty sure future generations will look back to where we are now in incredulation (on topics such as plastic production or battery hen farming). But looking back is a good opportunity to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes again and, with social media and the internet enabling the spread of knowledge to happen at the rate of knots, there’s no excuse for not making informed decisions.

So here’s a healthy, ethical 2016 and beyond!

Laura Fanthorpe is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust.



My time at PECT

Category: General

Date: 18.11.2015

Time: 17:29

My name is Janine Starling. It has been two months since I left my role as Resources Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), and I thought this would be a good time to reflect back on my nine years at the independent environmental charity.

In 2006, as a young graduate, I stumbled across PECT – I was relatively familiar with Peterborough, so was surprised to learn it was one of four UK Environment Cities. After starting my new role my eyes were opened to the vast environmental initiatives happening in the city. Over my nine years in the role I saw the charity and Peterborough flourish; I would love to share some of my highlights…

Probably the most memorable project for me was Forest for Peterborough. I had managed PECT’s Forest for Peterborough project since the idea was first seeded. I enjoyed the challenges tree planting in an urban city brought and I fondly remember the very first planting event in Thorpe Meadows. We were delighted by the volunteer support we received from both local residents and the business community. It was a true community event, I met lots of amazing people, and volunteers even came armed with delicious food to share. If you haven’t been down to the site recently I would recommend a visit – it’s a wonderful and peaceful wildlife haven.

One of the greatest things about Peterborough is its sense of community, which has been confirmed by the most recent award-winning Harvest Festival event. If you do one thing after reading this blog, please get involved with your local community by signing up to green skills share scheme Greeniversity. My most memorable event was Apple Day at Crown Lakes Country Park in 2007. On a beautiful October day, hundreds of people attended the event to celebrate the great British apple. We planted a heritage apple orchard, pressed our own juice and played apple-related games whilst dancing to folk music. It was such a fun and well attended event and we left a lasting legacy - please go and pick and eat the apples there this autumn.

I was lucky enough to be involved in PECT’s 20th birthday celebrations. A timeline was published showing highlights of the charity’s achievements over the 20 years – it was honestly hard to edit it down! I learnt so much about PECT’s past, from re-introducing otters into the River Nene to the building of the Flag Fen Millennium Centre. In 2013 four trees were planted in St. John’s Square as a thank you to the city for supporting PECT through the years.

Finally I want to mention a project that three of my ex-colleagues will remember very well – Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group. This was a partnership project with the University of Bath, which was testing whether people were more likely to change their habits to become more environmentally-friendly if they had recently moved house. This project started in the economic crash when no one was moving house! My team worked incredibly hard to find those new movers, and it was all worthwhile as the outcome was positive – it was proved that there is a small window of opportunity when someone moves to change their habits to help them to live a more sustainable lifestyle. To find out more please do read the paper published by the University of Bath by clicking here.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed every moment working for PECT, it certainly is a very special place. It not only achieves great things for the community of Peterborough and beyond, it creates a working environment that stretches and develops its staff whilst building a supportive and friendly team. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my professional career. I still support the work PECT does by giving a monthly donation because I believe PECT’s work achieves a really positive impact on the environment.



The war on plastic

Category: General

Date: 12.11.2015

Time: 15:57

OK, I’m going to start by admitting I’m a natural born worrier. But now my day-to-day anxieties are beginning to filter into my dreams!

Last night I dreamt I was standing in the middle of a supermarket, instructing shoppers to wrap their freshly-bought food in paper rather than plastic. By the end of the dream I was feeling vaguely panicked as mounds and mounds of plastic heaped up, covering every supermarket surface in sight.

It all started after I heard about the amount of plastic being produced in the UK, most of which is either non-biodegradable or is very slow to break down. We may think our waste is disappearing, but particles are remaining to pollute our oceans and aquatic life. The worrying thing is that plastics have only been around for a few decades, so we don’t have huge amounts of research on their long-term environmental impact.

This has lead to me starting to try and complete my weekly food shop without putting plastics in the trolley, which I soon discovered was impossible! Some items I will accept defeat on, but it’s amazing how many items are needlessly covered in plastic – such as fruit and veg – only for consumers to take them home, immediately unwrap them and put the plastic straight in the bin!

Apparently the UK uses over 5 million tonnes of plastic each year, of which an estimated 24% is currently being recovered or recycled. That’s a lot of plastic ending up in landfill. And a lot of shoppers buying plastic-covered food every day throughout the UK.

If every consumer started making some small steps, such as using reusable drinks containers or buying fruit and veg from local markets where the produce has less packaging, then we may be able to make a real difference. Then I can sleep better at night too!



Running the Anna's Hope Fun Run as a Fairtrade banana

Category: General

Date: 02.11.2015

Time: 13:56

A few weeks ago a small team of us ran the 5k Anna's Hope Fun Run at the Perkins Great Eastern Run to raise awareness and funds for our charity, Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).

As a member of Peterborough Rowing Club I am fairly fit and so wanted to do something a bit different to challenge myself. I therefore decided to run it dressed as a banana – Fairtrade of course! As an environmental charity we encourage the use of Fairtrade products, ensuring a better and more sustainable deal for farmers and workers.

In fact, did you know that Peterborough is currently working towards becoming a Fairtrade City? The local not-for-profit community group, Fairtrade Peterborough has been working hard to spread the word and encourage commitment to Fairtrade across our city. To find out more about what Fairtrade means visit www.fairtrade.org.uk.

Running the Fun Run and cheering on the subsequent Half Marathon was a tiring but exciting day; I felt on a high from the community spirit, as well as the overwhelming support for a variety of great causes that people were raising awareness and money for. It was impressive the level of commitment that people had gone to and the enthusiasm both runners and supporters had for the event.

After cooling down from my (very hot) run I saw local runner Eric Winstone cross the Half Marathon finish line, with the announcement that he is the only person who has run every single Great Eastern run since it launched – an impressive feat!

To refuel I enjoyed a meal made from locally-sourced ingredients at the nearby Beehive Pub; the staff were as surprised as my fellow diners to be sharing their lunch time with a banana! Maybe next year I will attempt the Half Marathon – watch this space…

Jennie Orrell is the Greeniversity Development Lead at Peterborough Environment City Trust.



The Great PECT Bake Off

Category: General

Date: 21.10.2015

Time: 14:15

Nine weeks, 30 bakes, one winner and a lot of competitiveness. The Great PECT Bake Off has seen staff from Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), PECT Consultancy Ltd, and Sustrans competing against each other to be crowned champion baker.

I was in the third round of heats, and our challenge was sugar-free cake and, like all the rounds, we had to follow the PECT ethos and be as sustainable as possible – so it was free-range eggs, organic carrots, and wildflower honey all the way.

I was competing against Office Manager Selina and the unknown quantity of new guy Stuart, our Commercial Manager. There was a lot of banter back and forth during the week leading up to our bake, trying to psych each other out without giving away the details of what we were doing. We brought the cakes in on Monday morning and had a sneak peek of each others before everyone else came in.

I got a bit worried at this point, because although I had made a three-layered carrot cake it was very plainly decorated with just some regular icing on the top. Selina had decorated hers with dozens of fresh blueberries and Stuart had gone all out and iced the PECT logo onto the top of his cake! I was going to have to hope mine was the best tasting (and possibly win people over with the fact I had made three times as much cake as everyone else).

Judging rolled around at lunch time and we finally got to try our bakes; personally I preferred my own, but I am fairly biased and it was hard to tell whose the judges preferred. We left the room whilst the judges voted and were called back in to the news that I had won!

Fantastic news, but this meant I was into the final, which meant more baking and much tougher competition. I was going to be up against the seven other round winners and we were going to be making showstoppers. As the weeks progressed and I found out who was going to be in the final I got a bit worried about my chances, but I stayed quietly confident that my baking abilities could lead me to victory.

With less than a week to go we found out the brief: traditional cakes. A wide brief which allowed a lot of interpretation from the bakers, and meant we had chocolate cakes, vanilla sponges, lemon drizzle, red velvet cake, a lemon and raspberry cake and my own five-tiered green velvet Ombre cake.

My cake was shaped like a house and came complete with green coconut grass, a pond, shortbread animals and a gingerbread fence. It had taken two days, a lot of flour, eggs (free-range of course), butter and sugar (Fairtrade naturally) to make and there were a few mishaps along the way, with a whole cake having to be binned because I forgot the raising agent, a first attempt at a fence which could only be described as a blob, and an unsuccessful attempt to decorate with food colouring rather than writing icing.

The standard was very high and seeing and tasting the other cakes I knew it was going to be close – and it was. When the final results of the secret ballot came in I had come second, losing out by just one vote to April’s very tasty lemon and raspberry cake. It was very disappointing (especially knowing how close it was), but a very fun experience and I would do it all again. Now I just need to work out how to top my efforts from this year…

This blog was written by Andrew Ellis, PECT's Fundraising Officer.



What does a Commercial Manager do at PECT?

Category: General

Date: 20.10.2015

Time: 09:53

It is a very good question!

Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) is not a FTSE100 company or a multinational conglomerate so why does PECT as a charity need a Commercial Manager?

Well what many people do not seem to realise is that PECT is an independent charity, and not part of a local council (despite what many of my friends and family thought when I decided to take the post here).

With the independent status comes great opportunities; the charity can invest time, energy and resources in delivering projects most needed for the city. It can provide impartial advice to schools, communities, businesses and the local authority on environmental issues and with its independent status PECT can partner with other like-minded organisations.

For PECT to operate we rely on charitable grants, donations, sponsorship and Gift Aid. All of these come with some strings attached and uncertainty about if we will receive them year on year; PECT therefore needs to find additional unrestricted income to enable the charity to operate and support local and national environmental and social initiatives.

As the Commercial Manager for the charity, it is my responsibility to identify opportunities for making unrestricted income, income not designated for a particular activity, service or project.

This might be as simple as making and selling a PECT calendar, to horizon-scanning future government policy changes to identify new prospects. The role is very diverse and enables me to work with all area of the charity, something which I am really enjoying.

I have 318 days left at PECT until my secondment is complete and I head back to the Dutch Civil Engineering Company from where I came, but I know already that those 318 days are going to be packed with fun, laughter, cake, yoga and hopefully a lot of opportunities to raise some funds for a fantastic charity.

Stuart Dawks is PECT’s Commercial Manager. For any enquiries you can contact him directly on 01733 866439 or stuart.dawks@pect.org.uk.



The PECT Bake Off Final (dun dun duuuun!)

Category: General

Date: 14.10.2015

Time: 17:49

Michaela Anthony, who is volunteering with PECT, talks about her time in the PECT Bake Off competition.

I made it! Alongside seven other hopeful contestants, I made it to the PECT Bake Off Final 2015 – woop!

You won’t believe the rocky road I took in creating my finished showstopper, using eco-friendly ingredients. I hope you can empathise with some of my experiences…

Times were getting intense. Monday 6pm – no cake. 6.30pm, still no cake. The panic soon set in, I mean what was I playing at? – the final was just around the corner and I had NOTHING! I had no time to mess around, since Mary Berry had said: “It has to be perfect.” (no pressure there!)

So I began making my three-tiered (yes that’s three-tiered) lemon drizzle cake. Measure, whisk, bake! And in it went, no issues here. Then the problems began. I was keeping to the timings and all was going well, then on taking one of the tiers out of the oven, I singed my wrist on the oven shelf, so now I was an injured baker, still fighting for my survival in the competition.

I made the timings up as I went along, so there wasn’t really any systematic 'small comes out first, then medium, and then large' so out came the three cakes together. 8pm. Now here for my fatal mistake, I attempted to make my own fondant icing (the hard way!). I meant business, so I was having none of that marshmallow malarkey from the Bake Off tent. No, I was doing it the ‘proper’ way.

‘Boil the dissolved sugar to 115 degrees centigrade.’ OK minor issue, I had no way of measuring the temperature, no thermometer in the house, nothing. So out to purchase a thermometer! But my thermometer was very stubborn and I couldn’t get it up to temperature.

But that was not the end, because I still had to roll it out and time was not my friend. I started rolling it out, but I needed buttercream to cover the cake first. So I whipped up a small batch, and it was a small batch because I was almost out of icing. Miraculously I managed to cover the three cake layers, followed by the fondant icing sugar.

12pm – breathe. I had finally finished this marathon of a showstopper.

The day arrived, I rushed to PECT to set up my homemade cake stand, made to look like a forest scene with a green base, covered with leaves and logs to hold up the cakes, mimicking something of a toadstool.

Now eight finalists meant a lot of cake! Even for the greatest of cake lovers, this was a challenge. But we rose to that challenge, it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it! The standard was immense and the nerves were too.

But the worthy winner was…April. She produced a delicious raspberry and lemon flavoured cake, with a close second being Andrew’s Green House cake, with a difference of just one vote. They were honestly both sPECTacular!

Thanks to all the bakers and judges, what a brill time it was!



Ready to run?

Category: General

Date: 28.09.2015

Time: 19:25

So, the idea to run a race in order to raise funds for the independent charity Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) first came up in April 2015. Fast forward six months and a team of staff and volunteers have now committed to running the Anna’s Hope Fun Run at the Perkins Great Eastern Run on 11 October.

This brings me onto my personal race training. My extensive, dedicated training… which has currently consisted of a few very steady laps around the field behind my house. My current race speed is that of a slow-moving snail. My current endurance stands at around 50 paces.

But what’s keeping me going is the thought of raising funds for PECT. I am ridiculously proud to be working for a charity that’s achieving such fantastic things for Peterborough and its residents. PECT is challenging and supporting the city to become cleaner, greener and healthier.

PECT works with communities, schools and businesses to deliver ground-breaking and innovative projects of local, regional and national significance, enabling change for a sustainable future. In 2014 alone PECT worked with 1,700 businesses, planted 30,194 trees and involved 16,600 pupils in environmental education.

All of these achievements make the race well worth running! And if you can, we would be very grateful for your support. If you’re after something a little more energetic, then I’m sure the other seven runners on the PECT team will achieve far better results than my snail-like pace…

Please donate on mydonate.bt.com/events/pectfunrun. Thank you for your support.

Laura Fanthorpe is PECT's Marketing and Communications Manager.



Making an impact volunteering

Category: General

Date: 03.08.2015

Time: 12:40

By Michaela Anthony, Marketing and Communications Intern.

As an individual with a passion for the environment, I wanted to make an impact.

My love for the environment stemmed from my time at primary school, where we had an annual talk from the ‘Bird Man.’ It always fascinated me and despite the fact that the talk remained pretty similar year on year, the message remained impactful: ‘Don’t be careless in throwing litter, take care of our wildlife.’

Soon after I realised that it was my responsibility to care for the environment. I could make an impact. However I needed to start small and think big, since I couldn’t run before I had learnt to walk. So, I had to rein in my wild imagination and reserve my ambitions of creating the next eco nation of environmentalists for a later date!

It occurred to me, where best to start than in my own home? So I began taking small steps in order to preserve and protect the environment. From running around the house switching off lights to growing my own ‘Green Backyard’ I can now say that I am on my way to living in a more sustainable way, through the daily commitments that I now make.

These actions are having an impact, small as it may seem. However, to take a greater stepping stone towards making a difference, I decided to take up a volunteering placement at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).

Having only just begun my placement here, I have already noticed what a difference it can make to join forces with others who have a similar passion. Through engaging schools, businesses and whole communities, PECT is impacting the lives of so many in the hope of collectively achieving the same goal: ‘A sustainable Peterborough.’

I now realise that caring for the environment and becoming more eco-friendly is not a chore as the case may seem. Rather on the contrary, it’s an exciting and innovative way of life.

The challenge is: what can you do to get involved and think big for the environment?



Why I joined Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT)

Category: General

Date: 13.07.2015

Time: 17:28

By Anna Ruggiero, Marketing and Communications Intern. 

My decision to start volunteering with PECT stemmed from a lifetime of loving nature coupled with a desire to make some positive changes to my life.

Having spent too much time absorbing negative information from the media on the impending doom our planet is facing, I began to notice a real drop in my mood. I felt I was faced with two choices; either continue to grumble about the situation to anyone that would listen or to be proactive and do something positive.

Some people say ignorance is bliss but when it comes to the condition of our planet, I disagree completely. 

I contacted PECT and it seemed obvious (and perfect) that I would start working with Laura, PECT’s Marketing Manager, to help communicate the good stuff happening at PECT and also let people know ways in which they can help and be involved in community projects and take ownership of their local area. Combining my journalistic skills alongside my passion for nature seemed the obvious route to take.

So instead of feeling helpless and selfish about the current environmental issues, I now feel I am doing something positive, and taking some responsibility for the problems we face.

Much of our beloved plant and animal life is on the brink of extinction; we’re currently using resources at such a rate that we need three planets to support us. Did you know it takes three bottles worth of water to produce just one bottle of water? Many of us appear to be idly consuming our way through life without any real consideration of the effects our actions have on the planet, but this isn’t a blame game, it’s not our fault. The modern western way of life is not designed to make us question our way of life, we’re too busy for that! But we really should be looking at our actions when and where we can. Earth hasn’t allocated a space for all our rubbish, it’s not part of the universe’s grand design and it’s playing havoc with our eco-system.

It’s not always been this way and in many parts of the world indigenous people live alongside nature in a sustainable way. They take what they need and give back what they have taken. It’s simple logic, but sadly environmental issues sometimes seem to take a back seat in political debate, with the economy becoming the contender for the top spot of discussion. 

Small steps do lead to big changes and you don’t need to camp out in a tree to make a difference! Simple changes will all help. So if you can walk, walk! If it can be reused, reuse it! And if it can be recycled, recycle always! The one thing you can’t do is ignore the situation. Earth has given you life, now it’s time to give her a helping hand in return.



Lend your support to Fairtrade Fortnight

Category: General

Date: 27.02.2015

Time: 20:50

Bring about positive change for farmers and workers in developing countries by supporting Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 (23 February - 8 March). 

In 2015, Fairtrade Fortnight will be on a mission to ask shoppers and businesses to choose products that change lives. Campaigners across Peterborough will join forces with the rest of the country and share stories from the people who grow our favourite products, to remind everyone of the dramatic difference Fairtrade makes and why it is still needed.

70% of the world’s food is produced by 500 million smallholder farmers yet many of them remain trapped in chronic poverty. Fairtrade ensures farmers across the developing world receive a fairer price for their work, as well as an additional Fairtrade Premium, used by farmers and workers to invest in their communities. The community then decides what the Premium is spent on, whether that’s building a new school or hospital, or investing in better environmental business practices.

Join Fairtrade Peterborough for a Fairtrade Wine Tasting at Peterborough Cathedral’s Becket Chapel on Tuesday 3rd March 2015 from 7.30pm-9pm. This informal evening will be a fantastic opportunity to try some Fairtrade wine and delicious nibbles and discover more about Fairtrade across the globe.

Tickets are £6 in advance or £8 on the night. To book your tickets, email fairtradepeterborough@gmail.com or telephone Sr Mary Mason on 07811 345 857.



Have you fitted your LEDs yet?

Category: General

Date: 10.12.2014

Time: 12:50

David S Dixon, local business consultant and PECT member with a long-standing interest in the environment, talks to PECT about the benefits of LED lights.

PECT: We hear you’ve been installing LED lights in your office and home. Are you pleased with them?

David Dixon: Yes, I’m delighted. They’ve already started to save me money and, what’s more, they are truly great for the environment. I have been using various so-called energy saving lights for years, but these are much better.

PECT: So is it a simple switch over – out with the old, in with the new?

DD: Well no, it’s not quite like that. There are a few things you need to find out first, but it isn’t difficult and soon you can be enjoying all the benefits of much better and cheaper lighting.

PECT: What sort of things do you need to know?

DD: Well the first, and I think most important thing I learned is that LEDs use about one eighth of the power of old incandescent bulbs. Well, actually they are electric lamps really, not bulbs, the bulb is just the glass dome that we used to be familiar with that surrounded the white-hot filament.

PECT: So less power is needed to feed less watts, meaning less consumption?

DD: Exactly. So look here’s a simple chart* below of comparative energy use, LEDs do vary just a little, but this is a pretty good guide. A lumen is a standard measure of light intensity, or brightness. It is a more helpful and accurate measure than using watts. You can often see it printed now on packaging for electric lamps. You can sometimes find different lumen ratings for lamps of the same wattage, so be careful, but simply go for the highest lumens if you want a brighter lamp.

Lamp type

220+ lumens

400+ lumens

700+ lumens

900+ lumens

1300+ lumens


4 watts

6 watts

10 watts

13 watts

18 watts

CFL (Compact
Fluorescent Lamp)

6 watts

9 watts

12 watts

15 watts

20 watts


18 watts

28 watts

42 watts

53 watts

70 watts

Standard (incandescent)

25 watts

40 watts

60 watts

75 watts

100 watts

*Source: Which? Magazine, Consumers’ Association

PECT: Are we right in saying that savings don’t only come from reduced energy consumption?

DD: Yes, the lamps last around 25 years so you are not constantly replacing them, you can almost “get ‘em and forget ‘em!” This is where another significant part of the saving comes in.

PECT: Energy saving lights have a reputation for taking ages to brighten up after switching on. Are LEDs the same?

DD: No, they’re not. I also noticed some of the energy saving lights in my office getting dimmer over time. But LEDs come on when you switch them on – simple. LEDs may seem expensive initially but the long-term savings are considerable, so it is a really good investment. Like anything new, prices have been high at first, but new supplies are coming onto the market and LEDs are becoming much more readily available. Prices are definitely coming down, so shop around.

If you are worried about the initial cost, install them gradually, a few each month, but don’t just wait until the old ones “die” as you can start making savings immediately. Your best bet is to replace the lights you use most frequently with LEDs to optimise your savings.

You see LEDs recommended on DIY and design TV programmes and not just individual LED lamps, but also in strips that can be joined together, tapes and zone lights. Some are even waterproof or in various colours, so the choice is huge. We have a bar of four spotlights over a dining table and I have selected LEDs that are dimmable. It is great to be able to choose the intensity of the light.

PECT: So how much can you save then? Is it easy to work it out?

DD: That, of course, all depends on what you are replacing with LEDs. If you compare with old fashioned standard incandescent lamps, typically you will save around £180 over the life of each LED lamp. Local business in the Peterborough areas such as offices, restaurants and other large and small enterprises are already saving hundreds of pounds on their electricity bills.

PECT: What do you need to think about when converting to LEDs then?

DD: Well first you need to think what fitting the lamp has. Is it a traditional bayonet, or screw, or does it have little pins. So check the type, and the size of the fitting, take the old lamp to the shop if you need. You also need to estimate the wattage, or better the lumens, for the lamps you are buying.

At present many homes use halogen lamps, often a GU10. These give a warm white light. Perhaps surprisingly then, you will now need to think about what colour of light you want as you are now likely to have an option. At home for living rooms and bedrooms you may want a warm white, whereas in an office or for a shop, or may be for a kitchen or bathroom, you may want a natural white light. The warmer light will have some yellow in it, whereas the whiter lights, which burn at a higher temperature, have blue in them. This is measured in degrees kelvin.

What’s more, not all LEDs are dimmable, so make sure if your fitting is connected to a dimmer, you’ll need dimmable LEDs – just check.

PECT: Where can you get LEDs from?

DD: LEDs are now widely available in DIY centres, electrical retailers, supermarkets and, of course, online. They can also be bought at the specialist trade stockists in Peterborough.

Be positive, buy one and try it out. If we all used them in Peterborough it would save our city many hundreds of thousands of pounds every year. Just think what that means for our pockets and the environment!



Heataborough Community Event

Category: General

Date: 14.11.2014

Time: 11:09

Here at PECT we love to share news about great eco events happening across the city and further afield.

That’s why we thought we’d tell you about Heataborough, a community event happening on Friday 21 November, between 4pm-7.30pm at Millennium Centre, Dickens Street, Peterborough (PE1 5GD).

If you’re a homeowner or landlord, drop-in to hear how Peterborough City Council has been awarded a £4 million subsidy fund by the government as part of the Green Deal programme to help local house owners afford home energy efficiency improvements with no (or little) up-front costs.

Who qualifies? All owners of residential property in the central Peterborough target area (most PE1 postcodes) can now apply for a grant. You can check out the target area map on www.peterborough.gov.uk/heataborough. Properties must have solid walls that need insulating. Replacement boilers, loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and double glazing are also available (subject to survey).

Head to the event to find out how you can get a share of this fund to improve your property. The first 500 home energy surveys booked are being carried out FREE OF CHARGE – you can book yours at the event.

Don’t miss the Landlord & Letting Agents short talk at 4.30pm, and a Homeowners, Community Groups & Leaders Short Talk at 6pm.

If you can’t make it, you can book your free survey on www.peterborough.gov.uk/heataborough or call 01296 311898.



Laura Fanthorpe, Marketing and Communications Manager

Category: General

Date: 14.11.2014

Time: 10:17

Hello! My name is Laura and I am the newly-appointed Marketing and Communications Manager for Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT). I have just finished my first two weeks in the position, and the time has absolutely sped by!

I am delighted to be working for such a fantastic organisation that is achieving great things – not only within the city itself but also further afield.

My role involves ensuring PECT’s projects reach as wide an audience as possible. I am in a unique position that offers wonderful opportunities to spread the word in order to benefit individuals, communities, schools and businesses.

It’s been great to see that PECT really does practice what it promotes. The organisation has received accreditation from Investors in the Environment for its green credentials, plus there’s a strong emphasis on following good sustainable practices in order to reduce the organisation’s environmental impact. It’s been really refreshing to see how passionate PECT’s staff and volunteers are about sustainable living.

My background has always been within the horticultural, green living, and cultural sectors, so I’m delighted to bring my interests together to work within PECT. I enjoy trying to live an eco-friendly  lifestyle, and this include growing my own produce, keeping chickens, buying local, recycling, and walking or cycling whenever I can.

However, there are always opportunities to improve my green credentials and I’m excited about the oppportunity to keep on learning!


No Supermarket September: How did we fare?

Category: General

Date: 10.11.2014

Time: 09:43

Some of us decided to take up the challenge of No Supermarket September to see how possible it would be to use just the city’s local businesses for our regular food shopping. This was a real opportunity to check out of the supermarket conveyor belt for a while!

We were filled with trepidation and a little bit daunted by the idea, imagining big challenges - where would we get the time to shop in more local, sustainable way? Would we be able to get what we needed from alternative outlets? Having to work around busy schedules and being working parents meant that this way of shopping could certainly be a challenge. But the answer, we soon discovered, was yes we could. Not only was it feasible, but it turned out to be a great experience!

Where did you shop, I hear you cry? Well, this was difficult at first (it meant a change of mindset as much as anything), but once we started to discover local traders we found there were enough of them, but there is definitely a need for more. If you want to support your local traders you can, and you can get most things you need without having to step into a big supermarket.

For fresh fruit and vegetables there was of course the option of veg box delivery but we also really enjoyed shopping on the city market, where there is a great choice of fresh, ripe, and delicious produce, at really fantastic prices. The city market also provided us with fish, cheese and meat and even pet food.

For bread we discovered that the Italian deli’s, Chinese and European shops were a great source, and we also baked our own. For staples such as flour, sugar, tea coffee, organic pulses and so on we used Backyard Foods, the organic wholefood shop at The Green Backyard.

The added value of this challenge was reconnecting with the high street. It made shopping much less of a chore. We started to build relationships with shopkeepers and market holders, and created a great rapport with local shops. Being able to talk to people about our choices and try delicious new food we hadn’t thought of using before was a great added benefit.

In addition to this we found that we were spending far less money on our weekly shop, which was a big surprise! Not only were we not buying as many things we didn’t need (and reducing food waste), local traders do actually offer competitive prices and were often much cheaper than supermarkets.

In truth the supermarket can be more convenient, BUT, you CAN get everything you need without stepping foot in one, at the same time as having a much more enjoyable experience and making some new friends along the way, whilst supporting our local economy. In the end, we found that supermarkets offer a lot of convenience, especially in terms of opening hours, but at a minimum, there is plenty of space to at least supplement your weekly shop with local traders.


Bridge Street - Prohibition of cycling consultation - Deadline 15 August

Category: General

Date: 07.08.2014

Time: 10:17

Dear all,

You may have heard about the current consultation regarding the councils proposal to extend the cycling ban on Bridge Street, currently Mon-Sat, to include Sunday as well.  On issues like this that relate to the sustainability of our city we aim to raise awareness and encourage participation.  Below is the consultation document from the council and SUSTRAN’s statement (SUSTRANS are a national sustainable transport charity www.sustrans.org.uk).
We would like to encourage as many people as possible to participate in the consultation to say what you, as individuals want, so that the resulting decisions best reflect residents views.  To participate is simple, comments need to be made in writing by 15 August. Comments can be emailed to highwaymaintenance@peterborough.gov.uk or sent to Peterborough Highway Services, Dodson House, Fengate, Peterborough, PE1 5FS.  We would encourage positive and constructive comments, and we encourage you to comment whether it is a short personal view or a longer, more detailed statement – all are valid.

Please do participate and forward this onto others and encourage them to participate.

Rachel Huxley
Chief Executive

The council's notice of proposal from the consultation information from their website:


The effect of the Order is to prohibit the riding of a pedal cycle in either direction along the entire length of Bridge Street between its junctions with Bourges Boulevard and Cathedral Square between the hours of 9.00am and 6.00pm.

The detailed plan indicating the length of road subject to the prohibition may be seen together with a statement of the Council’s reasons for proposing to make the Order, can be seen at the Town Hall Reception, Bridge Street, Central Library, Broadway and Bayard Place, Northminster Road, Peterborough, during normal office hours.
If you have any objections to the proposed Order they must be submitted in writing to the undersigned by the 15 August 2014,  clearly stating your reasons for objecting to the proposals.


Sustrans position:

Peterborough is taking positive steps to encourage cycling through the Travelchoice project, but we are worried that this could be undermined by not making adequate allowance for cyclists in and around the City Centre. Bridge Street is at the centre of the cycle network developed for the city and is an important link for hundreds of people who are cycling to work and school each day, or even just popping to the shops.

When the Development Corporation designed the City Cycle Network and removed car traffic from Bridge Street they included Bridge Street as the main north-south cycle route in the city centre. They considered options for building a dedicated cycle route along Bridge Street, but felt that this was incompatible with the need to have a flexible public space. The Development Corporation did not make any alternative provision for cyclists to avoid Bridge Street and there is still no good alternative, because the Corporation allowed for cycling at all times and understood the evidence that this could work well as a shared space.

A cycle ban was introduced about 20 years ago, by Cambridgeshire County Council, when they were Highway Authority and since then this has been a source of controversy. The ban was introduced before Sunday shopping and now that Sunday shopping is well established it makes sense for Sunday to be treated in similar ways to other days. However, Sustrans does not believe that introducing a similar ban on Sundays to the other days is necessarily the best option.

Sustrans has generally welcomed the City Centre enhancements over recent years and does believe that pedestrians should have priority in Bridge Street and the whole City Centre and cyclists should treat pedestrians with the courtesy and respect they deserve. At times the best approach may be for cyclists to dismount and walk, but evidence shows that cyclists judge for themselves. The present situation gives an excellent opportunity to review cycling and vehicular issues across the City Centre. There are big variations and the fact that Sunday restrictions are currently different to other days gives a good case study.  When Cambridge had a similar situation they did an analysis of Sunday compared to other days and found that there were no particular issues with there being no restrictions on a Sunday and decided to lift restrictions on all days, firstly on a trial basis. In Cambridge's case there was a strong involvement of the transport team who recognised the importance of cross-city centre cycling and were looking for good solutions. In Cambridge, as in Peterborough, the historic city centre does not lend itself to obvious alternatives, especially given that it is known that routes that involve significant diversions for cyclists will not work. Sustrans suggests that Peterborough does a similar trial and analysis. Cambridge found that lifting the restrictions was the best option and we expect that Peterborough will find that the evidence points the same way.

The justification for the proposal is that "It is not acceptable to cycle on a busy pedestrianised street. It is not safe for the pedestrian or the cyclist.  Cyclists should therefore dismount and push their bikes along Bridge Street which only takes a couple of minutes.” This does seem to be entirely at odds with Council transport policies and guidance and has major issues for the whole city. The most successful part of the City Centre is surely Cathedral Square where cyclists and pedestrians generally mix well and there are no restrictions. The impressive Bourges Boulevard scheme is currently removing segregated cycling and walking facilities and replacing them with shared facilities, because this is considered good practice.

The timings of any restrictions are inconsistent and it is odd to introduce similar restrictions on a Sunday to other shopping days; when shopping hours are very different. Bridge Street has cycling restrictions currently from 9:00 am -6:00pm, much of the City Centre has loading restrictions from 10:30am - 4:30pm, but Westgate has restrictions from 11:00am - 2:30pm.  Anyone who stands on Bridge Street early in the morning will see it busy with cycling commuters and with very few pedestrians - it is obviously an important route . At 9:00am Bridge Street is still generally quiet in terms of pedestrians. At 9:30am it is still generally very quiet (especially on Sundays) and it is understandable that cyclists do not want to walk when they could cycle and not come across anyone. By 9:00am at least many will already have completed their journeys to or from work or school, but for those cycling home from school or work the current 6:00pm restriction is far too late. This will be a particularly odd restriction on a Sunday with Sunday shopping finishing at 4:00pm, although this would be less relevant for school children. The restrictions on cycling have never been popular with cyclists and unpopular rules make for difficult policing. There has to be a serious question as to whether asking the Police to patrol Bridge Street is a good way to spend Police time, when all the evidence is that generally this sort of environment works well without restrictions and people find their own ways of sharing the space.  Responsible cyclists will abide by rules that make sense, but even some of them may be tempted to cycle if they see Bridge Street empty. There are undoubtedly some anti-social cyclists who may enjoy flouting restrictions. They should be discouraged and can be prosecuted with or without restrictions. Changes on Sunday will make no difference to them. There is a strong argument that the best way to police irresponsible cycling is to have role models, but those who would cycle slowly and carefully in Bridge Street are currently banned and there are no good cycling role models in Bridge Street at present.

An important issue that seems not to have been considered in this debate is that cyclists can also be City Centre customers. Many cyclists will be using Bridge Street as a through route but others who want to enjoy the street can be valuable customers. Research has shown that shops significantly underestimate the value of business from cyclists and this also needs to be considered.

We are keen to emphasise that the research and the Council's own Cycling Design Guidelines has shown that cyclists can mix harmoniously with pedestrians. Certainly cyclists deserve a convenient and high quality route though the city centre as is stated in the Council's own Transport Plan and there is currently no alternative to Bridge Street and of course pedestrians deserve to be safe and treated with respect wherever they are. Any good alternative for cyclists will not be easy, but Sustrans and others would be happy to be involved in discussions. It is hard to see how an alternative could work well so this is a real challenge.  If cycling is to be restricted we believe that this will continue to be a very difficult task for the police and will be unpopular with many, but the logic would be to change the restrictions to 10:30am to  3:30pm on all days to aid commuter and school cyclists.

We do not believe that any changes should be introduced without a review of the whole City Centre in line with the Council's transport policies and an analysis of what the issues are currently on Sundays.  We are surprised that the Council should consider promoting an order that seems to be completely contrary to their own policies and wonder  how this can have happened.  We believe that the best option would be to review the proposal and undertake a thorough review and consultation.  We note that the  Peterborough Local Transport Plan refers to Priorities for the City Centre Core as reduction of cars and car parking in the core area with a strong emphasis on pedestrians and cycles, but also promoting and accommodating public transport. Some of the proposed measures to do this include:

• Expand pedestrian and shared cycle and walking areas;

• Improve cycle routes and increase the number of bike racks and other facilities to encourage people to cycle more;

• To seek to provide a north-south cycle route through the city.
The City Councils Cycle Design Guidance states:

"Studies have shown that there are no real reasons why cyclists should not be allowed to use vehicle restricted areas. In the presence of pedestrians, cyclists are observed to adapt their behaviour to take account of the level of pedestrian density. When there are proposals to introduce vehicle restricted areas, providing cyclists' access should be the default position".


The journey to become a more sustainable city

Category: General

Date: 24.06.2014

Time: 10:59

What are the key successes and learning points on your journey to become a more sustainable city?

I’ve been asked, by the good people at the Eco Technology Show, to write a blog about the seminar I’ll be participating in; How to create an Environment Capital.  Peterborough has been in this game for a long time, signing up to an Environmental Charter in ‘91 and becoming one of only four Environment Cities in ‘92 and committing to creating the UK’s Environment Capital in 2008.  Peterborough Environment City Trust, the organisation I lead, was established in ‘93 with a vision of creating a truly sustainable Peterborough and a mission in support of the Environment Capital aspiration. 

So what have we learnt and achieved along the way?  Click here to read the rest of my blog post and find a few of the key things that spring to mind.


Environment Capital

Kari-ann Whitbread, Fundraising Manager

Category: General

Date: 17.06.2014

Time: 09:02

Hi, my name is Kari-ann and I have recently started working as Fundraising Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust. My role is to raise funds for PECT and with so many amazing projects being delivered, I can see I am going to have my work cut out!

Most of my fundraising has been done in developing countries so it is a real shift for me to be back in the UK, and not just the UK, but in Peterborough, my home town. I have always been interested in healthy living and nutrition is a particular passion of mine so I was really excited to hear about PECT’s Love Local project that has a focus on healthy-eating in schools and communities. And as I will soon have a home with a garden for the first time, I am looking forward to getting some gardening tips from one of the many Greeniversity classes in the city, not to mention from my knowledgeable colleagues!

I’ve really enjoyed my first few weeks at PECT and already feel quite settled; the team have made me feel very welcome and I have been most impressed with their commitment to their work. It’s very obvious that the team here are all passionate about the environment, not just because it is their job, but because it is part of their lifestyle. Their passion has already rubbed off on me as I no longer automatically switch on the lights when I walk into a room and have very quickly learnt to switch off my computer screen when away from my desk.  Small things, but they all make a difference! 

It’s really nice to be home and to be able to contribute to making Peterborough a healthier, happier place to live and I’m really looking forward to working more closely with the programmes teams and seeing for myself the great work they are doing.


Emma Hookham, the Love Local Project Officer

Category: General

Date: 06.05.2014

Time: 11:53

Hi, my name is Emma and I am the Love Local Project Officer here at Peterborough Environment City Trust. Love Local is about encouraging people in some of the most deprived areas of Peterborough to learn more about cooking and how quick and easy it can be to prepare tasty, low cost, healthy meals using locally-sourced ingredients.

I have always loved cooking, and have been experimenting with recipes for as long as I can remember – I was kneading dough and baking bread when I was a toddler. This stemmed my interest in the link between diet and health, which led me to read Public Health Nutrition at university.

The opportunity to join the team at PECT as the Love Local Project Officer greatly appealed to me. I enjoy working directly with the community and I am a keen advocate of supporting local food producers. My role here involves setting up and delivering a number of Let’s Cook and Eat! workshops, working with a community gardener to deliver Let’s Get Growing! workshops, as well as organising larger community events where we’ll showcase local food, deliver cooking demonstrations and provide tasters.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first few weeks at PECT and feel well and truly settled here. As well as delivering my first cooking workshop, I’ve led a training session to a group of AGE-UK volunteer cooks and spent time learning about some of the other great projects happening here at PECT. I’ve also had fun practicing my handstands in the lunch-time yoga sessions – they’re not as easy as they look! I’m really excited about developing the Love Local project by building upon the fantastic work that has been carried out so far, and hope to make a positive and lasting difference to the community.


#'love local #communities

Green Awards 2013

Category: General

Date: 20.12.2013

Time: 12:27

The annual Peterborough Telegraph GREEN awards this year was one of the best ones yet. The Green Awards are in place to celebrate all of the amazing things that people in the city are doing to help create a greener Peterborough. We had lots of different nominations for the eight different categories, which made it even more difficult to select a winner!

Green Family Award - Sponsored by Cross Keys Homes
Winner: The Walters
Runners up: The Antonellis and Beki Sellick

Best Green Space Award - Sponsored by Larkfleet Group
Winner: Cuckoos Hollow in Werrington
Runners up: The Green Backyard and Eye Community Centre Green Space

Best Green Volunteer/ Community Award - Sponsored by Prince Energy
Winner: Ash Jarvis from Froglife
Runners up: Nene Park Volunteers, David Cowcill and Julie Collins

Contribution to the Environment Capital - Sponsored by Enterprise Peterborough
Winner: The Wildlife Haven at Railworld
Runners up: Sustrans, Peterborough and Fenland Leisure Products

Green builder/ buildings - Sponsored by Hunt and Coombs Solicitors
Winner: The Morris Homes Vista Site
Runners up: Nene Park Trust & Lindum and St Michaels CofE Primary School

Green Tourism Award - Sponsored by The Co-operative Travel
Winner: Rohan Wilson
Runners up: Railworld and Nene Park Trust

Green Youth Award - Sponsored by Enterprise Peterborough
Winner: The Ken Stimpson Eco Team
Runners up: The Iqra Academy and Ormiston Bushfield Academy

Sustainable Food Award - Sponsored by Kingsgate Conference Centre
Winner: Clarkes Restaurant
Runners up: Sundays and Magic Organic

Congratulations to all of the winners and runners up and thank you to all of the sponsors and judges Ken McKay, Cllr Nigel North, Nyree Ambarchian and Richard Olsen.

Looking forward to the 2014 Green Awards!


These shoes were made for… re-use

Category: General

Date: 05.11.2013

Time: 11:11

One of the things that comes with the territory of working for an environmental charity is being asked a wide range of environmental questions, often easy, sometimes complex and occasionally bizarre – but almost always with the assumption that you will have the answer.  I suppose it’s a bit like the Dr syndrome but instead of being corned at parties for a diagnosis on a health issue its someone’s sustainable ailments that we get hit with.  In the main I don’t mind at all, in fact I welcome it – we spend our time at PECT trying to help people and organisations go green so when I get asked for help with this its generally a pleasure to oblige.

The latest question I had was relatively simple problem of what to do with old shoes.  Although simple it is a big problem, researchers at Loughborough report that worldwide footwear consumption has doubled every 20 years, from 2.5 billion pairs per year in 1950 to more than 20 billion pairs of shoes produced presently each year.  And shockingly less than five percent of these shoes are recycled, most end up in landfill sites. 

So as it seems a common problem, with not many of us aware of how you can recycle shoes I thought I’d share the options on our blog…

Here is the list of options for shoes in Eco order:
1. Don't buy too many shoes in the first place, cutting out waste before it is generated is always the most sustainable option! 
2. Buy from charities, there are loads of shoes in great condition available, or buy shoes made using recycled materials and eco-friendly processes - again this cuts a lot of the waste out before you even start worrying out how to dispose of them.
3. If they are in good condition donate to a charity shop or your friends and family.  You can drop them in to the charity shop of your choice or you can get free pick-up service from Enterprise Peterborough.  They pick up a range of items including shoes, which they donate to local deafblind charity Sense.  To arrange a collection you just need to contact customer services on 01733 747474. 
4. If they are in poor condition donate to a charity like Shoe Biz where they recycle the shoes and generate money for charity (usually by selling the shoes to a recycling company).  Shoe Biz is working in partnership with UNICEF and Clarks, so you can drop them in to any Clarks store.

Happy recycling!


Rachel Allerton, PECT Volunteer

Category: General

Date: 18.07.2013

Time: 14:48

I am currently in the middle of my A Level studies taking Geography, History, Maths and Chemistry and I would like to study Geography at University. I thought it would be a good idea to do some work experience at PECT as it’s an environmental charity. I have been able to take part in quite a few of the projects which has been a great experience! I have helped out with the Greeniversity project by researching relevant free classes in the area and contacting the companies and uploaded some classes onto the website which was cool to see something I helped with actually go online! I also helped out with the Love Local campaign and had a really good experience  visiting some sheltered housing for the homeless. We did a cooking demonstration of carrot cake in one, and cooked a BBQ for the residents and staff in another. It was a really enjoyable experience to get to know people from different backgrounds and give back to the community. I worked on a project helping to collate figures of unemployment and job seeker allowance claims to help measure cities on their environment and sustainability. Finally I have just started working on the schools project and I am currently researching information for a campaign to put climate change back on the curriculum for key stage 1 and 2. This is really good as it nice to feel like you can actually help a bigger cause! Overall I have had a great time volunteering at PECT!! Everyone is so friendly and it’s been great to be able to get a taste of lots of different projects to get a feel of how geography can be involved in a future career! I would recommend coming to PECT for work experience to anyone!!!


Peter Hogan, Trainee Ranger at Nene Park Trust, Skills for the Future Trainee

Category: General

Date: 18.07.2013

Time: 14:46

I have been working within the Landscape Team at Nene Park Trust since January 2013. Park Rangers are responsible for a wide range of jobs within the Park, including site safety checks and site security, customer liaison, as well as actively managing the landscape of the Park.
Although my previous working background has been in a different work sector, I returned to study in 2008 - 2011 undertaking an FdSC in Conservation and Wildlife Management, alongside of which I developed a portfolio of volunteering within the landscape sector.
The position of Trainee Ranger will allow me the opportunity to continue to develop and expand my practical landscape management skills and knowledge, working with new machinery and tools, applying them to different habitats and landscape features.   The Park Ranger role will give me a practical understanding of working within a busy and vibrant Country Park.
To date, I have been assisting with a variety of practical landscape tasks including: hedgerow maintenance, horse route widening, paths maintenance and general grounds maintenance. I have also been shadowing the Rangers on their duty ranger shifts, in preparation for my own duty shifts, and have undertaken First Aid at Work and Play Area Routine Level inspections training.
I am thoroughly enjoying my placement, and looking forward to the continued learning and new challenges that this year will bring.


Amanda Assistant Reserves Officer, Skills for the Future Trainee

Category: General

Date: 13.03.2013

Time: 17:35

Having grown up on a farm and in the countryside I always knew I would never want a desk job. I have always had a passion for animals and wildlife and went on to study Zoology at University and found conservation and biodiversity interesting which prompted a Masters in this area. Once I had got all the academic qualifications all I needed now was some experience.

I applied for this position as it provided a lot of the training I need to get into practical conservation. This scheme allows me to learn on the job and gain experience in how the organisation works. There are multiple opportunities to get involved in lots of different areas as well as just the practical work.

In the last 2 months I have already gained my first aid at work and brush-cutter training. Every day has been different; I’m gaining the confidence I need with the machinery aspect of things and enjoying every day.