Fracking is a dirty word in Camden

Camden Friends of the Earth today called on Camden Council to swear that it would not allow fracking operations in the London Borough of Camden.

Susan, Nikki and Jess are shocked at the idea of fracking

Local residents joined campaigners to demand that the council declare itself frack-free ahead of a possible new round of licensing that could pave the way for much of the country to be fracked.

The Friends of the Earth group set up a swear box at Camden Lock to make it clear that they believe that ‘fracking’ is a dirty f-word that is not welcome in Camden.

The group spoke to dozens of concerned residents and passers-by who were invited to sign postcards addressed to the Leader of the council to say ‘no’ to fracking and send a message to the Government that fracking is a dirty word.

Jess Gold of Camden Friends of the Earth said:

‘Almost everybody we spoke to today said that they don’t want to see fracking – the dirty f-word – in Camden.’

‘Fracking produces more dirty fossil fuels that will cause more climate change and even the Government and the frackers admit is unlikely to lower our bills.

‘We want Camden Council to oppose fracking and we want the Government to get behind renewables and energy saving instead.’

Next year the Government’s dash for gas could quicken as it hopes to open vast swathes of the country to possible fracking with a new round of licensing. This could bring the threat of fracking to thousands more people’s doorsteps although Camden Council as the local planning authority has the power to prevent this.

The Government’s plans to punch thousands of holes across the country is at odds with public opinion. Recent polling shows that 52% of people would support wind turbines being built within 10 miles of their house compared to just 18% who would support shale wells.

Why we don’t want fracking

Fracking is a dirty word. The Government is threatening to puncture our green and pleasant land with countless fracking wells in a headlong dash for gas, with little thought to local people. Shale gas is a dirty fossil fuel that contributes to climate change, and it poses serious local environmental risks such as water contamination and shortages. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it won’t lower fuel bills, and it risks taking much-needed investment away from renewables and energy saving. For more information visit

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Hives…Honey… Homicide! Mikron Theatre at the Pirate Castle

Join us for a bee-themed evening as we welcome Mikron Theatre company to perform their new play ‘Beyond the Veil’ at the Pirate Castle, part of our summer of campaigning on the Bee Cause.

Mikron Theatre Company presents

Beyond the Veil

Sunday 7 July 2013

(Doors open 7pm)

The Pirate Castle
Oval Road, London NW1 7EA

Beyond the Veil

Description of the show:

DCI Mark Starkey thinks he’s got a quiet patch in sleepy Thistledale, but all that is about to change dramatically when there’s a sudden, unnatural death on the local allotment…
The grisly discovery down by the beehives is only the beginning for Detective Starkey. To unmask the murderer he must first uncover an altogether less savoury side of life in Thistledale; the bitter grudges, thwarted passions and murky pasts.
And then there are the bees.
The life of the honeybee might be described as one of great sweetness and harmony, punctuated by sudden, desperate, acts of violence. The same could be said for Thistledale.  Detective Starkey soon realises that the more he knows about bees, the closer he gets to the killer!

Before the play, we’ll have a short presentation on the Bee Cause campaign, and honey-based sweet treats and other refreshments will be available.

A collection will be taken after the performance.

Please share the Facebook event.

View the trailer:

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Clean Energy photo exhibition: now open!

The Clean Energy Photo Exhibition is now on display upstairs at The Forge in Camden Town until the end of June.

With photos from the Create Energy in Camden photo competition and the Friends of the Earth UK clean energy photo competition, it showcases a wide variety of beautiful images of clean energy in Camden and beyond! We hope it will inspire you.

Clean Energy Photo Exhibition, the Forge, Camden

Thanks to all who made the photo exhibition launch on Tuesday a success. We were privileged to hear the premiere of Jess Gold‘s new song, “Old to a Climate Sceptic”, and guest speakers – Ollie Hayes from Friends of the Earth Clean British Energy Campaign; Anna Ware from Camden Council; and Amy Cameron from Solar Schools – shared insights and inspiration on clean energy campaigning and action.

Congratulations to the winning photographers Daniela Romanò, Elizabeth Jameson and Alex Santacreu, voted for by guests on the night.

View photos from the launch evening – and the winning photos.

Guests at the Clean Energy Photo launch

If you know of a venue that would like to show the photos after the end of June please do let us know, we’d love to be able to show the photos as widely as possible!

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Clean Energy Photo exhibition

Camden Friends of the Earth

Invite you to the Launch and Private View of our

Clean Energy

Photographic Exhibition

featuring winning photos from the Friends of the Earth Clean British Energy
and the Create Energy in Camden! photography competitions

Tuesday 4 June 2013, 6.30 – 8pm

at The Foundry, 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden Town, NW1 7NL

Guest speakers include:
Ollie Hayes – Friends of the Earth Energy Campaigner
Anna Ware – Sustainability Manager, Camden Council
10:10 Solar Schools campaign

Join us to view some beautiful and inspirational photos of clean energy and find out more about how we can support green energy in Camden and across the UK.

We also invite everyone at the private view to vote for the winner of the Create Energy in Camden! photo competition. There will also be the premiere of Jess Gold’s new song, “An ode to a climate sceptic”.  Canapés & refreshments will be provided.

Book your free ticket

All welcome, however space at the private view is limited, please book your free ticket at to confirm your place

This event is free but donations are encouraged to help us cover costs (suggested £5).

Please also join and share the Facebook event for the exhibition.

If you can’t make it to the private view/launch event, the exhibition will be showing at the Forge for a couple of weeks following the launch – please pop by and see it when you can!

** Photo competition deadline extended**

We have extended the deadline for the Create Energy in Camden photo competition until midnight on Monday 27 May to give more people a chance to enter – if you haven’t sent your energy-themed photos in to us yet please do!

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Photography competition: Create Energy in Camden

Calling all photographers in and around Camden….Enter our photo competition and your work could be exhibited in a gallery in Camden Town!

Submit your photos on the theme of “energy“: there are two categories, for under-18s and over-18s.  Winning photos will be exhibited in our clean energy photo exhibition in Camden Town.  Please feel free to be creative with the theme!

Send your photos to Camden Friends of the Earth: by midnight Monday 27 May 2013 (please note the closing date has been extended!).

Important details:

All photos should be taken in the London Borough of Camden;

Photo should be a good enough quality to be able to be printed A4 size;

Please include a brief caption or title for your photo, where the photo was taken, your name, email and age category (under 18 or over 18 – please include date of birth if under 18);

All participants will be invited to the launch and private view of the photo exhibition in Camden Town;

All photos should be your own original work and you will retain copyright.

By sending in your photos you agree to Camden Friends of the Earth publishing your photo online and in our clean energy photo exhibition (with full credit).

Closing date midnight 27 May 2013.

Download the photo competition flyer and exhibition invite (PDF)

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Can Camden go fossil-free?

Have you signed the Fossil Free Camden petition yet?

We believe our local government has a responsibility to divest from an industry that’s destroying our future. By continuing to invest in fossil fuels (for example in pension investments), Camden Council is supporting the power, influence and activities of the fossil fuel industry.

Why are Camden investing public money in fossil fuels, while at the same time they are spending money on sustainability initiatives to combat climate change?

We would like to see Camden Council lead the way on sustainability and ensure their investments act for the public good by not investing in activities that are damaging for people and planet.

Leading cities around the world are already divesting from fossil fuels, including Seattle and San Francisco… wouldn’t it be great if Camden could lead the way in London?  Sign up to support Fossil Free Camden now and please share!

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Busy bees

Bee Cause campaigning in Covent Garden

After a spot of hibernation over winter, our Bee Cause campaign was back out in the springtime sunshine, with a campaigning day at the Melvita store in Covent Garden on Sunday 21 April.

Melvita, an organic beauty brand founded by beekeeper Bernard Chevilliat, is supporting the campaign, and their Covent Garden shop is hosting a number of Bee Cause campaign days – featuring honey-tasting and bee face painting, and asking shoppers to sign the Bee Cause petition postcards.  Our bee suits (see photo below) got a lot of interest from passers-by, and we had a lot of support for a national bee action plan – lots of postcards were signed for us to send on to David Cameron!

Busy bees campaigning in Covent Garden

Supporting a bee-friendly flower meadow in Highgate

We are also mentioned in this week’s Ham & High newspaper (18 April 2013), supporting a proposal to create a bee-friendly space in Highgate Reservoir, land owned by Thames Water.  Full text of the article is below.

Ham and High 'Haven plan to stop flight of the bumblebee'

Bee Saver Kits now available

You can now order your own bee saver kit, which includes wildflower seeds, a garden planner, a step-by-step guide on how you can save bees, and a bee identification poster.

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Volunteer vacancy: group co-ordinator

We are currently advertising the below vacancy for volunteer co-ordinator(s) of Camden Friends of the Earth.  Please get in touch if you’re interested, or come along to our next monthly meeting (Thursday 4 April).

Do you live in the borough of Camden? Are you passionate about environmental issues and do you like to work closely with a team of like-minded people? Are you looking for a challenging, interesting and fun voluntary role and do you have some spare time each week? Then you’re just what we’re looking for!

Who are we looking for?

To support our activity we are looking for a co-ordinator (or two joint co-ordinators) to keep our group and our campaigns running smoothly. We have a treasurer, outreach and local groups liaison officer, communications and social media officer, and a creative consultant but we need a Co-ordinator to help keep us on track with our regular meetings and annual goals. You would also receive ongoing advice, training and support from a member of staff at national Friends of the Earth. Please note that you will need to live in or near the borough of Camden.

Key responsibilities:

  • Organising and attending monthly meetings
  • Promoting communication and planning, and helping to create a group environment that is inclusive and rewarding.
  • Welcoming new members to the group and making sure the group’s interests are reflected in campaigning activities
  • Keeping the group updated with key activities and actions.
  • Acting as a contact for the group with Friends of the Earth HQ.
  • Ensuring the group has goals and stays focused on them.
  • Supporting other members of the group in their roles.
  • Assisting the group in developing campaigns – both national and local.

Key skills or requirements:

  • Organised
  • Reliable
  • Motivated and enthusiastic
  • Good at delegating
  • Friendly, open and approachable
  • Good at communicating (phone, in person, by letter or email)
  • IT literate to a basic level – using internet, email, word processing
  • Supportive of the Friends of the Earth agenda, and generally aware and concerned about environmental issues
  • An ability to dedicate time on some evenings and weekends

It is an unpaid post, but agreed expenses relating to work for the group will be refunded.

If you’re interested in applying, please email and come along to our next monthly meeting (details on the contact us page).

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Cycling and the canal

You may have read our letter on cycling and the canal that was published in the Camden New Journal (10 January 2013).  This is something we’re currently working with other Friends of the Earth groups in north London as well as other local groups, including the Canal and River Trust.  The text of our letter as published is below.  Interested? Please do get in touch.

Following a recent report on the Canal & River Trust’s campaign encouraging commuting cyclists to move off the canal, we at Camden Friends of the Earth would strongly encourage residents of Camden to get behind the campaign and ask the council to make improvements to the cycling infrastructure to support this.

Many cyclists use the canal as part of an east-west commute because the alternative routes are much more difficult to navigate.

They involve crossing major junctions, cycling along busy roads full of traffic fumes and reaching the end of apparently useful cycle lanes without any indication of where to go next.

Relatively simple improvements to the cycling infrastructure will dramatically improve the ability to commute through Camden without travelling along the canal, leaving the towpath to pedestrians and more leisurely travel.

As Camden Friends of the Earth we are working on a full list of improvements – do get in touch with us on if you want to get involved.

Natasha Clayton

Camden Friends of the Earth

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Jobs and action on climate change

We are co-signatories of a letter in this week’s Camden New Journal, we’re supporting SHIFT in Camden and joining a broad coalition of local groups campaigning for jobs and action on climate change.

WE would like to invite readers to take part in setting up a new campaign for jobs and action against climate change, and to take part in a new Camden wing of the SHIFT movement.

SHIFT held its first event last Saturday in Camden Town Hall.

As many of your readers will know, the accepted view among climate scientists is that the world is heading towards a climate catastrophe.

If we don’t act soon to change our course we can expect hunger on a huge scale, flooding of cities, and destruction of low-lying agricultural land close to the sea, as well as inevitable mass migration and conflict. We are already beginning to see the impacts whether through high food prices or increasingly extreme weather patterns.

At the same time we are in the middle of an economic crisis which involves not just a short-term downturn but a longer-term decline in the UK economy.

The banking crisis has shown that the City of London and the wider financial services sector is not the solution to this. Meanwhile the government continues with its counter- productive policy of slash and burn.

At the moment, all eyes are focused on getting us out of this crisis and opposing austerity.

The large political parties – left and right – don’t see any votes in addressing climate change, and no reason to shake us out of our complacency in that respect. So we cruise on with our heads down, though now at a slightly slower speed.

The SHIFT movement is about changing course. It’s about developing broad-based, local-level, coalitions that ask for action, and take action themselves, to counter austerity and invest in jobs and renew our economy along different lines. The movement is about creating an economy that is stronger and more resilient; and an economy that works not only for us but for our children and grandchildren, and poorer folks in this country and abroad.

On Saturday social enterprise directors and Transition Groups led discussions about setting up new local industries: from a bigger renewable sector including small scale anaerobic digestion plants and community solar PV schemes, to a new sector focused on repair.

Keith Sonnet, until recently the deputy general secretary of the trade union Unison, and Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of the PCS trade union, both spoke about the need to invest massively in climate-related jobs.

Move your Money and UK Uncut talked about putting pressure on councils and other bodies to invest in a sustainable economy and ethical corporations. George Barda, Occupy, talked about protest and direct action. Crossroads Women’s Centre spoke about action by women across the world. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett explained her vision of an economy that was needed for a fair, just, peaceful, society.

The Campaign against Climate Change trade union group led discussions about their million climate jobs campaign. Charles Secrett, co-founder Green New Deal Group talked about the huge potential of the green economy and tax reform, and building a wide coalition that makes it clear to politicians that just coasting on will win them no votes.

The event last Saturday was an inspiring day showing that through many different groups all working together we can create a different sort of economy and a brighter future for all. This coalition has been inspired by similar events in other parts of the country, led by the Alliance for Jobs and Climate.

This meeting was a beginning and will lead to something more, so if you would like to take part, please email

Sara Ayech, Transition Dartmouth Park
Susan Poupard, Camden Friends of the Earth
Cllr Maya de Souza, Camden Green Party
George Barda, Occupy
Peter Robinson, SHIFT
Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, founder of Earth Charter UK
Keith Sonnet, ex-Unison deputy general secretary
Charles Secrett, co-founder Green New Deal Group

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