May 2023

Dear Transitioners

We had a good Members’ Meeting in May and have some requests to share with you all.  A couple of quickies for starters:-

  • Raffle tickets are now available for you to buy/sell – £1 each in books of five – prizes £250, £150, £75 – much needed to boost our general fund which is running low mainly because of the huge increase in our insurance costs – so please let us know how many tickets you would like for yourself and to sell to your friends
  • Wye July – Sunday 9 July, 11 till 3:  We will have a stall with plants to sell or swap.  Everything is growing like crazy at the moment.  Rather than composting your surplus, please could you pot it up for this event.  Offers of help on the day would also be much appreciated

The main reason for this newsletter is a talk we had from Philip Jenkinson on Community Owned Low Carbon Heating Schemes.  Philip has a background in engineering in the energy industry and suggested it might be worth investigating the possibility of such a scheme in Monmouth.  Please let me know if you would like to join a Working Group to investigate this further – local knowledge is more important than technical!  Philip has summarised as follows:-

Although progress is being made on developing a low carbon economy in the UK, this development has to date been focused centrally on major corporations, in my view with little benefit at the community level.  Significant strides have been made to reduce the carbon intensity of grid electricity;  however, due to technical peculiarities the provision of decarbonised heat has lagged behind.  This has left, and will continue to leave, the public heavily exposed to volatile fossil fuel markets which are likely to undergo considerable upheaval and added volatility throughout global decarbonisation efforts.

There is a significant opportunity to promote community cohesion, prosperity and resilience through community led energy independence and decarbonisation projects.  Such schemes have the potential to free our community from volatile fossil fuel driven energy markets, allowing us to actively participate in our transition to a low carbon economy, sharing in the benefits of such a transition both societally and economically. 

I am proposing that community groups within Monmouth act to identify and progress low carbon heat and electricity provision projects which are owned and operated by the community for the benefit of the community.  Economic benefits should be shared by owners of such schemes either by benefitting from reduced heating and electricity costs or these savings should be pooled and the proceeds utilised by the community to further their prosperity through investment in other public schemes.  A hybrid approach could be adopted;  the legal form of this will be determined by consultation with stakeholders. 

Such schemes are in line with commitments made in the 2019 MCC Climate Emergency Action Plan.

Although efforts are now being made to accelerate the decarbonisation of domestic heating, the options to do so effectively are limited and the nature of the problem would require monumental change in the existing energy system.  Although this may be delivered over the long term by:-

  • national roll out of domestic heat pumps – notwithstanding their significant technical challenges due to low heat grade and major electrification requirement, or
  • replacement of natural gas within the national distribution network with hydrogen – again fraught with technical challenges and requiring massive electrification using renewable energy sources if it is to be environmentally beneficial;  this is likely to take a number of decades before filtering to domestic settings effectively

Even if the aim of decarbonising grid distributed heat is achieved, it will come with significant cost to consumers and leave communities at the continued mercy of major corporations, very similar to the existing system.  It is my view that this has a significant negative impact on community cohesion by stripping the populace of their licence to act in concert to the betterment of the community and the environment. 

A range of technologies can be utilised by such schemes including these include solar  thermal, solar PV, biomass heating/CHP (using fuels which provide environmental benefit only and limit pollution), wind, heat pumps, hydrogen etc.  The selection of applicable technology will be merit based and case specific, requiring a full analysis for each project.  Chosen technologies should be:-

  • technically capable of achieving the required quality of heat or electricity
  • should be environmentally superior to continued natural gas use
  • must minimise both direct and indirect carbon impacts
  • should provide economic advantages over existing and future heat provision by the ‘grid’ and
  • be feasible for use in community ownership energy schemes both economically and in application

Much of this chimes well with the Transition Monmouth mission to tackle, through community engagement, the causes of and issues created by climate change.  As such I would like to work with the group, and other established community groups in Monmouth to push such a proposal toward realisation.

The next steps, should this be of interest, are to frame the explicit goals of any such project/projects, define the limits of ambition for such schemes and identify first potential projects for more detailed techno commercial assessment of applicable technologies such that a project cost, impact and return can be defined.

May 2023

Dear Transitioners

We are much enjoying working with Mike and Nick on our new project, Friends of the Lower Wye, starting with funding for their testing kits, Wye July and other events – and we are delighted that we have already been successful in securing some initial funding for them – thank you, Monmouth Town Council!

The pollution in the Wye as it passes through Monmouth is at shocking levels – around 21% from sewage, and 74% from agriculture.  There is much to do, starting with:-

A symposium ‘Working Together – Saving the Wye’:  19 May, 6.30 to 10pm at Bridges:  Friends of the Lower Wye bringing together Natural Resources Wales,  the Environment Agency and River Action, the event will be chaired by the BBC investigative reporter Nicola Goodwin to answer the following:-

  • What their body does and who do they answer to?
  • Plans going forward for the short, medium and long term – 2023, five years and ten years?
  • Cross border working relationships now and in five years
  • How do they view citizen science and the results obtained?
  • How can the general public help you to achieve your goals?

Book your ticket at if you would like to attend (all welcome, no charge)

Visit to Regen Ben:  16 June:  Details in due course but if you would like to attend send your expression of interest to  You might like to read his fascinating story at

Wye July:  9 July:  Entertainment, information and fun on Chippenham Field with exhibits from clubs, groups and organisations that have a connection to the river, a procession with the Algae Monster and many other attractions – more details soon

Now a request.  While we are usually able to secure funding for our various projects, we have to cover our running costs with fundraising events and, inevitably, costs have escalated, in particular our insurance which has doubled this year.  So – we will be selling raffle tickets and we hope that you can all help with selling them to your friends and family – £1 each in books of five – please let me know how many you would like.  Monmouth Rotary very kindly do all the work and pay the raffle prizes, so we get 100% of the proceeds – thank you, Monmouth Rotary!

Join us and hear all about it from the comfort of your armchair, along with local community heating schemes, the various events in the coming months, and take the opportunity to have your say on any issues you would like to raise at our Members’ Meeting next Tuesday, 16 May at 7.30 pm:-

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 349 625 828 842
Passcode: SK6cds

Download Teams | Join on the web

We look forward to seeing you!

April 2023

Dear Transitioners

Mike Dunsbee and Nick Day have done a wonderful job over the past two years in setting up Friends of the Lower Wye, a stretch of the river that extends from the Lugg to Chepstow.  They have numerous testing sites along its length, collaborate with other groups as well as the agencies – NRW, Welsh Water and the Environment Agency, and the Councils – and raise awareness at numerous events.  Brilliant!  We have been in discussion with them on how they can best proceed and both parties decided that they would benefit from formally becoming a Transition Monmouth project.  We are delighted, extend a warm welcome and look forward to exciting times ahead!

For the latest on Friends of the Lower Wye, visit their Facebook page and/or email to receive their very informative newsletter.

Come and hear more about this at our next Members’ Meeting – this coming Tuesday, 11 April at 7.30.  Also on the agenda – see below – will be updates on our Green Grow/Green Spaces projects, discussion of future events and anything else you would like to talk about:-

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device – CTRL + Click to follow link

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 356 821 613 376
Passcode: xzvu6C

A few more dates for your diaries:-

The Big One:  Friday 21 April to Monday 24 April at Parliament Square:Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, XR and other organisations will be joining forces to put as much pressure as possible on the Government to take the climate and ecological emergency seriously – further information on for the family friendly, accessible, creative, engaging and welcoming event awash with colour and culture, and a diverse programme of speakers, performers and workshops.  A coach is being organised from Abergavenny on Saturday 22 April;  please contact me for details.

Hydrogen Powered Life:  Prof Averil Macdonald – Monday 24 April, 7pm at Bridges – an ACE Monmouth event – all welcome!

MCC Climate Community Champions:  10 till 12 Wednesday 10 May:  This is an opportunity for you to participate in discussion about the climate emergency with groups around the county and with MCC Officers.  Please contact if you would like to attend

Energy Savings in the Home:  Tuesday 16 May, 2.30pm at Bridges – a U3A event but non-members welcome for a small charge

Working Together – Saving the Wye:  Friends of the Lower Wye – Friday 19 May, 7pm at

Bridges – participants to include both the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales

Wye July:  Sunday 9 July, on Chippenham Fields with exhibits from clubs, groups and organisations that have a connection to the river, a procession with the Algae Monster and many other attractions

Lots of interesting stuff to save our precious planet – we look forward to seeing you!

Vivien Mitchell

Agenda:  Members’ Meeting – via Teams

Tuesday 11 April, 7.30pm


Apologies for absence

Note taker

Notes of the March meeting (copied below) and matters arising

Friends of the Lower Wye:  Welcome – and plans for the future

Treasurer’s Report

Green Grow/Green Spaces:

  • Admin
  • Peter Morgan Community Orchard


  • The Big One:  21 to 24 April –
  • Hydrogen Powered Life:  7pm on Monday 24 April at Bridges – an ACE Monmouth Event with Prof Averil Macdonald
  • MCC Climate Community Champions:  10 till 12 Wednesday 10 May
  • Energy Savings in the Home:  2.30 on Tuesday 16 May at Bridges – a U3A event
  • Working Together – Saving the Wye:  Friends of the Lower Wye’ 6.30 to 10pm, Friday 19 May at Bridges – a rare occasion with both the Environment Agency and NRW on the platform
  • Orchard tree pruning:  July – date to be notified
  • Wye July:  Sunday 9 July
  • Other events


Any Other Business

Transitioning out of winter

Dear Transitioners

Surely this cold winter will end?  In the belief that it will, our minds are turning to our green spaces.  These have been a core Transition Monmouth activity starting in September 2009 with our, now nicely maturing, community orchard on Two River Meadow.  We have also planted woodland areas and hedges, and developed wildflower areas, pollinator gardens and community gardens.  These are all on public land with much of the maintenance undertaken by Nigel Leaworthy’s marvellous MCC green spaces team.

But – an eye still needs to be kept on their development and a bit of work undertaken on, for example, the No Dig community garden at Monmouth Comprehensive School, and I am getting too old and frail to continue to do this so – this is an appeal for someone to take over, please.  The various areas are well documented and I will of course help in any way I can, particularly admin.  Please let me know if you are interested in taking this on or would like more information – or phone 01600 715065.

We have our Members’ Meetingthis coming Tuesday, 14 March at 7.30 via Microsoft Teams to discuss Green Grow/Green Spaces, Friends of the Lower Wye, the website, future events, and anything else that you would like to talk about.  Please come and have your say:-

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device – CTRL + Click to follow link

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 386 880 605 451 – Passcode: fZj8kP

Before that we have our big annual pruning event – at our Community Orchard on Two River Meadow – Sunday 12 March from 2pm to 4pm – under the expert guidance and tuition of Helena Ronicle.  All welcome.  Please bring what pruning tools you have, including small hand saws but no steps or ladders.  And there will, of course, be cake!

A few more dates for your diaries:-

Saving the Rainforests – Monmouth’s Response:  Nicky James from Size of Wales – Thursday 30 March, 7pm at Bridges – an ACE Monmouth event – all welcome!

Waste – What Waste? – a community event about rubbish – sustainable fashion, seed swap, repair café etc – Saturday 1 April, 11am till 3pm at Llangrove Village Hall

Hydrogen Powered Life:  Prof Averil Macdonald – Monday 24 April, 7pm at Bridges – an ACE Monmouth event – all welcome!

Energy Savings in the Home:  Tuesday 16 May, 2.30pm at Bridges – a U3A event but non-members welcome for a small charge

Working Together – Saving the Wye:  Friends of the Lower Wye – Friday 19 May, 7pm at Bridges – participants to include both the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales

Lots of interesting stuff to save our precious planet – we look forward to seeing you!

Vivien Mitchell

January 2023

Dear Transitioners

As good as it is to have a break – hope you all had a good one over the Christmas period – it’s also reassuring to get back into harness and meet our Transition friends again. Our Community Fridge with its wonderful volunteers operated throughout (apart from the days the supermarkets were closed) and now Benthyg has reopened – every Friday and Monday from 1pm to 2pm, the next Repair Café will be held on Sunday 15 January from 2pm until 4.30, and our first Seed/Plant Swap will be held on Saturday 25 February, 10am at Bridges.
So yes – seeds, plants, organic vegetables, refurbished tools and more. Please bring along your surplus. You can also get your tools resharpened, and Tools for Self Reliance Cymru is always grateful for donations of unwanted tools for refurbishing – any tools – manual sewing machines are particularly valuable for sending to Africa where they provide a living to a family, but all sewing machines are very welcome and are put to good use. And yes, of course there will be refreshments!

Benthyg continues to expand with new items added regularly to the Library, and we are particularly delighted to announce that Baby Benthyg has been launched. Cloth nappy trial kits are now available – borrow sample kits and see how you get on with them before investing. Toys and other baby kit will be added shortly – keep an eye on the Benthyg Monmouth Facebook page.

But first we have our Members’ Meeting – this coming Tuesday, 10 January at 7.30 via Zoom.
Please come and have your say about our activities:-
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 848 8381 4127
Passcode: Transition

We will look forward to seeing you!
Vivien Mitchell

AGENDA:  Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting – 7.30 on Tuesday 10 January 2023 via Zoom

Apologies for absence
Note taker

Notes of the last meeting (copied below) and matters arising
 Seed/Plant/Tools/Books Swap – Saturday 25 February, 10am at Bridges
 Others
Pollution in the Wye and Usk
Green Spaces:
 Peter Morgan Community Orchard, Redbrook Road
 Monmouth Comprehensive School
 Welsh Government trees
Plastic Free Monmouth
Monmouth Community Fridge
Benthyg Monmouth
Any other business
Date of next meeting

NOTES:  Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting – 13 December 2022 at 7.30 via Zoom

Present: Bryan Miller, Claudia Blair, Waltraud Engelfield, Vivien Mitchell, Charles Emes, Haydn Cullen-
Jones, Steve Garratt, Mary Boase, Charles Boase, Jem Jenkins-Jones, Martin Sweeney, Angela Jones
Apologies: Kelly Jackson-Graham, Catherine Haynes
Note taker: Vivien Mitchell
Pollution in the Wye and Usk: Continuing the discussion started at our last meeting by Martin Sweeney,
Angela Jones told us about the work that she was doing. 90% is environmental campaigning raising
awareness but she is struggling. In the past 12 months she has given 22 talks, had hundreds of leaflets
printed and distributed, produced artwork for schools and given numerous interviews. On the Usk she has
trained 40 volunteers and paid for the testing kits. It is gratifying to note that NRW has done a U-turn – in
its latest report it acknowledges that poultry units are a major cause of river pollution. However she feels
everyone wants a piece of her, and her business has suffered. She has also spent around £7,500 of her
own money in the past six months on her campaigning.
Bryan asked how we could help her. Steve Garratt said he would talk to Catherine Fookes and Catrin Maby.
Angela undertook to put together a list of her expenditure; TM could then try to apply for funding so she
could continue her work. She said she also needed help with admin; given an appropriate paragraph, we
agreed that we would advertise for her.
It was noted that the Symposium held on 25 November was extremely well attended; there are plans to
continue such discussions
Matters arising from notes of our last meeting:-
Orchard Management Plan: Bryan undertook to get a date from Helena Ronicle for a meeting – action:

ACE Christmas Gathering: Members were encouraged to attend
Peter Morgan Community Orchard: Haydn reported on progress and plans:-
 Conveyancing: Our solicitor is investigating a post on the Land Registry from John Bratton dated 27 October 2022. Graham is chasing his solicitor to find out why he was not informed and what it says. Hopefully this is the final hurdle
 Fencing: The contractor is standing by. He will clear one metre swathe once the final position is agreed
 Peter Crossley has been approached to quote for a shelter as part of an AONB funding bid. This might
also include a bench inserted in the fence
 A meeting with Helena Ronicle, Emma Bryn and Bryan is need to finalise the planting plan and advise
Mark Cleaver (MCC) of delivery date
 A plan of the fence, path, shelter and bench positions needs to be agreed; also location of litter bins,
information boards etc
Overmonnow Primary School: Martin asked members to note that this will be the location for a new
Welsh School
Unwanted WG trees: We have not heard what will happen to these. Action: Vivien to ask Clare Catto
how the scheme works and what is happening to surplus trees. Maybe we need to organise something
Any other business
Bryan has not been able to successfully link in with Joe Skidmore in order to register for the MCC Community
Account but undertook to sort something for the next meeting.
Date of next meeting: Tuesday 10 January 2023 – whatever happened to 2022?