7:30 pm Wed 2nd Sep – Via Zoom
Draft Minutes for first Annual General Meeting held at 7:30 pm on 2nd September 2020
The meeting was held virtually by video conference. There were 19 attendees in total.
The chair reported that from an initial list of potential projects, five had been taken forward:
- Improving cycling and footpaths
- Lobbying for new houses to be more sustainable
- Starting a recycle facility for items that are harder to recycle
- Setting up a refill facility
The last of these can be considered completed with regular visits by The Hive to the Village Hall. Progress has been made on all of the other projects but they are ongoing.
Progress was made due to the actions of Sustainable Harwell members and the chair expressed thanks for the time and effort put in by a number of people.
Proposals for future work where put forward by the chair for discussion, as follows:
- The chair stated that is was important to focus on action and continue to make a real difference to Harwell and the surrounding areas. The existing projects provide a significant opportunity to accomplish this and it was suggested that we monitor the progress of each project and continue to take stock, being prepared to halt a project once it had accomplished all that we could.
The meeting agreed with this statement and proposal.
- Sustainable Harwell has been acting as a source of information about key sustainability topics. It was suggested that we continue inviting speakers for meetings and also increase the number of links to other sources of information.The meeting agreed that we should continue to invite speakers. There was some discussion around offering payment to attract more speakers but this would require considerably more funds. The meeting felt that we should try to attract speakers who would be free or only expect expenses to be paid. This can be reviewed in future.
After some discussion about the benefit of providing links to other organisations, it was agreed that this was a useful thing to do as long as they showed why and how it was relevant to Harwell.
There was also discussion of how members would be made aware of new links. It was agreed that emailing updates for new links would be useful. There was also discussion of automatic alerts that can be investigated if we have the resources to do so
- One idea for future focus was to provide information, and perhaps some for of facilitation, for retrofitting energy efficiency to existing houses. Sustainable Harwell would not recommend products or services but would help people to understand the options and take action.
It was agreed that retrofitting was important for Harwell residents in older properties but that there was already a lot of information available. It was felt that it was important to keep the focus narrow. One way of taking this forward would be to undertake a survey of heat loss using an infrared camera along similar lines to a project run in Blewbury some years ago. This could be followed up with more specific guidance on the type of actions that different types of house might take to improve energy efficiency.
- It was proposed that Sustainable Harwell should provide more information on the actions needed to become a ‘net-zero carbon society’.
There was some debate about whether this was too wide a topic but it was agreed that it should be pursued with the proviso that is is kept relevant to Harwell. There may be funding available for actions to become net-zero and one member offered to filter information on funding through to the committee.
- With the UK government and many local councils having declared a climate emergency, it was proposed that Sustainable Harwell ask the Parish Council to declare a climate emergency at its forthcoming Annual General Meeting.
It was pointed out that the Parish Council already had a sustainability policy and if this were followed, it would produce many of the actions that would be required to respond to a climate emergency.
The meeting agreed that we should propose that the council adopt a motion along the following lines:
Recognising the impact of climate change, and the need to move urgently to a zero carbon economy, this meeting asks the Parish Council to declare a Climate Emergency and to ensure that all their future activities are governed by the need to meet national and local targets for carbon reduction, and this meeting also asks that the Parish Council takes the lead, and works with other bodies such as Sustainable Harwell, to help promote a zero carbon economy within the parish.
The officers were asked to send proposal to the Parish Council as soon as possible after the meeting.
It was also agreed that we should ask Harwell Parish Council to report on progress against its sustainability policy at its Annual General Meeting.
The meeting thanked the chair for all his work this year.
The treasurer presented the accounts here. Sustainable Harwell is a low-cost organisation to run and donations had covered the costs of hiring the Village Hall and left a small surplus. We will review the need for increasing income if circumstances change.
Election of officers
Sustainable Harwell has a Chair, a Treasurer and a Secretary. These posts were all up for re-election and it was suggested that other posts could also be created if the members felt is was appropriate.
The current officers were all willing to stand again and no new candidates came forward. Re-election of the existing officers was proposed by Barbara Jackson and seconded by David Muir. The following officers were elected unanimously:
Chair – Giles Barwell
Treasurer – David Marsh
Secretary – Martin Gibson
It was suggested that Sally Povolotsky might also be a general group officer. However, she is not a Harwell resident and so agreed continue to support Sustainable Harwell as an ordinary member.
Any Other Business
It was suggested that Sustainable Harwell should promote Clean Air Day on 8th October. This was agreed.
Sally Povolotsky asked if any members would help to monitor air quality using some new sensors. Many members showed and interest and this will go forward
The Annual General meeting closed at 8:25 pm. It was followed by an ordinary meeting of members to review progress on projects.