Speen Environmental Action Group (SEAG)

Welcome to the SEAG page.  Our group began during the summer of 2019 in response to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.  Our aim is to raise awareness of climate breakdown and species extinction, to learn together and find ways to mitigate the problems as individuals and as a community. 

We live in a beautiful part of the world and sometimes it is difficult to comprehend the awful things that are happening to our planet and to understand the ways in which our lives may have contributed to this.  We look to find positive ways of enhancing, protecting and sustaining our environment and all the forms of life within it.  We invite everyone in Speen and the surrounding area to join us, as many already have, as we embark on exciting projects, events and campaigns.

We hope you will enjoy reading some articles each month about climate change, biodiversity and the group’s forthcoming events.  Please join us with your ideas and be part of something amazing in your local area.

The SEAG Committee are hoping that as 2021 develops we will be able to tackle some bigger projects together and continue publishing helpful information and advice. We are currently looking for new Committee members if you would be interested in discussing this with us; and any other comments and ideas please send them to us.  Please also talk to friends and family as we all take these essential steps to a net zero carbon future together.
April 2021: New tennis ball recycling scheme started in the village.

Used tennis ball recycling with recycaball.blogspot.com. They buy used balls to re-pressurise for reuse.  
The balls need to be clean and not too threadbare or weather worn. Please note, ‘dog balls’ are not able to be recycled with this scheme. There is a bin on Speen Tennis court, adjacent to the bench, into which you are invited to place any tennis balls that you no longer use. Balls can also be given to Mandy How, 1 Mynthurst View, Hampden Rd, Speen.

Update March 2021: It is now over a year since we held our first public meeting and despite the pandemic and restrictions, we have continued to meet virtually and work at those aspects of environmental concern that the people at our general meeting highlighted. We have supported many environmental petitions nationwide and shared these with our mailing list to encourage government to put Climate Change at the top of their agenda. Our Veg Patch Pals initiative will be up and running again this year and sharing not only seeds and equipment but also advice and knowhow. (contact Monica Dent 07511733199).

Our wildflower meadow at Ridgley’s Field will be blooming soon, all being well, and we encourage everyone to take part in the No Mow May campaign to support pollinators in our gardens.

Over the Spring and Summer look out for our campaign to help us all reduce our carbon emissions at home and as we travel around. Check out your own Carbon footprint on the WWF website. https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/#/

Any comments, thoughts and ideas or to join our mailing list please email seag@btinternet.com.

Bucks County Council released their Climate Change Strategy last week. You can access it at https://buckinghamshire.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=337&MId=337&Ver=4 

SEAG is affiliated to Bucks Climate Action Alliance. Please access the website: https://bucksclimateactionalliance.org Here you can see a considered response to this strategy and the work of a wide variety of groups around Buckinghamshire.

Home Energy

One the biggest changes you can make to help reduce your personal carbon footprint is through switching home energy source. On the attached webpage, Home Energy, we have reviewed the various options on the market and provided a comprehensive overview with links to relevant websites and information sources.
Please read the attached article about changing Electricity suppliers v4

Local Environment

We are also very concerned about the destruction of beautiful and ecologically important ancient woodland in our local area by HS2 enabling works. Please support the protestors at Jones’s Hill Wood (address: Jones’ Hill Farm,  Aylesbury Vale, HP226PT ) as they try to protect the ancient woodland that was the inspiration for Roald Dahl’s  ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’.   HS2 do not seem to have the correct licenses to go ahead destroying trees and wildlife habitats in this area but have forceable evicted protestors in preparation for felling the trees.  You can support and find out more at: https://www.facebook.com/WARCampHS2/  or Save Jones Hill Wood Facebook Group

www.standforthetrees.org or www.gofundme.com/f/save-roald-dahl-woods-support-fund

This is on our doorstep and we are likely to see even more disruption associated with HS2 over the next few years. The recent high profile High Court ruling to suspend work at Jones Hill Wood, brought about by the hard work and dedication of the protestors, demonstrates that you can make a difference if you really want to. 

The Way Forward after Coronovirus

Coronavirus has affected us all, some much more than others and there is no doubt that life will be different in many ways in the future. Just how this new life will develop depends on whether we take this opportunity to reflect on the benefits accrued from a calmer, quieter world. It may help initially to consider what has contributed to this pandemic.

Scientists are still investigating how this virus started and there is rising demand for a full international enquiry to establish the facts. However, there are some facts which are well known and have been in the public domain for a long time. This coronavirus is one of a number of zoonotic viruses which have developed in response to the way humans interact with the natural world. It is thought that the virus may have developed as a result of cross contamination in the wet markets of Wuhan, China. The way we keep, slaughter and consume animals across the world has caused similar diseases. Also, we know that deforestation, increased global temperature and climate change are playing their part alongside fast-moving global travel and economic structures.

It is important to see the connections between this pandemic, climate change and devastation of the natural world. They are all interconnected.

Scientists have been warning us about the threat of climate change and bio-diversity loss. They say that the next ten years will be critical in working to keep global temperatures below a 1.5 degree increase and prevent hundreds of plants and animals becoming extinct. Yet no country on earth is currently pursuing necessary policies to prevent terrible consequences in the future. We could be heading for temperature rises in the region of three degrees with all the attendant threats to life on earth.

But we have to have hope now and for the future. Every day we hear stories of the way communities including our own have come together to lend help, guidance and comfort at such a difficult time. As we have been coming out to clap on Thursday evenings, we have been saluting the amazing people who work in the NHS, care homes and all the other essential services. Their work has never been so essential or appreciated. We have shown just how we can come together and work together. It proves that we have amazing abilities to do good, to create, invent and care.

At the same time the government have put huge sums of money to help businesses and individuals which would have seemed unthinkable in the past. Out of this awful situation we can salvage real hope for a better future. We have shown that significant change is possible – that we can make a better future, a better normal. We can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we can work from home, drive less, share more, give more, take better care of nature and animals instead of exploiting them for profit and cheap produce.

Every part of life has been affected by this pandemic and it seems as if life will be very different for ever and it is now up to us to make this different as good as possible.

SEAG is interested to know from you what you have appreciated over the last few months and how these good things could be adapted and continue into the future. We have included some websites to visit to read more about this subject and welcome your ideas.



It has been suggested that we should all take up more of a plant- based diet and so we include on our page below some easy but very tasty recipes for Speen folk to enjoy. Happy cooking.

May 2020 update: as we continue to strive to overcome this pandemic and cope with the tragedies that have unfolded, we will hopefully soon be able to make some tentative steps towards life beyond lockdown.  Many of us have recognised the positive effects of this quieter world.  What aspects have you appreciated and how could we embrace these changes for the sake of our environment, our young people and a sustainable future?  This is an excellent BBC article (below) that may inspire some thoughts, and  SEAG is very interested to hear your ideas.


Group Coordinator 
Jane Farley
(jane.farley2@btinternet.com 01494 488749)

Protect and Restore Nature Projects
Jeni Fairey (jeni.fairey@googlemail.com 01494 488930) 
Naomi Rogers (naomi_proudlove@yahoo.co.uk 01494 488501)

Boost our local biodiversity and take part in Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts simple survey:

  1. Simply leave your mower in the shed for No Mow May and let the flowers grow.
  2. From 23rd May to 31st May take part in Every Flower Counts by counting the number of flowers in a random square metre of your lawn. The animation here shows what to do.
  3. Enter your counts on the website and instantly receive your very own Personal Nectar Score, showing how much nectar is being produced by the flowers on your lawn and how many bees it can support.

Read more about how to boost biodiversity on your lawn – 

Plantlife: No Mow May: how to get ten times more bees on your lockdown lawn Gardens Illustrated: https://www.gardensillustrated.com/feature/lawn-mowing-when-flowers-may/

Grow Your Own Projects (Veg Patch Pals/Community Allotment)  
Monica Dent (monicaanndent@gmail.com 01494 488943)  
Kate Slade (kateslade61@icloud.com 01494 488262)

Please get involved in our ‘Veg Patch Pals’ project:
1. If you have any surplus seeds/seedlings/plants or other grow your own (GYO) items (eg plant pots/containers/compost) that you are willing to share, exchange or sell, please leave these outside your property for others to collect. Feel free to use this poster VEG PATCH PALS.

2. If you don’t have any suitable containers for growing seeds/plants but would like to have a go, try using plastic containers from your recycling bin (remember to prick drainage holes in the bottom if not already there). 

July 2020 update:

3. A WhatsApp group is now up and running for everyone interested in sharing/seeking information about fruit and veg growing. If you’d like to join the group, please contact Monica or Kate.

4. Information sharing sessions – we’ve held two so far this summer in different gardens, following Covid-19 guidance on numbers and social distancing. The first session involved making the most of your compost heap, the second focused on cuttings and hot compost bins.  


Home Energy Projects
Jo Podmore (jojpodmore@gmail.com)
Mei Price (meilian.wan@gmail.com)

Jeni Fairey (jeni.fairey@googlemail.com 01494 488930)

March 2021: Changing Your Electricity Supplier
March 2021: Pond tidyup by Elsie Rogers
March 2021: The benefits of having a pond
December 2020: Ethical gifting
June 2020  4 Initiatives
April 2020  Don’t mow let it grow
April 2020 SEAG Grow Your Own Projects_Veg Patch Pals April 2020
March 2020 Our Beautiful Planet Writing Competition
February 2020 Public Meeting February 2020
November 2019 I’m Dreaming of a Greener Christmas

January 2021:  *** initial pond clear up has taken place ***

The Studridge Pond is a great asset to our village: environmental authorities continually cite having a pond as the single most useful promoter of ecological biodiversity, and it’s also a great way to educate young generations about the natural world and the cycle of life. Sadly our village pond has become very overgrown and it is 4-5 years since it was last maintained in any constructive way. We were unable to fulfil the proposed more extensive clear up due to the raised water levels before Christmas, however a small team managed to carry out an initial tidy up in January and we hope this will be enough to encourage the return of the frogs and duck to the pond.
The Council, who are ultimately responsible for the pond, has granted us approval to maintain the pond and we hope this will become part of an annual pond clean up so that the pond does not return to an overgrown state, but instead becomes an active, rich habitat supporting a wide range of pond and birdlife. In the Spring we hope to arrange a pond dipping activity for children, and keep the village informed and updated on what’s going on at the pond to encourage you all to come by and enjoy the fruits of our collective labour.


Give a gift and benefit the planet and wildlife at the same time

The more immediate threat of Covid has out shadowed the Climate Crisis, but this is still a very real and pressing issue. If, at this festive time, you are counting your blessings and wishing to do something charitable for the environment there are a
huge amount of charities which are doing a variety of things to help the planet. SEAG has compiled a list of some of our favourites:
– Adopt an endangered animal via WWF. www.support.wwf.org/adopt/animal
– Rescue the rainforest via the Worldland trust. https://www.worldlandtrust.org/
– Buy someone wildflower seeds or a native tree
– Send an e-card via a charity to save paper and make a donation.
– Buy a subscription to the BucksBedsOxon Wildlife Trust magazine for a child www.bbowt.org.uk
– Or even just donate to a trusted charity to help fund the Climate Crisis fight:

November 2020:

Despite everything that is going on nationally the Climate Crisis continues apace and there has been some significant news recently. 
Locally, our own Bucks County Council announced last Thursday that it will be delaying producing its Climate Change strategy and the public consultation due to go along with it.  There was no date given for it in the future either.  SEAG has joined other local organisations in a group called Bucks Climate Action Alliance to try to encourage our council to make a greater effort in this area and because of this disappointing news we have written to the Leader of the Council, Martin Tett.  A copy of the letter is attached below and it will also be published in local newspapers.  This is a time for us all to respond if we feel able and write a private letter to Martin Tett or our own councillor, Cll. Carl Etholen. Carl.Etholen@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Open letter to Cllr. Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council
In July, Buckinghamshire Council, under your leadership, committed to taking meaningful action on climate change, and to produce a Strategy and Action Plan by February 2021.
At a council committee meeting on November 12, the results of a survey of Bucks residents were published, showing that 95% were concerned or very concerned about climate change.
Yet at that same meeting, one of your Cabinet team announced a surprise delay in the production of the promised Strategy, and a planned public consultation on a draft was pulled at the last minute. No proper explanation was given for the delay, no indication of a revised timetable, and no summary of the emerging thinking.
We recognise that producing and implementing a comprehensive strategy is not a quick or easy task, and we remain ever ready to work constructively with you to help achieve this.
But where is the necessary sense of urgency and purpose? And where is the evidence of actions being taken now to address the climate emergency, actions that do not need and cannot wait for a “perfect” Strategy to arrive?
The situation demands that consideration of climate change impacts has, without delay, to be a key factor in all decision-making across all council functions and all policy areas. This is not about spending money we haven’t got – it is about HOW we spend the money, about investment now for a better and less costly future. And one without runaway climate change.
Please, Cllr. Tett, demonstrate to the 95% that your Council is serious about delivering on your climate action promise.
Mike Chadwick, Coordinator, Bucks Climate Action Alliance, a non-party political alliance of organisations concerned about climate change.

You can watch the actual committee meeting online on the Council website here: Buckinghamshire Council Transport, Environment and Climate Change Select Committee 12 November 2020.  See agenda point 5.
Nationally, I am sure you will have heard that Boris Johnson has announced a 10 point plan to tackle climate change. While this is itself a victory of sorts many people are assessing how successful this will be.  You can find details along with Friends of the Earth’s comment, and I am sure there will be many other comments on this topic.  I hope you find this interesting.  
Speen Environmental Action Group