This blog page is intended to raise the issues around Peak Oil and encourage debate in the Dereham area about these issues, how they will affect our local area, and how we should respond. Please do post any comments you have in reply to any blog entries posted here. Alternatively please e-mail;

It must be stressed that Dereham is not (yet) a Transition Town. But through this blog it is hoped that a debate will be started that will lead Dereham towards engaging in the Transition process and that this blog will become a record as we engage in that process.

Monday, 20 April 2009

New Transition Dereham website

As of today the official Transition Dereham website is This Wordpress based site includes a blog with all the old posts copied over from this Blogspot blog. Please also check the events page for details of film screenings currently being planned in Dereham.

Please note that this Blogspot blog will not receive any further updates in future. So please visit for the latest news of Transition in Dereham. If you have a website link to here, please update it to the new site. Thanks

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Energy letters

Last week (Thursday 2nd April) the Dereham Times carried another letter by Malcolm Heymer, responding to the letters printed the previous week, from Geoff Hinchliffe and myself. In his letter Mr Heymer argues for nuclear power instead of wind turbines, and flatly denies the existance of Man-made climate change by citing the claims of a Swedish man, "Dr Nils-Axel Morner", to argue that sea level rise is "the greatest lie ever told".

WHAT A LOT OF NONSENSE! I looked "Dr Nils-Axel Morner" up on the web and what I found was very unconvincing! This man is into strange things like dowsing for water! His case reguarding sea level change includes lots of little bits of truth! But then so does any good deception! I found his case most unconvincing and I'm sure that no-one else (with a good understanding of the real evidence) would be either.

So this week's Dereham Times (9th April) carries two responses to Malcolm Heymer; from Geoff Hinchliffe and from me. I copy my letter below which the newspaper gave a headline of "Communities must generate own energy".

I agree with Malcolm Heymer (letters, 2nd April) that we still need some large power stations of some form, at least for the forseeable future. But I also believe that we need to take responsibility for generating an increasing proportion of our local energy requirements within our own local communities. In an age where energy security looks increasingly fragile, and where terrorists threaten to attack large power stations and distribution grids, this seems particularly sensible!

We need more micro-generation, feeding into a decentralised energy grid, thus removing power from the big energy corporations and giving it to local communities. But with power comes responsibility!

I would be happy to see wind turbines near me, as part of a mix of local micro-generation, along with solar panels, and with micro-hydro (at old watermill sites along the river Wensum for instance). But of these, in relatively flat Norfolk, wind power probably makes the most sense!

What I found from a web search for "Dr Nils-Alex Morner" (mentioned by Malcolm Heymer) was unconvincing! This is a man into strange things like dowsing. His argument reguarding sea-level change (like a good deception) is full of half-truths! But I'm sure that few people with an understanding of the real facts would be swayed by his case.

Matt Walker

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Wind Power

Two weeks ago (Thursday 12th March) the Dereham Times reported that the latest planning appeal into two proposed wind turbines in Shipdham, near Dereham, had rejected the proposals. In his column on the letters page of the newspaper, chief reporter Ian Clarke was very dismissive of the proposals, arguing that the planning debate has gone on for so long that it is now time to give up. But he gives no consideration to the serious challenges we face with climate change and energy security. What alternative options does he propose?

I was tempted to write to the newspaper then, but decided to wait a week to see what other reaction there might be in the newspaper's letters pages. I was surprised! Balanced coverage? Hardly! Last week's Dereham Times' letters page (19th March) carried two letters about the Shipdham wind turbines, both highly negative. So in response to these I did write to the newspaper, and my letter was printed in this week's paper along side one by Geoff Hinchliffe from CANIS, the Shipdham group who support the wind turbine proposals. The letters were printed under the headline "Our energy has to come from somewhere - so why not here?" which is very good considering the nonsense the paper can sometimes invent (e.g. what I refer to at the end of my letter)! I post my letter below, as I wrote it. What the Times has printed is in italics (they didn't print all of the last line).

In response to the Shipdham wind turbine debate, I ask doesn't the energy we use have to be generated somewhere? So why shouldn't it be in our own "Back Yard"? It has to be in someone's back yard! Is Brian Kidd [letters, 19th March] arguing to have a coal or nuclear power station, or a waste incinerator on his doorstep? What is he arguing FOR? I know that I would much rather see a few wind turbines! And we cannot continue using up finite resources like oil, coal, and uranium infinitely. We have to start making the transition towards truly sustainable, renewable energy, and lower energy lifestyles for the sake of our economy, our society, and our environment.

The climate globally is warming as a result of our CO2 emissions (contrary to Malcolm Heymer's assertions [letters, 19th March]). Only recently the official predictions for sea-level-rise during this century have been doubled due to the latest scientific observations from the polar regions which are said to be the fastest warming regions of the planet.

We all have to begin taking the urgent action needed to avert climate chaos. I believe that having some wind turbines in our local landscape will be one small part of this. Another part is to get a "Recycling Centre" in Dereham (it is NOT a "rubbish tip" as the newspaper wrongly labels it! Please use the right term in your headlines).

Matt Walker

Monday, 23 March 2009

TD update

Sorry for being so quiet on the blog for so long. Its high time I wrote an update.

World oil prices, and fuel prices at the pumps, have fallen some way from their peak during last year due to the global financial crisis and the recession that we now find our selves in. This seems to fit with the predictions made previously in some of the films about the threat of Peak Oil and its consequences. I believe that the high price of oil last year (a result of global supply struggling to keep up with rising demand) was one of the key triggers of the financial crisis!

I don't wish to undermine the reckless stupidity of the banks lending so much money to those who could barely afford it. But it was the soaring cost of energy that tipped the balance and lead to people defaulting on those loans which exposed the banks and created the crisis.

Had it not been for the high energy costs, the banks would be continuing as before and there would have been no crisis! Maybe then the likes of Woolworths would still have been open on our high streets. But our addiction to oil, and to unsustainable "economic growth", caused this financial crisis that is killing so many businesses and jobs.

However across the Eastern Region much is beginning to happen with Transition. Transition Norwich has been "Unleashed" and now has themed groups developing projects in a number of areas.

Since October 2008 I've been administrating the "Transition East Anglia" [TEA] google group. One of the things to emerge from this regional e-mail networking was our first Eastern Region Transition network day which was held in Downham Market on Saturday 7th March 2009. About 50 people from across Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire attended the day. Towns represented included; Cambridge, Ely, King's Lynn, Mundesley, Norwich, Dereham, Diss, Bungay, Beccles, Ipswich & Woodbridge.

The Eastern Region is now involved in piloting a regional Transition web portal which will contain information on all the Transition Initiatives in the region. I have also registered a new web address for Transition Dereham, linked to a Wordpress blog, which I'll be advertising once I've had time to further develop the site's content, etc.

I am hoping to organise some Transition film showings in Dereham in the coming months. So keep an eye here, or on noticeboards around the town, or drop me an e-mail at

Friday, 17 October 2008

Dereham shop sign pictures

I've been out round the town taking lots of little camera-phone photos of shop and business signs and I've begun to collage these together to build up an image of the town. The Transition Handbook talks a lot about "resilience"; being able to meet essential local needs through locally owned shops and businesses suppling local produce and products to local people, thereby being (relatively) unaffected by disruptions to fuel supplies and other large supply chains (as will happen with "Peak Oil"). Its how towns functioned before the age of cheap oil, and we'll have to recapture something of it.

So how much of Dereham is locally owned, independant businesses, or supplies local produce and products to local people, and how much is caught up in the global economic system that seems to be in so much trouble at the moment? Have a look and judge for your self!

Here is my first collage; of shop signs around Dereham Market Place.
Some images of other parts of the town will follow.

In the last week I've created a Google Map of Transition Initiatives and "mullers" (like me here in Dereham) around Eastern England (see link on right of the main page). Following feedback from the Transition groups around the region that I've been able to contact by e-mail about this map, I have now also set up a Google Group to help facilitate Transition networking around the eastern region.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Current fuel prices; Record 5

Last Monday (6th October) I again went round Dereham's petrol stations and here's the fuel prices at that point;

Morrisons supermarket, Station Road, Dereham
Unleaded; 108.9p
Diesel; 118.9p

BP station, Lynn Hill roundabout, Dereham
Unleaded; 109.9p
Diesel; 120.9p

Tesco supermarket, off Yaxham Road, Dereham
Unleaded; 109.9p
Diesel; 120.9p

As some BBC News journalists are now repeatedly saying, the now falling fuel prices is the result of reduced demand due to growing recession as a result of the Global financial crisis. It all fits quite well with the predicted impacts of Peak Oil and the effects of the high oil prices that we have seen!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Transition events and fuel prices

I realise that I've been rather quiet on this blog for a couple of months and in particular I've let the 'Fuel Price Records' slip a bit! But in the meantime I've been to a couple of larger of Transition initiative events.

At the end of July I went up to the Transition Scotland network day, tagged onto the start of 'The Big Tent; Festival of Stewardship' in Fife. This was at the invite of a relative who (after I had mentioned Transition to him) had connected into the Transition Initiative where he lives in Edinburgh, linking it to his own project; a website to help promote locally owned shops which he was speaking about at the network day. I had a really good time up there and spent a further week around Edinburgh.

This last Wednesday evening (1st October) I went in to "The Great Unleashing" of Transition Norwich at St Andrew's Hall in the centre of Norwich city, which was filled with "350 people" in what the speaker Ben Brangwyn (from the Transition Network) said was "the first UNLEASHING of a major city". It was a very good evening where after Ben and the local MP for Norwich North; Dr Ian Gibson (Lab.) had spoken, we broke into small discussions around tables of about 10 people, each with different themes.

I came away from the Transition Norwich Great Unleashing with a copy of "The Transition Handbook" by Rob Hopkins; the founder of the Transition movement at a discounted price of £10 (RRP £12.95) see which I'm currently reading. It is already giving me fresh ideas about what could (and needs to) be done to transition Dereham and its surrounding areas. This will likely produce thoughts and musings to fill fresh posts in the coming days and weeks.

I also left a feedback slip at the end of the Transition Norwich Great Unleashing saying that I would like to meet up with anyone else from the Dereham area who may have been there, to develop stuff local to Dereham, and that I would be willing to co-ordinate a meeting of such a group. So if you were there (or not, but your interested in being involved) please do e-mail me a message at to introduce yourself.

To finish this post I do have some fuel prices recorded from August and September. Since my last Fuel Price Record post in July, the retailers have been battling each other to cut fuel prices. But as a chart presented by Ben Brangwyn at the Transition Norwich Great Unleashing showed, this is due to falls in global oil prices resulting from reduced demand in the wake of recession caused by 'the credit crunch' and current financial turmoil!

On Tuesday 12th August the fuel prices I recorded were;

Morrison's supermarket, Station Road, Dereham
Unleaded; 111.9p (down 8p or 6.67%* & 0p #)
Diesel; 122.9p (down 10p or 7.52%* & 0p #)

BP station, Lynn Hill roundabout, Dereham
Unleaded; 111.9p (down 8p or 6.67%* & 2p or 1.76%#)
Diesel; 133.9p (down 10p or 7.47%* & 1p or 0.8%#)

Tesco supermarket, off Yaxham Road, Dereham
Unleaded; 111.9p (down 8p or 6.67%* & 2p or 1.76%#)
Diesel; 133.9p (down 11p or 8.22%* & 3p or 2.38%#)

* figures since Tues, 15th July (4 weeks/28 days previous)
# figures since Mon, 19th May (12 weeks/85 days previous)

On Thursday 11th September I noted the fuel prices at Morrison's supermarket, Station Road, Dereham, as;
Unleaded; 112.9p
Diesel; 123.9p

Tomorrow; Monday 6th October I'll try to record the next fuel price record.