Skip to main content

Cuts and coffee

Today has been a mix of highs and lows.  A low is the proposed swingeing cuts that were published by the council on Friday.  Along with Cllr Chris Maskell and Paul Gittings I met with council staff this morning (still can’t get used to calling them ‘officers’) to discuss the proposed environment cuts – including to graffiti removal, charging for green bins etc.  Some cuts that are sad, but inevitable given the wrong decisions made by central government and some that I think are the wrong choice.  I have asked for a copy of the budget book to see what the alternatives are – even when the national Conservatives have made a right Pickle of things councils still have choices they can make, my worry is that the current administration will make the wrong decisions.

I then nipped home to meet with someone from a solar installation company to discuss whether our house was suitable and to get more information.  It’s looking good, but we need to decide how much we can afford to pay and therefore how much we can install.

Went back into town for coffee with 3 friends and discuss all things “mum”.  And eat scones of course!  It was lovely to catch up, as I hadn’t seen them and their little ones since the end of November.

Reading buses did well out of me today…

It was nice to meet up but I have to say I’m very concerned by the cuts, and chatting particularly to Suzy as we left reinforced to me how much we all value the children’s centres and the support to our families that look like they will be cut.

John Ennis has posted on the possible cuts to children’s services on his blog in a lot more detail including information about a ‘consultation’ that is taking place.

  1. I'm sceptical about solar thermal or pv retro-fitted to existing housing. Leaving aside feed-in tariffs which distort the market, I think they're probably a poor use of the money they cost to buy & fit, and the materials they take to make, compared to energy conservation. I really should do some proper calculations but very very roughly, average size and construction houses require in the region 10-20kW to heat in the depths of winter, obviously less in milder weather and spring and autumn, but typically for 5 or more hours a day when people are at home in the evening. So, ballpark, 50kW-hours or more per day in very cold weather, less in milder.
    A 2kW immersion heater will heat a typical hot water cylinder in an hour or less – 2kW hour. So that's the ballpark energy that solar thermal gives you when conditions are right for that.
    Solar costs – what, £10K-ish?
    Unless you've got an A-rated boiler then spending 2-3K upgrading from even a standard-efficiency model will save you around 10% of the energy you're putting into space heating – around 5kW-hours per day (or more) in coldest weather. A few £K spend upgrading insulation and draughtproofing could give similar or better improvements (depending what you've already got). You could also spend some of that £10K on things like building a porch to buffer heat loss from the front or back door, thermal curtains, and so on. If you can put underfloor heating into some rooms you can run them cooler and not only save energy and money but feel more comfortable (warm feet and cool head rather than the other way around). Even if you've already done all that and still have £10K burning a hole in your pocket there could be an argument for putting it into an offshore windpower company or insulating your parents' or old-lady-next-door's house!

  2. Rachel says:


    Very good points. Started to type a reply and decided it was worth a post on it's own.

    See next post 🙂


Leave a Reply