Birds and Bees recordings
With hosts Ayaan, Shirley, Gerry, and Ben.
- Episode 31, 11th August 2023: Gerry speaks with Josie Slade of Swindon Growers. They discuss the Swindon Growers Summit and the Crop Drop. Ayaan provides a wealth of information on heat pumps.
- Episode 30, 4th August 2023: Gerry speaks with Alan Holland, the director of local charity TWIGS. They discuss its history and the green therapy it provides to its service users creating a beautiful space at its home in Cheney Manor.
- Episode 29, 28th July 2023: Ben talks about the work of Plastic Free Swindon and makes an appeal for support through Lush's Charity Pot scheme. Ayaan speaks in-depth with Andy Bentley, Green Party Parliamentary candidate for north Swindon and Chair of Hreod Burna Urban Forest. They explore the Green Party's manifesto, policies, and a range of local and national issues.
- Episode 28, 21st July 2023: Ayaan speaks in depth with Will Stone, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for north Swindon. Will talks about the connections between fitness and sustainable transport, the Labour Party's environmental manifesto, and answers questions about the practicality and effectiveness of the targets set out.
- Episode 27, 14th July 2023: Ben speaks with Aisha Stewart, a Net Zero Advisor at Business West, one of the first carbon neutral businesses in the south west region. She talks about the importance of businesses working towards Net Zero and the free workshops that Business West run to support businesses in the transition. Shirley talks about Word Forest which offers the public free courses on the environment.
- Episode 26, 7th July 2023: Ayaan and Gerry talk with Jane Milner-Barry, Swindon Borough Council's Net Zero Lead. Topics covered include the Solar Together Scheme, difficulties for councils because of inadequate environmental legislation from central government, the importance of balancing housing needs with environmental impacts, and the Swindon-wide food waste collections due to start in September.
- Episode 25, 30th June 2023: Gerry speaks with Debbie at the Men's Shed in Penhill, part of Renew Swindon. They discuss the work to upcycle materials to create environmentally friendly items such as bee hives and bird boxes, their NHS project, and the environmentally friendly paint they sell. Gerry continues to provide and update on the borough council's Solar Together Scheme and talks with Roger Morgan-Grenville on his book, Walking England.
- Episode 24, 23rd June 2023: Ayaan speaks to Janine Howarth, Swindon Borough Councillor for Housing about her role. They discuss the social and environmental considerations of planning, the importance of green, open spaces, and support for beneficial local environmental groups and initiatives. Ben presents episode 4 of the David and Goliath Tapes. The subject is trade deals. He speaks with Jean Blaylock of Global Justice Now about the UK government signing up to the CPTPP / Pacific Trade Deal and how free trade deals can hinder our ability to protect the environment.
- Episode 23, 16th June 2023: World Refill Day special. Information here.
- Episode 22, 9th June 2023: Ayaan and Gerry speak with Chris Watts, the new borough councillor for waste and transport. They discuss the new borough council administration' action plan for the environment. Chris will be a regular guest on the show along with Jane Milner-Barry, another borough councillor whose work focuses on the environment.
- Episode 21, 2nd June 2023: The focus is UK Bike Week. Gerry speaks with Becky Cox of Swindon Cycle Campaign about the many cycling activities and promotional work going on in Swindon. Gerry speaks with local councillor Jane Milner-Barry about the new administration's environmental aspirations, including sustainable transport and cycling. In the studio, Ayaan's climate rundown includes Brazil's new appointment of an Environment Secretary and World Environment Day's focus on plastic pollution this year.
- Episode 20, 26th May 2023: Gerry speaks with Pete Welsh of TGV (Tadpole Garden Village) In Bloom about the organisation, its allotments and work with the local community. In the studio, Ayaan speaks in-depth with Andy Bentley, Green Party Parliamentary candidate for north Swindon and Chair of Hreod Burna Urban Forest. They explore the Green Party's manifesto, policies, and a range of local and national issues.
- Episode 19, 19th May 2023: Gerry speaks with Lew Lawton of Swindon 105.5 and Swindon Cycle Campaign about the benefits of sustainable travel. They discuss the new Moredon Cycle Hub which will be opening soon. In the studio, Ayaan speaks with Graham Leighfield of GEL Studios about his company's efforts to operate sustainably.
- Episode 18, 12th May 2023: Gerry speaks with local choir member and fungi enthusiast Martin Hawes. Gerry then speaks with Matt Leather of South Swindon Parish Council about the works to develop GWR / Faringdon Road Park. Gerry also speaks with Linda Kasmaty about South Swindon Parish Council's Green Trail introduced in 2022. Gerry also speaks with Roger Morgan-Grenville, author of Walking England. He walked 1000 miles across the UK to discover the state of biodiversity first-hand. Ayaan and Ben are joined by borough councillor Jane Milner-Barry and Gorse Hill litter picker Ruth Sumner to discuss local issues of litter / pollution and how we might deal with them.
- Episode 17, 5th May 2023: Gerry speaks with organiser Josie Slade and organisations attending the first Swindon Growers Summit. Gerry also attends Swindon's Literature Festival and talks with Isabel Hardman and Eileen Jones about the health benefits of fresh air. In the studio, Ayaan and Ben are joined by borough councillor Jane Milner-Barry and Gorse Hill litter picker Ruth Sumner to discuss local issues of litter / pollution and how we might deal with them. Ayaan speaks with Andy Waylen and Sue Tranter of Business West about their efforts to reduce their environmental impacts.
- Episode 16, 28th April 2023: Ben speaks with Jean Blaylock of Global Justice Now about the Pacific Trade Deal (CPTPP) which the UK goverrnment have recently signed up to. She describes how free trade deals favour Big Business interests and threaten our ability to deal with environmental issues. Gerry talks with Tony Myer, a local resident, about the Tawny Owl sewage pumping system in north Swindon and how the recent leaks into the River Rey have come to happen. Gerry also speaks with Jane Milner-Barry, Swindon Borough Councillor for Sustainability, about her experience of having solar panels installed as part of the borough council's Solar Together scheme. Ayaan speaks with south Swindon Labour Parliamentary candidate Heidi Alexander about the Labour Party's local and national plans for the environment.
- Episode 15, 21st April 2023: Ben speaks with David Bowles of the RSPCA about the Kept Animals Bill and a repeat of the interview with Clive Trevor of Keep Wiltshire Frack Free on on the maladies of fracking and an interesting alternative being used at the Eden Project.
- Episode 14, 14th April 2023: Carol and Vic speak with a gardener at the national heritage site of Avebury about the importance of the environment, of biodiversity. Ayaan speaks with Glynis Hales, a dedicated campaigner of many decades on a range of important issues and the work she's involved in locally to help encourage biodiversity, providing helpful tips.
- Episode 13, 7th April 2023: Ben speaks with Neil Pullen of WWT and Nicky Iddon about the Raybrook Meadow project, part of Swindon Forest Meadows. Shirley discusses the Environment Agency's recent report on Thames Water leaks including recommendations. Ayaan's climate rundown includes the government's proposed wet wipe ban and Sainsbury's vacuum packed beef mince.
- Episode 12, 31st March 2023: Ayaan presents "The Climate Rundown", discussing the UN Climate Report which warns of 'vampiric' global water usage and details the heightening of extreme weather events. Ayaan looks at Swindon Borough Council's plan to introduce wildlife corridors and discusses highlights from the brand-new David Attenborough documentary, Wild Isles. Ben speaks to James Ravine of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust about the Great Wood Appeal, their plans to restore the forest, and benefits for local communities and the environment. Shirley tells us about the Woodland Trust's tree planting scheme.
- Episode 11, 24th March 2023: Shirley speaks about the Woodland Trust's free tree scheme in South West England, which they hope will encourage people to unite to help life on Earth by planting 50 million trees in the UK by 2030. Electric cars: Gerry speaks with environmental campaigner, Jon Ranford about electric vehicles. How sustainable are they? Meanwhile Ben speaks with Paul Marchment of car-hire firm, Arval. What is their vision for the future of electric vehicles?
- Episode 10, 17th March 2023: Ayaan speaks with Dan Tennakoon, CEO and Founder of RE24 a Green Energy Marketplace business. Dan worked for 16 years in the energy industry for mainstream companies including Centrica and Engie. Dan talks about his aspirations are for his renewables company and for a sustainable Britain. Shirley takes a trip to GWR Park (aka Faringdon Road Park) for an opening event for new features to the park which have been introduced by South Swindon Parish Council. She speaks with parish council representatives and the general public about how the changes have come to be and the benefits for the local community.
- Episode 9, 10th March 2023: Plastic motions special. Ben speaks with borough councillors Jake Chandler and Jane Milner-Barry about the recently passed plastic motion. He also speaks with Oxford City councillor Jane Muddiman about the work to introduce a single-use plastics ban for traders in Oxford. Gerry continues the green energy focus for March, speaking with borough councillor Jane Milner-Barry about the council's Solar Together scheme. In the studio, Ayaan talks with Rod Hebden about his highlights for the Festival of Tomorrow, as it winds up for this year. They also talk about the science and benefits of green energy.
- Episode 8, 3rd March 2023: Gerry kicks off the monthly focus on energy and renewables, speaking with Steve Russell about installing heat pumps in the home. Ben finishes off the previous focus on air pollution. He interviews Tim Newthorpe of the Vegan Society on the contribution of animal farming, especially intensive industrial, on air quality, the impacts it has on animals, and the organisation's work for change. In the studio, Ayaan speaks with Andy Waylen and Sue Tranter, members of the Environmental and Initiatives team at Business West, about their work to reduce the business' carbon footprint.
- Episode 7, 24th February 2023: The focus of the show is on air pollution and the affects it is having on people in Swindon. Ben talks with Marcus Kittridge, a resident of Kingshill, which has the amongst the worst air pollution recorded in Swindon. Gerry Hannon speaks with Becky Cox of Swindon Cycle Campaign who lives close to Kingshill. In the studio Ayaan discusses the points raised in the interviews with borough councillors Keith Williams (Councillor for Climate Change) and Jane Milner-Barry (Shadow Spokesperson for Sustainability)
- Episode 6, 17th February 2023: Ayaan speaks with Heidi Alexander, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, about the party’s green plan for Swindon. Ben talks with Clive Trevor of Keep Wiltshire Frack Free about the need to ban toxic fracking once and for all, the lack of government protection for health and environment, and an alternative, geothermal energy.
- Episode 5, 10th February 2023: Ben speaks with Robert Ayres of SKIP (Stop the Keypoint Incinerator Project) about waste incineration, as part of The Birds and Bees team’s focus on air pollution. In the studio with Ayaan, sparks are flying as the Festival of Tomorrow is back for its fourth year. Organiser Rod Hebden fills us in on what to expect this time. He also talks about the science of air pollution.
- Episode 4, 27th January 2023:Ayaan answers this week's big question: 'Is Climate Change affecting the way we see the night sky?' as new research shows from over 50,000 amateur stargazers that artificial lighting is making our skies 10% brighter. We also look at the difference between weather and climate.
- Episode 3, 20th January 2023: Gerry and Ben discuss the ban on further items of single-use plastic in the UK which came about through Refill’s Cut the Cutlery campaign. In the studio, Ayaan looks at the latest environmental news, including Cancer Research UK’s research linking air pollution with lung cancer, and COP28’s president, an oil chief from the UAE.
- Episode 2, 13th January 2023: What are businesses in Swindon doing for the environment to reduce their carbon footprints? Ayaan speaks with Managing Director of GEL Studios, Graeme Leighfield, about his business’ green action plan. Also on the programme, Gerry Hannon speaks with Becky Cox of Swindon Cycle Campaign to discuss sustainable transport for an everyday living.
- Episode 1, 6th January 2023: COP27 special. Glynis Hales is joined by Swindon Borough Councillor Keith Williams, Labour South Parliamentary Candidate Heidi Alexander, and Asher Minns.
- State of the union 2022 part 2: Studio discussion on the environmental highlights of 2022. Ayaan is joined in the studio by Rod Hebden, Gerry Hannon and Ben Bell.
- State of the union 2022 part 1: Studio discussion on the environmental highlights of 2022. Ayaan is joined in the studio by Rod Hebden, Gerry Hannon and Ben Bell.
Litter and (plastic) pollution
Studio discussion about litter problems in Gorse Hill, South Marston and beyond.
12th May 2023
Ayaan and Ben are joined by borough councillor Jane Milner-Barry and Gorse Hill litter picker Ruth Sumner. The waste and recycling system is broken. It is a major factor in litter / pollution. What can be, and is being, done to deal with it?
The David and Goliath Tapes
28th April 2023
Interview with Jean Blaylock of Global Justice Now on the Pacific Trade Deal which the UK government signed up to on the 31st March 2023. She details how "this is a deal for Big Business not for ordinary people".
No guarantee was provided by local MPs to Plastic Free Swindon that trade deals wouldn't hinder our ability to deal with plastic pollution.
26th September 2022
Interview with Marcus Kittridge, co-owner of Baristocats cafe on Commercial Road SN1. Why is a thriving small business struggling to stay afloat? How is the market rigged in favour of Big Business? How do financial pressures on Baristocats affect their ability to operate sustainably? What is the importance of good local governance to keep the town clean and tidy?
Swindon Pulse Wholefoods
14th October 2022
Interview with Cath, a member of the worker's co-operative Swindon Pulse Wholefoods. What are the hidden costs of buying cheap products from supermarkets? What are the benefits of supporting local indepent traders? What are the benefits of buying organic food?
Public open spaces
28th November 2022
Interview with Josie Lewis about the importance of public open spaces, in response to proposals to build 2 large tower blocks in the town centre.
Council Plastic Motions
Be The Change campaign
10th March 2023
Swindon Borough Council's Be The Change campaign has omitted plastic pollution and Plastic Free Swindon. We describe the work being done by Plastic Free Swindon to remedy this.
Swindon Borough Council plastic motion.
10th March 2023
Jake Chandler, the borough councillor who successfully proposed the motion tells us how it came to be and what he hopes it will achieve.
Borough councillor Jane Milner-Barry, Shadow Spokesperson for Sustainability tells us about the plastic motion and the amendment that she proposed.
Oxford City Council plastic motion.
10th March 2023
Oxford City Councillor Lois Muddiman tells us about the motion being worked on to ban local traders selling single-use plastic items.
Clive Trevor of Keep Wiltshire Frack Free (KWIFF)
17th February 2023
What are the realities of fracking? Can it be safely managed in future, as the government suggests possible? Have the government considered the health and well-being of communities? We discuss geothermal energy as an interesting alternative.
Robert Ayres of SKIP
10th February 2023
A fascinating, detailed interview on waste incineration with Robert Ayres of SKIP (Stop the Keypoint Incinerator Project). We discuss the SKIP campaign, the impacts of waste incineration, and the need to move away from waste incineration to develop the circular economy / a system of zero waste.
Cut the Cutlery win
19th January 2023
City to Sea's Cut the Cutlery campaign, supported by Greenpeace, has forced the government to ban further items of single-use plastic. A win for people power! But is it enough? What is needed from the government to effectively deal with plastic pollution?
Keep Swindon Tidy worked for many months at Rivermead in 2022. Other organisations have also been working to transform the area for local communities, wildlife, and environment.
Keep Swindon Tidy
12th September 2022
Interview with Karen Leggett, a member of Keep Swindon Tidy. What work has been done to clean up Rivermead? What difference has it made?
Westlea Church & Friends Litter Pickers
21st August 2022
Interview with Moya Pinson, organiser of Westlea Church & Friends Litter Pickers. How has the group contributed to the new BMX track? What can the BMX track offer to the local community? What is the importance of positive community activities?
West Swindon Parish Council
12th September 2022
Interview with Swindon Borough and Westlea Parish Councillor, Suresh Gattapur. How have the parish council contributed to local efforts to transform Rivermead? How did the parish council help fund the new BMX track? How can the BMX track help young people?
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
19th August 2022
Interview with Neil Pullen, Swindon Conservation Lead for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. What conservation work have Wiltshire Wildlife Trust been doing at Rivermead? What's the importance of that work for the local area? What's the importance of that work to meet environmental targets?
Work continues at Rivermead...
Small Change Festival 2022
14th September 2022
Interview with Jen Gale about her work, Sustainble(ish). What is sustainable(ish)? Why sustainable(ish) rather than sustainable? What benefits can an approach of small steps to sustainability have?
17th October 2022
Interview with Ross Sheppard of local business venture Archaic Revival. What is Archaic Revival? What is the importance of retaining foraging information passed down by our ancestors? What's it like to eat seasonal local food from nature compared to supermarket food?