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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
West: So you wanna change the World?
Dave Harvey
Dave Harvey
The Politics Show West

farmers' market
Farmers' market: Not a lot to ask for

Whatever happens to the campaigners trying to change the world?

Dave Harvey follows up three Politics Show viewers ...

Can we have a Farmers' Market in Yate?

It didn't seem a lot to ask, but Elizabeth Stone's email cut straight to the heart of a political row over food, farming and the power of supermarkets.

Selling in markets helps farmers survive without subsidy, and protects the environment too.

But why are country markets only in country towns? People eat everywhere, don't they? So when Elizabeth emailed the Politics Show asking for a market in her 1970s suburban new town, we jumped.

A few calls to local farmers and a makeshift market appeared. Within five days, 14 farmers were in Yate, selling their wares.

"Look at them, just standing there - I'm just amazed".

Elizabeth was looking at a queue. At a sausage stall. She'd changed a little bit of her world. But would it last?

"Hello Dave, it's Elizabeth - from the market in Yate, remember?"

She phoned again last week.

Six months on, the market was doing so well, they'd started an extra one, on Saturdays. The first was yesterday - April 1st maybe, but no fooling, honest.

Beverley Organ, the marketing manager of the shopping centre, is the market host. She's watched all this with a buoyant smile.

"It's great - no surprise, I knew we'd make it work, but it's great. It just shows what can be done when people work together."

Revolting Waste

Just 15 miles down the motorway, a rather muckier revolution is underway. On a wasteland in Avonmouth, Richard Hogg and his colleagues are making energy from rubbish.

No really: "To most people, this is just filth and rubbish - but to us it's heat and power".

Compact Power, his firm, have found a technology which incinerates rubbish so cleanly there are very few polluting emissions. Since the heat generates power, the system replaces landfill with clean energy.

Unsurprisingly, councillors were keen for Richard to take all of Bristol's unrecyclable waste. As ever, the snag was bureaucracy. A 5m government grant had got "held up". And that appeared to be that.

"Hello Dave, it's Richard from Compact Power, remember?"

This week, a breakthrough on the waste revolution front. Yes the money had come through, yes they would soon begin turning 30,000 tons of domestic rubbish into electricity. But no, the cash wasn't from Whitehall.

"It's actually from a Greek Engineering Firm", Richard explains.

"We've formed a limited partnership with them, and they've agreed to put up the money. We'd rather it was UK government money - but this will do the job."

And so the great Bristolian rubbish heap will be sorted out by a great Bristolian invention - paid for in Drachmas.

Old ones are the best ...

Bill Nicholas is probably the oldest smiling politics show viewer. 92, he's just won another scalp in a life of activism.

"To use my favourite phrase, this is the acme of my endeavours", he smiles.

Bill's standing in a bus stop - and there's the clue. He joined thousands of pensioners in October 2004 outside Westminster, campaigning for Pensioner Power - and free bus passes.

"It might not sound much, but it would transform the lives of thousands of older people, and let us know we're not forgotten," he said then.

"Hello Dave, its Gordon from the Treasury ..."

OK. We didn't actually take the call in person. But yesterday, April 1st, the Chancellor answered Bill and the thousands of other campaigners.

Free bus travel for all pensioners became a reality. Not in rush hour, not long distance no - but not bad.

"I really think this is a marvellous tribute to the hard work of so many campaigners," grinned Bill, in his bus shelter.

Another little bit of the world is changed.

Got a campaign we might be interested in? Drop us an email ...

The Politics Show

Politics Show West wants to hear from you.

Watch the programme, and let us know what you think.

Join David Garmston on Politics Show West on BBC One, Sunday 23 April 2006 at 13.50pm.


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SEE ALSO:
UK's 'useless' quangos under fire
11 Feb 05 |  UK Politics
West
11 Sep 05 |  Politics Show


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