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THE Friends of Ballard Water Meadow plan to host their annual National Meadow Day event on 2 July at Ballard Meadow and Woodland, in association with NEW MILTON Town Council. The event promises guided walks, butterfly walks, stream dipping and the opportunity to explore wildlife in this meadow and woodland environment. This is to be followed on 3 July by a free music event featuring the Blue Tides Band, plus a trophy presentation for the winners of the Hampshire town’s Best Dressed Window Competition.

Clerks & Councils Direct July 2022

 UCKFIELD Town Council in East Sussex held the town’s first ECO Expo on 30 April. The exhibition at the Civic Centre brought together agencies and organisations working on alternative technologies, and residents were able to speak to experts on subjects ranging from electric cars to skincare.

Clerks & Councils Direct July 2022

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NEW MILTON Town Council in Hampshire has planted 50 trees so far this year around the town, with species including hawthorn, beech, crab apple and flowering cherry. All the trees will be recorded on the Queen’s Green Canopy Map. Pupils from Ashley Infants School helped plant a hawthorn at the refurbished playpark on Ashley Recreation Ground and were presented with certificates of achievement by Cllr Geoff Blunden, chairman of the amenities committee. He said: “I am pleased that Oliver and Grace were able to plant this tree as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project and in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. I hope they see it grow to maturity in the coming years and remember this special day.” The council also organised a best dressed window display competition in partnership with the Lions Club and local businesses, with winners announced at a special afternoon of music event at the Recreation Ground on 3 June.

Clerks & Councils Direct July 2022

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BACK in March, Cllr Bob Pinfield, chairman of COOKHILL Parish Council in Worcestershire, and vice chair Cllr Anne Sumner got together with volunteers from Cookhill Allotments to plant 100 trees for the Jubilee and the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. The trees were planted on council land to create an avenue along an existing footpath and around the edge of the field. They were supplied by The Conservation Volunteers under their “I Dig Trees” initiative and comprised a mix of native woodland species. The council has big plans for the meadow, with further trees due to be planted in the autumn. A small orchard in the centre, with wildflowers to attract bees, will complete the scheme.

Clerks & Councils Direct July 2022

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FILLONGLEY Parish Council planted three large oak trees as part of the QGC initiative, with the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Tim Cox, coming to the village to unveil a commemorative plaque. Soon after this, resident Jo Hooke was awarded a place on the Parish Roll of Honour for fundraising and coordinating the renovation of the war memorial and researching all those whose names are recorded on it. Councillors then visited the village school to present all the children of the parish with a commemorative Jubilee mug. On the Jubilee weekend itself the council hosted a beacon, bonfire and fireworks party, with local groups providing a bar and a BBQ. The event was attended by around 650 people. Cllr William Antrobus, the council vice chair, provided the site and machinery and built the beacon. It was lit by 94-year-old resident Pat Kerby, who farmed in the parish as his father and grandfather had done before him and as his son and grandson do now, according to parish clerk Heather Badham.

Clerks & Councils Direct July 2022

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MALDON in Essex took a nostalgic look back to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and to her two visits to the town, in May 1971 and October 2010. To mark the Platinum Jubilee, the town council formed a working party to organise celebrations. These included a church service of thanksgiving followed by an afternoon tea for local volunteers and the planting of seven trees across the parish as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project. There was also a schools art competition, bunting was distributed to High Street shops and the Moot Hall was decorated in appropriate style.

Clerks & Councils Direct July 2022

SWITCHING TO LEDS

YATE Town Council in Gloucestershire is replacing lighting in its car park at Poole Court with LED solar-powered units, in line with a commitment made in its climate and ecological declaration on replacing end-of-life lighting. The existing lighting is 30 years old and units have gradually been decommissioned due to faults beyond repair. Of the six columns, three have been replaced and three reconditioned. All the lighting units have been refurbished with solar panel heads and LED light units. The council is hoping to save up to 90 per cent compared with old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Cllr Chris Willmore commented: “This is part of a massive commitment to transform the council’s use of energy. Each step is small, but together they are adding up.”

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

ECO EVENT GIVES NEW PERSPECTIVE

UCKFIELD Town Council in East Sussex worked with local businesses to host the first Uckfield ECO Expo on 30 April. The exhibition focused on green initiatives and technologies and brought together numerous agencies and organisations working in the area to introduce environmentally friendly technologies. Residents were able to question experts on subjects ranging from electric cars, solar panels and heat pumps to eco skincare, nappies and wipes. The idea was to encourage everyone to think about changes they could adopt to make Uckfield a greener town. Cllr Karen Bedwell said: “We hope that this event will help inform people about the small changes they can make which, together, will make a big difference to our environment. We hope that it will be the first of many ways in which we can help to address the effects of climate change for future generations, both locally and nationally.”

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

The cabinet of OXFORDSHIRE County Council has approved plans to serve only locally sourced plant-based food at council catered events, as part of its efforts to tackle climate change, reduce food waste and support healthy eating

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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THE QUEEN’S GREEN CANOPY (QGC) is an initiative that began in May 2021 in honour of the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It aims to increase and protect the UK’s native tree cover and also to protect landscapes and encourage new life and habitats for plants, fungi, insects and other fauna, to benefit future generations. As well as encouraging people to plant new trees, it will identify and protect 70 ancient woodlands and 70 individual ancient trees

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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DUNSTABLE Town Council in Bedfordshire held a tree-planting event at Mentmore Recreation Ground on 11 March, attended by local community organisations. The mayor, Cllr Gloria Martin, planted the first of 20 standard trees. Species were chosen with climate resilience in mind and included Scots pine and alder. Funding was provided by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Tree Planting Grant Scheme.
The site has been marked with a QGC memorial plaque handcrafted by members of the Royal British Legion and a stone plaque set into the ground next to the tree planted by the mayor. All the trees will be plotted on the QGC digital map. Cllr Martin said: “It was good to see so many organisations represented at the planting ceremony, and I know that these trees will go some way towards helping with climate change.”

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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Local schoolchildren joined Cllrs Barry Chapple and Bill Banks of LEYBOURNE Parish Council and Cllr Robin Betts of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council in Kent to plant 30 trees of native species in support of the QGC initiative. Cllr Chapple said: “We are honoured and delighted that parish councillors supported the project, alongside members of the community. This will leave a lasting legacy for the residents of Leybourne.  

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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LUDLOW Town Council in Shropshire, working in partnership with Incredible Edible Ludlow, planted five fruit trees at Wheeler Road recreation area on 11 March to mark the Jubilee. The mayor, Cllr Robin Pote, said: “Civic leaders across the UK, on the same day, have planted a tree to mark this special occasion – the 70th day of the year in which the Queen marks the 70th anniversary of her accession. We are really pleased to be able to mark this occasion.” The town is planning numerous other events to celebrate the Jubilee, including a beacon at Ludlow Castle, a display in St Laurence’s church and a street food festival in Castle Square.

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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An avenue of 40 mature trees has been planted alongside the river in FARNHAM in Surrey to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee. The day was part of the QGC initiative and involved pupils from 13 local schools and representatives from 18 community groups.
The mayor, Cllr Alan Earwaker, welcomed the Queen’s representative Deputy Lieutenant Caroline Breckell MVO and her husband Martin to the schools planting session. Also present was Jim Babbington, vice chair of the National Association of Civic Officers (NACO). Later in the day, the final 20 trees were planted by communitygroup representatives in the presence of Deputy Lieutenant Col Patrick Crowley MBE.
The trees included Liquidambar and Himalayan birch, which were chosen for their colours and architectural impact. A signboard will be erected to commemorate the planting. Nationally, NACO is preparing a special book for Her Majesty that will list the name of every council, school and organisation that planted a tree.

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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Cllr Ron Reed, chairman of WEALDEN District Council in East Sussex, helped plant trees at two locations in late March, both as part of the QGC initiative. He was joined at a special ceremony at Groombridge Station by Cllr Johanna Howell and Cllr Diana Kelly, chair of Withyham Parish Council. Three Scots Pines were delivered by train and planted at a safe distance from the line, partly replacing trees lost in the Great Storm of 1987. They can reach up to 35 metres in height and can live for more than 700 years. Cllr Reed also planted two cherry saplings in the grounds of Wealden Crematorium at Horam, joined by the facility’s manager, Shaun Peters. Cherry trees were chosen to provide biodiversity within the grounds and also because they symbolise a celebration of life. The council will continue to plant trees across the district throughout the spring and summer

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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BUCKINGHAM Town Council held its Annual Town Meeting on 24 March, which this year focused on the climate emergency. The public meeting brought together representatives from local environmental organisations and over 65 participants, including MP Greg Smith and town and county councillors.
The meeting was opened by the mayor, Cllr Margaret Gateley, who described how the council has declared a climate emergency and developed an action plan to move towards carbon neutrality by 2030. There were information stands from numerous organisations and an exhibition of artwork from Buckingham School pupils made from recycled materials.
Attendees were asked to share their ideas: the meeting had six tables, each with a different discussion topic, with people moving around between them. Ideas put forward included the creation of a Community Climate Action Group to investigate ways of building a strong and resilient community to tackle the climate crisis. A full feedback report is being prepared for publication.

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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THAME Green Living was one of three double award winners in the recent High Sheriff's Climate Action Heroes Awards for Oxfordshire. It won in the Community Action category for its Thame Green Living Plan, while its founder Charles Boundy received an individual award. The group has created a ten-year environmental plan for the town to 2030, focusing on the themes of biodiversity, water, air, energy and waste.
Mr Boundy said: “It has been a big part of my life for eight years, from concept to delivery, after starting with a blank sheet of paper. We’ve had tangible results such as planting trees, putting in footpaths connecting meadows, encouraging the regeneration of grass verges, setting up walking routes and promoting cycling. We’ve introduced schemes for discounted solar roof panels, electric car charging and a local electric car hire club. It’s also a long-term change project to inform people about the issues.”
In all, 18 groups, social enterprises, individuals and businesses were honoured for their environmental schemes. Three community action groups were also awarded £500 grants from Oxfordshire County Council to help them achieve their targets. Imam Monawar Hussain, the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, said: “The climate emergency is the single biggest issue facing humanity and so I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all the recipients of this prestigious award.”

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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CURTAIN UP FOR ECO FILM FESTIVAL

FROME Town Council in Somerset supported the first Frome International Climate Film Festival, entitled The Climates, held at the Town Hall on 7 May. Free tickets were available for film screenings, hour-long workshops running throughout the day and an evening awards ceremony.
The festival gave people of all age groups the chance to make their own films on a green theme, and there was a cash prize fund of over £500. During the day there were talks from film makers, including a session on how to use a wildlife camera and advice on how to make an engaging film using only a mobile phone.
The festival also secured the world premiere of The Last Jaguar, a short animation made by local film makers. James Godman, festival creator and director (pictured), said: “This is a fantastic coup for The Climates. We’re excited to be bringing this film to our free festival, which promotes the environment and change through storytelling and film making.”

Clerks & Councils Direct May 2022

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ACTION PLAN TO PRESERVE NATURE

SOME 800 tree whips were planted in December as part of KNUTSFORD Town Council’s Nature Action Plan. They were provided free of charge by the Woodland Trust and The Conservation Volunteers.
Volunteers from the Town Amongst Trees project planted 500 whips at two open spaces on Ashworth Park, which will develop into mixed native copses. The day was coordinated by planning and facilities officer Bob Allen (pictured)).
Later in the month town ranger Bob Garner planted a native hedgerow of 300 whips around an open space on Manor Crescent, next to the local scout hut. This will provide shelter, nesting and food for birds and invertebrates.
The Cheshire council is planting a further 120 trees in early 2022 and is also supporting the creation of a community wildflower allotment. Clerk Adam Keppel-Green said: “Since adopting the plan in 2020 we have created new wildflower meadows, planted hundreds of trees and in spring will see thousands of bulbs flower, thanks to efforts from volunteers. Knutsford is a great example of how towns can provide for wildlife across their open spaces.”

Clerks & Councils Direct March 2022

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ELECTRIC VANS HELP COUNCIL GO GREEN

BIRCHWOOD Town Council in Warrington, Cheshire has added two Maxus eDeliver 3 electric vans to its fleet to replace diesel vehicles. It had pledged to do this as part of its Climate Emergency Action Plan, announced in June 2019 when it declared a climate emergency.
Cllr Russ Bowden, council chair (pictured left), said: “Our old vehicles had reached the end of their useable life and the new vehicles, while costing slightly more to buy, will bring down our running costs significantly. Our maintenance team operatives have already tried them out and have been very impressed.”
Cllr David Ellis (right), who is also chair of the Warrington Climate Emergency Commission, said: “It is great to see Birchwood leading the way in the changeover to electric vehicles, and we look forward to seeing other parishes do the same. Diesel for our vehicles was our most significant source of greenhouse gases, and with this purchase we have reduced this by about 40 per cent, helping put us on target for our goal of net zero emissions by 2030.”

Clerks & Councils Direct March 2022

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RECORDING AT-RISK COASTAL HERITAGE

SEAFORD Town Council in East Sussex is working with Archaeology South-East, part of the Institute of Archaeology at UCL, to investigate and record Seaford Head, a nationally important heritage site that is at increasing risk of coastal erosion due to accelerating climate change.
The Seaford Head Project is trialling ways to improve understanding of coastal change, including 3D modelling and surveying with drones. It will also use podcasts and videos to engage local communities in a conversation about the inevitable loss of historic sites.
The headland includes an Iron Age hill fort, a Bronze Age barrow and a concrete structure from WWII and has views of the Seven Sisters cliffs. It has seen significant cliff collapses over the last year, and erosion is expected to increase in frequency and severity due to climate change.
The project is being funded by £18,975 from Historic England, with contributions from the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). It will provide a case study and template for other heritage agencies, landowners and community groups facing threats to their local heritage.
Town clerk Adam Chugg said: “As well as its archaeological significance, Seaford Head is an important area of chalk downland landscape, which includes a nature reserve managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust and a golf course run by the town council. As owners and custodians of the site, we look forward to learning more about the fort before the remaining parts of it are lost.”

Clerks & Councils Direct March 2022

SEAFORD Town Council in East Sussex is changing its mowing and planting regimes at a number of its sites to encourage biodiversity and enrich green corridors. Mowing will be reduced, in some cases to cut-and-collect once or twice a year, and more native or perennial plants will be used. On some sites edges or corners will be left to become renatured. None of the spaces will be completely rewilded, however, and mown pathways will be maintained so that people can enjoy the open spaces. In addition, the council is introducing the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee colours into its bedding planting schemes for 2022, and has given approval for a community food growing project.

Clerks & Councils Direct January 2022

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BUG HOTELS OPEN THEIR DOORS

YATE Town Council in Gloucestershire called on families in October half-term to help fill three new bug hotels installed at Millside Nature Park. The hotels are part of a wider project at the site that includes additional play equipment and a wooden sculpture trail. A workshop led by local wildlife experts taught children about pollinators and how to create insect-friendly spaces at home. The three bug hotels were then filled with logs, straw, bamboo leaves, roof tiles and other materials to encourage insects. Cllr Chris Willmore said: “A massive thanks to the residents who have helped with this project, and to all the young people who came out today to help build homes for local bugs. We will all be keeping a careful watch to see who moves in.” Additional interpretation boards created by chainsaw artist Andy O’Neill will be installed in the near future. Funding for the project came from Section 106 contributions from housing developers, secured via a bid submitted to South Gloucestershire Council.

Clerks & Councils Direct January 2022

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WILD ABOUT TREES

WEYMOUTH Town Council in Dorset, in partnership with the Friends of Lodmoor Country Park, has designed and installed an educational Tree Trail around the park. The circular trail helps children to discover a host of interesting facts about trees. It begins near the main entrance and highlights 16 trees and the animals that live in them, taking about 45 minutes to complete. A trail map leaflet can be downloaded from the council’s website, and paper copies are available at the park itself. The town’s mayor, Cllr Colin Huckle, said: “This is a fantastic free family activity which makes use of the natural resources in Lodmoor Country Park. I would like to thank the council’s Parks and Open Spaces Team and the Friends for their hard work on this project.”

Clerks & Councils Direct January 2022

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PLAN TO CREATE POLLINATOR PATHWAYS

ST ANDREWS Parish Council in Wiltshire has developed a new strategy over the past 18 months to increase the number of wildflower species growing in the parish, while creating spaces for the public to enjoy. The first area selected, part of Diamond Jubilee Park, was left uncut throughout the growing season in 2020. This allowed native plants to create a pollinator pathway, linking up different areas for wildlife seeking food and shelter while also spreading pollen. Every three weeks an inner pathway was maintained to create an attractive walk. An inspection in early autumn found many native plant species, including cow parsley, common hogweed, chamomile, field bindweed and bee orchids. From April 2021 further natural habitat areas were added, and plants spotted since have included moon daisies, pyramid orchids, speedwell, herb robert, cowslips and common ragwort. According to parish clerk Emma Sylvester, there will be further small additions to the management plan in 2022, and the parish council will monitor and evaluate its effects before making any further changes.

Clerks & Councils Direct January 2022

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OSS LAMENTS LACK OF ACTION ON PATHS

THE OPEN SPACES SOCIETY (OSS) has expressed dismay that the government’s new post-Brexit environmental land management scheme (ELMS), published on 2 December, fails to offer farmers payments for maintaining public access and paths on farmland. Together with other outdoor user groups, the OSS has called for ELMS to pay farmers for new and better public access to the countryside, by creating new routes for walkers, riders, cyclists and carriage drivers and improving existing paths. It argues that cross-field paths should be left unploughed, green lanes rolled and rights of way through grassland regularly mown, and that any landowner who blocks or abuses a public path should have grant payments withdrawn. However, none of this was addressed in the government announcement, according to the society, despite repeated assurances from ministers. Kate Ashbrook, its general secretary, said: “This is a huge missed opportunity to improve access and meet the targets in the 25-year environment plan, as well as to help with enforcement against path-blocking. The government has failed lamentably to deliver on its promises. We shall not give up, and shall keep pressing ministers to listen to all those who want better access to our countryside.”

Clerks & Councils Direct January 2022

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CLLR KK Manneh, leader of CWMBRAN Community Council in South Wales, recently inspected new equipment that the council has acquired to encourage wildlife and nature. He is pictured with a bug box supplied by Keep Wales Tidy for the council’s “Local Places for Nature” project. The council is hoping to welcome some interesting creatures to the site in the coming months.

Clerks & Councils Direct January 2022

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BUG HOTELS OPEN THEIR DOORS

YATE Town Council in Gloucestershire called on families in October half-term to help fill three new bug hotels installed at Millside Nature Park. The hotels are part of a wider project at the site that includes additional play equipment and a wooden sculpture trail. A workshop led by local wildlife experts taught children about pollinators and how to create insect-friendly spaces at home. The three bug hotels were then filled with logs, straw, bamboo leaves, roof tiles and other materials to encourage insects. Cllr Chris Willmore said: “A massive thanks to the residents who have helped with this project, and to all the young people who came out today to help build homes for local bugs. We will all be keeping a careful watch to see who moves in.” Additional interpretation boards created by chainsaw artist Andy O’Neill will be installed in the near future. Funding for the project came from Section 106 contributions from housing developers, secured via a bid submitted to South Gloucestershire Council.

Clerks & Councils Direct January 2022

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COUNCIL PROMOTES GREEN CREDENTIALS

THE Marlow Carnival returned to the Buckinghamshire town on 11 September after a two-year break. The event in Higginson Park included a special Green Village of stands featuring local environmental groups and initiatives. Marlow Town Council was there to highlight its Sustainable Marlow programme and other environmental work and to hear the views of residents. Its stand presented information on its carbon audit, the Marlow Environmental Performance Index and the recent Marlow Eco Schools Conference. There was also an interactive poster using stickers that enabled residents to say what they were doing to help combat climate change. Deputy mayor Cllr Jocelyn Towns, chairman of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, attended along with mayor Cllr Richard Scott and Cllr Colleen Stapley. She said: “It was great to have the Carnival back this year, and there was a great atmosphere in the Green Village. It was good to see so many groups taking part and the strong engagement of residents and visitors alike.”

Clerks & Councils Direct November 2021

TOTNES Town Council in Devon organised its own response to the COP26 Climate Conference taking place in Glasgow. COPnes26 was a two-week series of events designed to include the local community in responding to the global climate crisis. The town, which declared a climate emergency in December 2018, set up a dedicated website which, among other topics, explored questions such as how we can prepare ourselves for radical change and what small local areas can actually do.

Clerks & Councils Direct November 2021

SUPPORT FOR GREEN ACTION CAMPAIGN

SOUTH Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils were among those backing the Great Big Green Week national campaign, which ran from 18 to 26 September. The campaign aimed to encourage residents, communities and businesses to help tackle the climate crisis and protect and improve the environment. Over 5,000 events took place across the country in more than 1,000 locations, ranging from art installations, concerts and community stalls to climate cafes and everything in between. Many communities organised events to raise awareness and encourage people to take action ahead of COP26, the United Nations Climate Conference, which opened at the end of October. The two Oxfordshire councils ran an awareness campaign on their social media channels to highlight advice, local support and projects. They also encouraged communities to stage their own events to help foster continuing climate action across the districts.

Clerks & Councils Direct November 2021

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ECO CONFERENCE ON KIDS’ CONCERNS

PUPILS from 11 primary schools in and around MARLOW in Buckinghamshire pledged to help the environment during the town’s first ever schools eco conference, held online on 12 July. The event was led by Kevin Ford, head teacher at Great Marlow School, and organised by a volunteer group coordinated by Phil Irving of Sustainable Marlow, the town council’s environmental programme.
The aim was to inspire and motivate children to work together to tackle local and global environmental challenges, and it marked the start of an ongoing eco programme across all the town’s schools. Local environmental groups and national experts created videos for the event, including naturalist and broadcaster Steve Backshall and Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency.
Before the conference, primary schools were invited to share their key issues and projects, and these were collated into themes by secondary school students and posters were produced. Primary school groups then discussed the themes and agreed on their top priorities. Across schools, the top five were making homes for bees, more recycling, creating wildlife gardens and nature corridors and becoming plastic-free.
Individual schools pledged to work on many other projects, including creating eco-teams, reducing food waste, doing more outdoor learning, using solar energy, making vegetable patches, turning off screens, walking and cycling more, and encouraging fair trade.
Kevin Ford said: “Small local actions can make a big difference and we can achieve great things by working as one on shared priorities that the children themselves have decided on. I look forward to exchanging ideas and supporting each other when the new school year starts in the autumn.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2021

 

SEAFORD Environmental Alliance, in partnership with SEAFORD Town Council, hosted a Climate and Environmental Fair in the East Sussex town on 1 August. Titled “A Greener Seaford”, the eco fair highlighted how local people could reduce their impact on the environment.

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2021

WORKING FOR A GREENER FUTURE
GODALMING
Town Council in Surrey is continuing to reduce its carbon emissions. Its annual carbon audit showed that in the past financial year it had achieved an overall reduction of 36.8 per cent in kgCO2e.

The council began transferring its energy contracts in early 2020, and now all its electricity requirements are met by renewable electricity suppliers. This has saved an estimated 6,255 kgCO2e in comparison with non-renewable sources.
The reductions so far have been achieved at little or no additional cost. However, future reductions are expected to be more challenging and so the council is drawing up a strategic plan to identify options within its property portfolio.
Meanwhile on 14 August it hosted the Godalming Green Gala, its first sustainable living event for the community. This explored ways of protecting the environment and living more sustainably through choices such as eco-friendly food, ethical clothing and zero-waste produce. There was a wide range of stalls, with exhibitors including the Allotment Association, Godalming Nappy Library, Wild Learning and the Godalming Cycle Forum.

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2021

CUTTING DOWN ON FOOD PACKAGING

MOLD Town Council in Flintshire has won a prestigious environmental award for a year-long pilot project to reduce waste from food packaging. Its Naked Takeaway scheme won the Cittaslow Chiocciola Orange 2021 Award. Coming top in the environmental category, it was also voted overall winner of all seven categories at an online event held during the Cittaslow International Assembly on 12 June.
The scheme was launched in January 2021 by Mold, Caerwys and Llangollen town councils, with support from community groups and businesses and supported by a grant from the Welsh Government’s Circular Economy Fund.
It encourages takeaway customers to avoid single-use plastic and cardboard packaging. Instead, participating businesses offer reusable tiffin tins (a stainless steel set of stacking tins) or aluminium pizza cases, both of which can be reused time and again.
Mold is the first UK winner of the Cittaslow award, which was accepted on its behalf by Sam Hubbard of pressure group Mold Plastic Reduction. Both Mold and Llangollen are members of the Cittaslow network of towns, which aims to foster economic, social and environmental sustainability in 30 countries worldwide.

Clerks & Councils Direct, September 2021

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GOING GREENER

KIRKLEES Council has added 25 new electric vans to its Homes and Neighbourhoods fleet. As well as reducing emissions, the vans will reduce noise pollution. The West Yorkshire authority now has over 100 electric or hybrid vehicles and is expanding its fleet with a further £1 million investment, as part of a drive towards a carbon-neutral Kirklees by 2038. It is estimated that the 25 new vans alone will save 24,873 litres of fuel and avoid 65,166 kg of CO2 emissions annually. Cllr Will Simpson said: “This investment in new electric vehicles is another step in taking diesel vehicles off the road and out of our fleet. By converting our council fleet and equipment to ULEV equivalents, our vision of a carbon-neutral Kirklees is coming ever closer.” The council is now also able to fit greener technologies such as solar cells and wastewater collection across public buildings and its housing stock after gaining approved installer status.

Clerks & Councils Direct, July 2021

 

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ADDING CHARACTER WITH FEATURE TREES

FARNHAM Town Council in Surrey has been planting new feature trees in a number of its green spaces, including a small avenue of flowering cherry trees at the Evelyn Borelli Garden of Rest. Elsewhere, five multi-stem silver birch trees have been planted along a footpath to Farnham Maltings and a maple in Battings Garden. Town clerk Iain Lynch said: “We have introduced an annual tree-planting programme to improve the gardens and open spaces we look after and increase the number of specimen trees. We have chosen trees which are noteworthy for their size, flower, bark or relevance to the area. The trees will also help us as we work towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.” Community groups have been invited to sponsor a feature tree to be planted this autumn as part of National Tree Week. Each will have a plaque acknowledging the donor. Farnham has also been nominated to take part in this year’s RHS Community Awards, the only town in Surrey invited to participate.

Clerks & Councils Direct, May 2021

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COUNCIL PUBLISHES EMISSIONS AUDIT

MARLOW Town Council in Buckinghamshire has shown its commitment to tackling climate change by publishing a first detailed audit of its greenhouse gas emissions. It is one of the most comprehensive audits carried out by a parish-level council in the UK. It counts all the emissions produced directly by the council, as well as emissions from contractors it employs, services it pays for but does not manage, and even products it purchases.
It found that in FY 2019/2020 the council’s total greenhouse gas emissions were just over 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This compares with 9,000 tonnes of emissions reported by Buckinghamshire Council.
Marlow council leader Jocelyn Towns (pictured with councillors, in pink) said: “We recognise the need for every organisation to take responsibility for its own emissions. This audit tells us for the first time and in detail about where our emissions come from. This gives us the starting place to make reductions.”
Five council activities jointly contributed nearly 90 per cent of emissions, with the town bus service accounting for over 30 per cent alone. Transport as a whole, including the bus service, staff commuting and contractor vehicles, accounted for nearly half of all emissions.
However, management of the public realm, including grounds maintenance, security patrols and Christmas lights, resulted in more emissions than either public transport or council administration.
The council recently hired an independent environmental consultant to enhance its Sustainable Marlow programme. It is also committed to working with local interest groups, businesses and higher local government tiers and to engaging with local residents.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2021

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COUNCILLORS ROLL UP THEIR SLEEVES

Cllrs Liz White and Carol Davis, members of HERNE AND BROOMFIELD Parish Council in Kent and both tree wardens, have planted hundreds of trees at the parish’s Broomfield Community Park. The trees were sourced via the Woodland Trust’s MOREhedges scheme, which subsidised 75 per cent of the cost, with the parish council covering the rest.
The council sourced 625 trees to create a wildlife fruiting hedge, a mixture of crab apple, dog rose, hazel, hawthorn, holly and wild cherry. It planned to invite residents to plant them in a community event, but the Covid-19 restrictions meant that that was no longer possible. Instead, the pair rolled up their sleeves and have since made good progress, with over 400 trees planted.
They have received occasional help from fellow councillors Julia Davison and Debbie Checksfield, properly socially distanced, as well as many comments of support from park users. Carol, a tree warden for 30 years, has also planted a special elm tree to celebrate 30 years of the tree warden scheme. The tree is resistant to Dutch elm disease, and is one of only 30 planted in the UK.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2021

 ThameMayorTreePlanting_Mar21

RESIDENTS URGED TO GET PLANTING

THAME Town Council in Oxfordshire has launched a new tree-planting project, having already planted 420 tree whips received in November. Coronavirus restrictions mean that it cannot organise planting parties at present, so instead it is offering support to residents willing to plant trees themselves, either in their own gardens or anywhere else that they have permission. It is aiming to bulk purchase fruit trees, and will pay half the cost of the trees and stakes and guards, with a total budget of £500.
The mayor, Cllr Ann Midwinter, recently helped the council’s maintenance team to plant two ornamental pear trees and two winter flowering cherries on public open space in Youens Drive, replacing two horse chestnut trees that had to be felled due to bleeding canker disease.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2021

LoveMyBeach_Mar21

KEEPING WATCH ON COASTAL POLLUTION
Keep Britain Tidy’s project LOVEmyBEACH has called on regular beach users to help identify and report signs of coastal pollution to help protect the North West coastline.

Emily Parr, beach care officer at Fylde, said: “Major pollution incidents are well reported, enabling swift action to prevent further damage. In comparison, minor incidents often go unreported and have the potential to cause ongoing and significant environmental damage. Regular beach visitors are likely to be the first people to spot these smaller incidents.”
To help identify and report coastal pollution to the relevant authorities, LOVEmyBEACH has created a new leaflet that can be downloaded for free from its website. Among the common signs of pollution to watch out for are sewage, rainbow-coloured fi lm or sludge (indicating oil), high levels of litter or dumped waste and the presence of new substances or materials, such as palm oil.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2021

DONCASTER Council in South Yorkshire has carried out an independent review of its tree management policy to bring it in line with its climate commitments. The council declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in September 2019 and since then has set up an independent Climate Commission representing key agencies and partners in the borough. From this, it has developed its own environmental strategy and priorities.
The mayor, Cllr Ros Jones, said: “Trees form a large part of our carbon and biodiversity commitments, and the revised tree policy will look to consider this when deciding on tree removal and the location of replacement trees.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2021



Other areas » Hot Topics

MarlowWaterstation_Jan21

MARLOW Town Council in Buckinghamshire opened a new water refill station in late October, allowing residents and visitors to fill up their water bottles at no charge. The station, opposite the George and Dragon pub, was paid for using the Community Infrastructure Levy. The mayor, Cllr Richard Scott, said: “We’re hoping this will help reduce the problem of single-use plastic water bottles in the town.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2021