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Climate Change


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LAUNCH FOR GREEN LIVING PLAN

THAME in Oxfordshire launched its Green Living Plan in early October, a 10-year plan for a cleaner, greener town. It has been developed to protect and enhance the quality of life for residents and includes over 180 recommended actions and projects to involve and benefit the whole community.
Some of these actions will take time, money and effort, such as the continued push for a Haddenham to Thame cycleway. The Thame Green Living group, with the support of the town council, will help to drive such plans forward, but many actions are smaller and achievable by individuals and families playing their part.
Meanwhile September was another busy month for the Sharing Life Trust, which runs the town’s food bank. Its volunteers delivered 57 food parcels, which provided for 66 adults and 70 children. This compared with 70 food parcels in August for 95 adults and 106 children.
It also launched a community larder on 3 September. This operates every Thursday afternoon and already has 48 members, who are offered a wide range of non-perishable and fresh supermarket surplus items. The larder is open to anyone and is not means-tested.

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2020

COUNCIL CELEBRATES CUTS IN CARBON USE

GODALMING Town Council in Surrey achieved a significant reduction in its carbon footprint in the year to 31 March, with its carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) usage down by 21 per cent year on year. The figure was contained in the council’s annual carbon audit, presented to the environment and planning committee on 17 September. The council calculates its emissions using the Carbon Trust Carbon Footprint Calculator, a tool designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Reductions resulted from simple but effective changes, such as the replacement of old light fittings with new LED lighting, a new hot water and heating system in the Pepperpot building and more efficient hand dryers in public toilets. The council will complete the transfer of its energy contracts to renewable energy suppliers this month, meaning that all of its electricity requirements will be met from 100 per cent renewable energy, certified by UK guarantees of origin.
Cllr Steve Williams said: “This shows that simple changes make a big difference and that many other businesses in the town, as well as individual residents, could also reduce their carbon footprints and energy costs by following the same simple steps. Added together, these would have a greater cumulative effect.”
On 8 October, the council awarded its first carbon reduction and biodiversity grant, giving £3,000 to the Godalming Cycle Campaign to cover the cost of a feasibility and design study for a section of the Guildford–Godalming Greenway, a cycling and walking route connecting the two towns.

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2020

WARMINSTER Town Council in Wiltshire has been consulting the public on its draft climate change strategy. Cllr Steve Jeffries, chairman of the climate change working group, said: “The council has already set out its Declaration on Climate Change, and the draft strategy sets out its strategic aims. Once the strategy is adopted, the council will also have an action plan which will set out how to implement it.” Both documents were available on the council’s website, with a deadline of 23 October to submit feedback.

Clerks & Councils Direct, November 2020

 

WITNEY GETS UK’S FIRST TINY FOREST

WITNEY Town Council in Oxfordshire joined forces with environmental charity Earthwatch Europe to plant the UK’s first-ever Tiny Forest on 14 March. Staff, councillors and volunteers planted 600 trees on a plot the size of a tennis court.
According to Earthwatch, Tiny Forests provide an innovative solution to the challenges of climate change, with direct links to local-level climate and biodiversity strategies. Mimicking native woodland, they are ideal for urban areas where space is limited and deliver significant benefits, including flood mitigation, improved air quality, noise reduction near roads, havens for wildlife and spaces for people to connect with nature.
Modelling shows that, four years after planting, a Tiny Forest will grow up to fi ve times faster than traditional monoculture tree-planting schemes and absorb up to 30 times more carbon, attract more than 500 species of animals and plants and process 30,000 litres of rainfall.
Cllr Vicky Gwatkin said: “Tiny Forests demonstrate that, far from being a sacrifice, the shift to ‘green’ can actually provide a range of other community benefits. It is a privilege for Witney to have the UK’s first.”
Tiny Forests are based on a forest management methodology developed in the 1970s by Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki, and over 3,000 have been planted worldwide. A second UK pilot is planned for Oxford. Witney declared a climate emergency in June 2018 and is committed to becoming net zero carbon-neutral.

Clerks & Councils Direct, May 2020

 

VOLUNTEERS from community group Buckingham Table helped plant 12 saplings along the riverbank in Bourton Park in mid-March to improve the appearance of the area and help increase biodiversity. A small parcel of woodland was planted with clusters of black poplars (Populus nigra betulifolia) and alder (Alnus glutinosa). It is believed that a rare black poplar was given to the people of BUCKINGHAM by Queen Victoria to celebrate her visit to the town. Cllr Ruth Newell, chair of the town council’s environment committee, said: “We are grateful to Buckingham Table for their generous donation and for helping with the planting, which also contributes to our climate emergency action plan."

Clerks & Councils Direct, May 2020

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A TEAM of volunteers planted six new fruit trees in Seymour Park in MARLOW in Buckinghamshire in early March. The day was organised by community group Transition Town Marlow (TTM) under the banner of Releaf Marlow, a new tree-planting project run in cooperation with the town council. The trees have expanded a community orchard started four years ago by TTM, and replace trees damaged by a traveller incursion.
TTM paid for the trees and the necessary equipment, using reserves built up via a monthly market run by volunteers. Organiser Liz Lorente said: “Many thanks to the 15 volunteers who braved the weather. It is always lovely to see local people working together and making new friendships, while providing a much-needed local resource. The orchard has made a real difference to Seymour Park, [making it] a warm community space for dog walkers, football players and children.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, May 2020

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CHILDREN from SANDFORD School in Devon helped to plant 125 trees to mark the 125th anniversary of Sandford Parish Council in mid-March. They were thanked by parish clerk Malcolm Vallance, who also expressed thanks to the Woodland Trust for providing the saplings free of charge and to council chairman Cllr Jim Stephens and a team of volunteers for preparing the land and digging the holes in advance. He noted: “Another event for the parish records and for posterity has been achieved.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, May 2020

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FROME Town Council in Somerset got its Wild about Trees project off to a good start in February half-term with two tree planting days attended by over 500 volunteers. They planted more than 1,200 saplings at two sites, with a variety of UK native tree and shrubs species sourced from the Woodland Trust. These included common oak, rowan, wild cherry, beech, silver birch and hawthorn, providing a good mix of native woodland.
The mayor, Cllr Mark Dorrington, said: “It’s been such a great start to our overall campaign to plant a tree for every person living in Frome, all 27,000 of us, over the next three years. These efforts are contributing to our overall goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, May 2020

 

COUNCIL SETS UP CLIMATE FORUM

MEMBERS of GODALMING Town Council in Surrey agreed in February to establish the Godalming Climate Forum (GCF), following their declaration of a climate emergency in July 2019. Cllrs Jo Purvis and Shirley Wardell have been nominated as group coordinators and the GCF will meet quarterly, sharing ideas and expertise with environmentally concerned groups in the local area.
It will seek ways to encourage the community to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity to encourage resilience. It will seek to protect natural habitats, promote strategies to reduce, reuse and recycle waste and provide information to promote understanding of impacts on climate change.
The council is also now accepting applications to its carbon reduction and biodiversity projects fund. Applications will be considered for projects involving energy conservation and renewable energy, low-carbon transport, farming and food, particularly organic locally sourced food, community involvement in reducing CO2 emissions and the enhancement of wildlife habitats.

Clerks & Councils Direct, May 2020

COUNCIL DECLARES A CLIMATE EMERGENCY
GRIMLEY
Parish Council in Worcestershire has declared a climate emergency. It passed a resolution in November 2019 recognising the urgency of the situation and aiming to inform residents and take all possible action to combat the threat of global warming. The declaration includes aims to help regenerate and rebuild parish ecosystems and to promote and support adaption measures to reduce risks. The council chairman, Cllr Dave Stanley, said: “Our emergency declaration is an opportunity to create a better and sustainable future for ourselves and our children.” Volunteers are being sought to join a working party, exploring ways for residents and the wider community to make a difference and suggesting projects to contribute towards a more sustainable and lower-energy Worcestershire. It is hoped that neighbouring parish councils and other local organisations and authorities will get involved, according to clerk Lisa Stevens.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

ACTION PLAN ON CLIMATE CHANGE
MEMBERS of WARMINSTER Town Council in Wiltshire voted unanimously at a full council meeting on 20 January to approve a series of actions to help combat climate change. First, they resolved to set up a climate change working group to produce an action plan. The group will consist of three councillors and will be open to outside representatives. Other actions included conducting a green audit of council activities, taking on a leadership, education and information providing role on climate change action and continuing to support the work of the Neighbourhood Plan Review Working Group. In addition, the council will work in partnership with the Warminster Area Board and Wiltshire Council on their climate change agendas and will strive to become a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030. As a first step, it will switch to a renewable energy supplier for its buildings. Cllr Denis Brett was one of the three councillors nominated to the working group, along with Cllrs Steve Jeffries and Tony Nicklin.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

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PLANTING TREES FOR THE FUTURE

THE mayor of SWANSCOMBE & GREENHITHE in Kent, Cllr Peter Harman, lent a hand with a tree planting project in Swanscombe Heritage Park on 4 February, supported by the town council. Twenty trees, including wild cherry, field maple and silver birch, were donated and planted by local company Optimum Power Services to help with the environment, and its staff were helped by volunteers from the North West Kent Countryside partnership. In addition, working with the Woodlands Trust, the council has taken part in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Project, according to town clerk Graham Blew. This has involved it purchasing and planting 45 cell-grown saplings, also in the Heritage Park.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

BILLINGSHURST Parish Council is planning to plant 33 trees on highway land this coming autumn. The council will use £5,000 from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds and is asking residents to suggest where trees should go. It will work with the county council to choose suitable sites and varieties and to plant and look after the trees.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

RESIDENTS of WEYMOUTH in Dorset helped to plant 105 trees at the Links Road open space on 22 February, including English oaks, common hawthorn, rowan, field maples and hazel. The town council has declared a climate emergency and has committed to making its activities net zero carbon by 2030. Planting trees is one of the many actions it is taking to achieve this. The mayor, Cllr Graham Winter, said: “Planting trees helps to offset our carbon emissions and promotes biodiversity within our open spaces. This is a great opportunity for us to work together with the local community to make a positive difference and create a greener environment for all to enjoy.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

A PROJECT in THAME gave away trees free to local residents for planting on 15 February. Thame Trees, under the 21st Century Thame initiative, has committed to be part of the “1 million trees” Woodland Trust campaign, National Tree Week and the Big Climate Fightback, and has pledged to help plant 500 trees in the Oxfordshire town in 2020. The initiative is sponsored by a number of local businesses.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

COMMUNITY ATTAINS PLASTIC-FREE STATUS
SEAFORD in East Sussex has been awarded Plastic Free Community status by marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in recognition of its work in reducing the impact of single-use plastic on the environment. Resident Claire Sumners started the campaign in March 2018 after running beach cleans. Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, she pulled together local organisations and businesses to draw up a five-point plan. A community-led steering group was established to promote education and encourage businesses and other organisations to minimise their use of disposable plastics. Members have spoken at various clubs and events, and the group is collaborating with Sussex Wildlife Trust. Local schools took part in a Plastic Free Week in May 2019, after which there was a big increase in children and families attending beach cleans. Claire Sumners said: “It has been a labour of love at times as it does take time, effort and multitasking to make ourselves heard but, as we start a new decade, I know it has all been totally worth it.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

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WATER FOR ALL

MARLOW Town Council (MTC) and Wycombe District Council (WDC) have joined forces to provide a new water refill station for the Buckinghamshire town. Cllr Suzanne Brown used her WDC ward budget to pay for the installation in Higginson Park, while WDC paid for the connection. Phil Irving, a member of the environment working group who championed the scheme, said: “It’s becoming easier and easier to carry a water bottle and refill it. And that means fewer bottles bought, drunk and thrown away.” People are also able to refill bottles free of charge at cafes, bars, restaurants and other businesses displaying Refill window stickers. The photo shows Cllr Brown with Jane Hack from the environment working group

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

 

PARISH JOINS THE REFILL REVOLUTION
DRAYCOTT Millennium Green Trust has installed a water bottle refill station at the football pavilion at Draycott Playing Fields, encouraging people in the Erewash district of Derbyshire to use reusable water bottles to reduce waste and litter. The purchase of the fountain and signage was enabled by grants from Erewash Borough Council, the Drinking Fountain Association, the local Rotary Club and Draycott and Church Wilne Parish Council, according to clerk Sheena Butcher. Val Clare, chairman of DMGT, said: “I am delighted that the parish council has been able to facilitate the installation of what I am sure will be a very popular addition.” The group is also working with local businesses, encouraging them to sign up to the Refill app and provide free tap water to passers-by.

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

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ELECTRIC CHARGING POINT GOES LIVE
THE first of more than 100 new electric vehicle charging points in public car parks across West Yorkshire has been installed at Oldgate in HUDDERSFIELD town centre. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), supported by the Local Transport Fund, is leading an initiative to encourage the use of lowemission vehicles. Seventeen of the sites will be in Kirklees borough, as part of the £3 million scheme to improve the county’s air quality. The sites will be free to use until the end of October 2021 and each will have two bays, one for taxis and private hire vehicles and the second for other users. The rapid charging points typically take under an hour to provide a full charge, depending on the vehicle. Parking will be free in pay and display car parks, but limited to a one-hour stay. Cllr Naheed Mather, cabinet member for Greener Kirklees, said: “Our responsibility to tackle climate change is something we take very seriously. We have a strong and ambitious plan to make Kirklees carbon-neutral by 2038 and a part of this is to invest in greener forms of transport.”

Clerks & Councils Direct, March 2020

BRIDLINGTON Town Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Woodlands Trust worked with local schools and colleges over a week in late November to plant hundreds of trees, as part of the Big Climate Fightback. An event to celebrate the partnership was held at Jubilee Woods on 30 November and was attended by the mayor and councillors, along with volunteers and children. By the end of the first week of December over 600 trees had been planted in Bridlington as part of the Northern Forest, with the hashtag #everytreecounts drawing attention to the initiative.

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2020

COMMUNITY EFFORT TO PLANT MORE TREES
A NEW community project to plant more trees in and around MARLOW in Buckinghamshire was officially launched at the end of October. Releaf Marlow aims to increase the number of trees as part of the #sustainablemarlow initiative launched by the town council in July. It is a joint project with community group Transition Town Marlow, and is supported by a group of volunteers. It was kickstarted with a £1,000 donation from the Marlow and District Wine Circle. Council leader Jocelyn Towns said: “Releaf Marlow is a great example of the community working together towards the vision of a more sustainable town.” Nick Rowcliffe of Transition Town Marlow added: “As the project develops, we hope to plant a variety of species in a range of locations, from larger trees at gateways to the town to orchard planting in community areas.” The project is being run in close c-operation with Wycombe District Council’s tree officers. In the first phase, volunteers will identify spaces where new trees can be planted, while the second stage will be to secure permissions from landowners and additional funding from sponsors. Residents are being encouraged to get involved, as sponsors, tree planters or tree wardens.

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2020

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GOING GREEN
BUCKINGHAM
Town Council has purchased an electric van for its Greenspaces Team, enabling it to serve the community in a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way. The Renault Kangoo vehicle is 100 per cent electric, and will be used for duties including building and parks maintenance and event support. Councillor Ruth Newell, chair of the environment committee, said: “I am pleased that we had the opportunity to replace one of our vehicles and that we have been able to fund an electric vehicle in line with our Climate Change Action Plan.” Feedback from staff using the vehicle has been described as “excellent”.

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2020

 

 SUSTAINABILITY IS TOP OF THE AGENDA
SEVENOAKS Town Council has made climate change and carbon neutral initiatives its top priority. It recently resolved to formally recognise government and Kent County Council declarations aiming for zero carbon and to integrate these into its emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) and its general operations. It has started work on an Action Plan to review the way it works. Among other ambitions, it will aim to reduce traffic, particularly school traffic, encourage increased use of public transport, install electric car charging points and recommend 20mph one-way systems. It will make all new council buildings as sustainable and ecofriendly as possible and improve existing ones, will plant more trees, especially fruit and nut trees, and will promote initiatives such as the Refill Scheme and Sevenoaks Plastic Free Pledge.

Clerks & Councils Direct, January 2020





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