Local Environmental News and Projects

Eco News

West Berks finally recycling range of hard plastics including yoghurt pots and punnets.

Carbon reduction work in three schools and a community building funded by half a million pound grant

• Transition Marlborough Spring news includes free bee seeds give-away, permaculture course, plans for a community fridge and volunteers needed to tend community orchards.

Tescos stores (including Newbury, Hungerford, Marlborough, Swindon) are now collecting these soft plastics for recycling: cling film, bread & salad bags, pet and baby food pouches, crisp packets, fruit and veg packaging.

Stay of execution for bees in 2021 as government decides that neonicitinoids can not be used by sugar beet farmers after all.

 Sustainable Wantage April news 

 Friends of the Earth appeal – are your local councils pension funds invested in fossil fuels

Local Climate Change Initiatives

• Scouts’ woodland diversity and pre-school energy efficiency projects receive Newbury Town Council’s first climate change grants

 Conversation with Claire Willser from West Berkshire Climate Action Network and Green Councillor Steve Masters on 4LEGS Radio (listen from 29 minutes in – includes an explanation of how XR Citizen Assemblies work)

• Carbon Neutral Aldbourne group are worth following – lots of great ideas.
 
 Hungerford Environmental Action Team suggests 10 ideas for taking action to protect the environment

Food

• Price comparison between food shopping at Packaging Not Included zero waste shop in Marlborough versus the supermarkets 

• The methane emissions of rice cultivation has the same climate impact as aviation.

 

It is commonly accepted now that meat (especially beef) production creates a lot of carbon. But you also have to take into consideration carbon emissions of fruit and vegetables that are flown around the world

 Local honey suppliers in your area

Reducing Food Waste

Wasted food contributes 8–10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and roughly one third of food produced around the world is wasted.

lots of tips on the lovefoodhatewaste website

 Jo from The Mix in Wantage explains how their Community Fridge and Store Cupboard works to reduce food waste. 

 Lambourn Valley residents can share food for free on this facebook group

 Anyone can use the Olio and Too Good to Go apps to rescue local food going to waste

 

Wildlife

 Why Wild Bees Matter – Roselle Chapman from Wild Oxfordshire, Oct speaker for Wantage Cafe Scientifique

 BBOWT (Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust) facebook page has lots of advice on supporting wildlife and making your garden wildlife friendly. They have a lovely guide to looking after wild bees in your garden. 
 
 Interesting discussion about the benefits of re-introducing beavers to help manage wetlands

Green Homes

 the national Green Homes Grant voucher scheme is now closed but new funding delivered through local authorities in England will help lower income households to cut emissions and save money on bills, 

 

Transport, Electric Cars & Tech

• According to this league table by Dr Ivanova, the biggest impact on emmissions can come from the amount and way we travel.

 Hungerford’s Fuel Cell Systems – at the cutting edge of hydrogen train and plane testing

 Do you know what is going on with HS2?

The Role of Trees in Carbon Capture

 • Hampstead Norrey Community Shop is planting its own orchard of heritage fruit trees

 Exciting progress of West Berkshire’s Lockdown Woods projects in Hungerford and Newbury initiated by Newbury Friends of the Earth

 Environmental benefits of timber as a construction material

 HS2 refutrees find new home in Lambourn

 Trees for Schools – free saplings and resources from The Tree Council

•  Fight for our remaining woodlands like Piggy Wood in Thatcham which is under threat from developers.

Water & Cleaning Products

We share the water on the planet with wildlife. The more water that is tied up in homes and sewage systems means lower river levels. There are a lot of chemicals we use in our homes that are not caught in the sewage system but end up in our waterways, threatening beneficial insects and inverterbrates that are at the bottom of the food chain. And if we create ‘fatburgs’ in the sewage pipes by putting cooking oil and wet wipes down our sinks and toilets, the blockages will cause untreated sewage to enter our rivers.

What we can do to help:

• How to make clothes washing ‘soap’ from conkers

• Do not let your dog swim in rivers or ponds soon after it has been treated for fleas, ticks etc as the chemicals in the treatment will harm the beneficial insects and inverterbrates in the water.

• surface water drains are a major pathway for pollution into our watercourses including chemicals, plastics and pathogens. It should only be rain that goes down these drains

Plastic & Recycling

• According to Oxfordshire Recycles, the carbon impact of food going to waste is bigger than the impact of the plastic packaging. A wrapped cucumber lasts 3 times as long as an unwrapped one! However, 79% of all plastic items ever produced are still in the environment and having an impact on the planet.

• Recycling Hive website explains where everything can be recycled in Newbury, Thatcham and Wantage areas. 

• Thatcham & Newbury plastic free, recycling & zero waste facebook group answers a lot of questions about where things can be recycled locally

• Tescos stores (including Newbury, Hungerford, Marlborough, Swindon) are now collecting these soft plastics for recycling: cling film, bread & salad bags, pet and baby food pouches, crisp packets, fruit and veg packaging.

• Packshare website allows you to donate packaging materials to local companies.

Packaging Not Included in Marlborough has proved a huge success in reducing single use plastic

 Newbury EcoBricking group puts unrecyclable plastic to good use. 

Clothes & Shopping

• How to take a more sustainable approach to your wardrobe…without buying a single thing by Victoria Lochhead from Frankie & Ruby Dress Agency

• It was inspiring to chat with Karen Kirton from Berkshire on a Budget about her progress and ongoing plans for a No Spend 2020 including testing free offers on food apps, free pampers and make-up samples, free music lessons and computer support. Listen here:

Local Environmental Groups

Please consider joining a local group to meet likeminded people in your community and learn more about actions you can take to reduce waste and fight climate breakdown. (Please leave a comment below if you would like to have your group featured here).

 
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Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale