Local Environmental News and Projects

Local Climate Change News & Initiatives

 

Sustainable Wantage Nov newsletter includes hedge planting, swift boxes, Wantage Market Garden, screws and nails pick’n’mix, Repair Cafes, Community Larder (at The Beacon now not the Methodist Church Hall).

• Volunteer opportunities with Action for the River Kennet in November and December in the Marlborough and Hungerford areas including river restoration, tree and hedge planting and faggot-making.

• Paper tubes with metal ends (eg Pringle tubes) can now be recycled in West Berks. 

• Calculate your parish’s carbon footprint and compare it to the national average.

Food

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

Did you know 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.

There are lots of food saving tips on the lovefoodhatewaste website

• Parsons Down Eco-School in Thatcham is looking for donations of compostable bags for their food waste bins.

• There are several community fridges and larders (in Thatcham, Newbury, Wantage and Marlborough) available to anyone who wants 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

Reminder of why it’s important to record your local wildlife.

• Hedgehog campaigner Hugh Warwick needs our help to reach 1.5 million signatures on his petition and also to gather crucial data on wildlife in the new Mammal on Roads survey

 Why Wild Bees Matter – Roselle Chapman from Wild Oxfordshire

• Dung Beetles in the Downs by farmer & ecologist Sally-Ann Spence in Ashbury.

• Thirty eight million birds have been lost in the last 50 years. Please support the RSPB’s campaign to highlight the loss of habitat and nature here revive-our-world.rspb.org.uk

 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 & Buildings

• The National Self-Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon offers great impartial advice on retro-fitting your home to make it energy efficient.

 How to check if your solar PV system is working correctly

 Choices of renewable energy suppliers

• Green Mortgages are available to people who buy environmentally-friendly homes or make energy efficient home improvements. To find out more see here.

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

• Carbon Neutral Aldbourne group have negotiated a discount on solar panel installations for Aldbourne residents

Transport, Electric Cars & Tech

• The new Enterprise Car Club in Newbury has membership offers for West Berks residents starting at £1/yr (saving £59). Electric and hybrid cars can be rented for an hour up to 7 days.

• Did you know that leaving your engine running when stationary is not only bad for the environment but also illegal? See more here.

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

• Ingenious kite invention turns wind into electricity in Scotland.

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

Trees and Carbon Capture

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

 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.

 Transition Marlborough oversees the Community Orchard in Marlborough.

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

Water Quality

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 so we need to be careful how much water we use. There are also 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. 

What we can do to help:

• Reduce harsh cleaning chemicals by making clothes washing ‘soap’ from conkers

• Please 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.

• Make sure chemicals, plastics and pathogens don’t spill into surface water drains which flow directly into our watercourses including. It should only be rain that goes down these drains.

• Don’t put wet wipes in your toilet or cooking oil down your sink as they create ‘fatburgs’ in the sewage pipes the blockages will cause untreated sewage to enter our rivers.

Plastic & Recycling

• We can all help fight climate change by recycling because recycling currently saves 18 million tonnes of CO2 every year, which is the same as taking 12 million cars off the road. But 55% of households still put recyclable items in the general rubbish bin, including aerosols, plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles and cleaning and bleach bottles, not forgetting plastic tubs and trays that can be taken to local recycling centres.

To find out where you can recycle everything near you visit recyclenow.com/local-recycling

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

• 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.

• Recycle a wide range of packaging with Terracyle and raise money for charity – we collect crisp packets for Terracycle

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

Packaging Not Included zero waste shop in Marlborough is successfully reducing single use plastic.

An explanation of plastic recycling by Dr Peter Cox


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