Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Campaigners reveal plans to help town fight climate change

WATLINGTON Climate Action Group has unveiled its list of priorities to make the town more environmentally friendly.

It has suggested a number of steps under the headings of reduce/re-use, education and support for individual actions, energy use and efficiency of homes, tree planting and transport.

These were presented at a council meeting on Tuesday by Kate Brown and Nicola Schafer, who co-chairs the group.

Measures include the town going plastic free, a repair cafe where people can takes items to be fixed and a “library of things” where people can borrow useful items for the home.

Mrs Brown told the meeting: “One of the main ways to tackle the climate emergency is to use less stuff and produce fewer new things. We have got to encourage people to share, to buy second-hand, repair things and keep them in use.”

Other initiatives include a website with information such as recycling points and businesses offering sustainable products. A buildings advice bureau to help people make their homes more efficient and make greener choices was also suggested.

The group plans to work with the Watlington Environment Group and Watlington in Bloom to audit possible locations controlled by the parish council for rewilding and tree planting programs.

A community car share scheme is also being considered but will not be looked at until the spring.

Mrs Brown said easy steps to take by the parish council would be to add a “green award” to the town’s community awards, which were held for the first time this year, and to support plastic free Watlington by completing an audit and promoting the initiative.

It is also encouraging the council to put the climate at the heart of every decision, from purchasing to planning, and even suggested a “green levy” in the money the council raises from council tax.

Parish council-led projects put forward by the group include a town centre drinking water fountain, a community energy generation scheme, wildflower planting on verges and in parks as well as encouraging cycle use.

The group was set up in late April and quickly attracted more than 200 members who want to take steps to address the climate emergency through community initiatives and supporting individual actions.

Mrs Brown said: “It’s happening already, it’s been observed for 40 or 50 years, and it’s really gathering pace.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have said we have eight years now to keep within the carbon budget that’s been defined. The point is we have got to take action now.”

Watlington Parish Council declared a climate emergency in March and wants to reduce its impact on the environment and review all its activities and policies accordingly.

Council chairman Matt Reid thanked the group for its hard work and the council will now discuss the proposals in its operations committee.

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