Chloe Clarke Sustainability Officer
Chloe Clarke has just started at the Councils as the Sustainability Officer. She will be working across the Councils and communities to address the Climate Emergency and ecological crises. She'll be developing partnerships and projects with external organisations and helping deliver SustainableAW and a new Adur & Worthing Climate Plan. Chloe says:
“I'm really pleased to be working as the Sustainability Officer in this growing team. I'll be working on all things sustainability, including reducing plastics, increasing active travel and supporting the establishment of an Adur and Worthing Food Partnership. It's great to feel like I'm doing something positive towards the climate and nature emergency that is upon us, including helping with the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly. With a degree in Ecology and Conservation, my passion is around biodiversity and the natural environment so I'm excited to connect up with the great work already being done on this locally.”
You can read Chloe's current blog posts on this page below:
This week I've been plotting out how best to connect and collaborate with community groups, businesses and organisations to see if they have actions they want to put forward into the shared SustainableAW action plan. This was launched at the end of 2019 to help tackle climate change and protect our natural environment. At the moment, the plan only contains actions that the council is delivering, but it has always been the intention to make this a shared plan with the wider community of Adur and Worthing.
So over the next few months I'll be meeting with lots of different people to hear what they're working on to see if they want to put forward actions into the plan. These will go alongside actions that were suggested at the community-led Zero2030 conference (on the FutureLogic website).
Adur & Worthing Councils are committed to addressing the nature and climate emergency. Because of this we have greater impact by working together. This plan is shared with our local community and business partners. These are our key action areas as part of our long term vision for a sustainable Adur and Worthing:
Whilst scrolling on Twitter, I came across a brilliant partnership project that has just been announced between the Shoreham Port and the Sussex Dolphin Project (previously called the Brighton Dolphin Project) to restore and rewild key areas of the Port. This is exactly the sort of project that we'd love to see within the SustainableAW plan.
The project aims to work with the local community on sustainability and conservation issues. It will deliver an education programme focused on the importance of coastal/marine ecosystems and open access to coastal habitats within the Port. Highlights include:
- Rejuvenation of wild banks and green spaces within Shoreham Port to increase biodiversity, working with local community groups and conservation organisations.
- A Marine rewilding programme with relevant species and habitats.
- Expert and public forums to discuss, improve and showcase the project.
Image: credit courtesy Shoreham Port and Sussex Dolphin Project
I love the sound of this project and I know the A&W Climate Assembly members will too. Increasing biodiversity in our green spaces was a very important theme for them and this was reflected in multiple recommendations, including the support for kelp restoration, rewilding green spaces and increasing local community food growing. #AWClimateAssembly.
Get in touch:
If you are a community organisation, group, business or public sector organisation and you'd like to join up with us to help tackle climate change and protect our natural environment, please do get in touch:
This week there's been some excellent news that trawling is no longer allowed over a large area of the seabed off Sussex thanks to a new byelaw. This is a major win for the #HelpOurKelp campaign and the reintroduction of kelp forest to the Sussex coast.
See the video below of Sean Ashworth, Sussex IFCA, react to the trawling ban and future restoration of kelp on the Sussex coastline: (Credit: Big Wave TV)
The Near Shore Trawling Byelaw, which will exclude trawling from 304 square kilometres of seabed off the Sussex coast, has just this week been confirmed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). I have definitely had a real spring in my step as a result - it's so good to have some positive news!
The byelaw saw overwhelming support, demonstrated by almost 2,500 people who responded to the Help Our Kelp campaign. As soon as I heard about this scheme a few years back I knew it was a real gem, so I have been following it closely and with great anticipation.
More recently at the A&W Climate Assembly, I listened to discussions between members about the restoration of a kelp forest. Most people were really excited about the prospect of something like this happening in our local area and there was majority support for the recommendation.
Climate Assembly Recommendation 1: Support the restoration of natural kelp - promoting the positives and managing the negative effects on the environment and the local community
Earlier in the week, it was great to go along to a Sussex Wildlife Trust webinar to hear all about the Help Our Kelp project and learn lots about the ecology and all round amazing-ness of kelp. It took me right back to my days as a BSc undergraduate studying Ecology and Conservation! You can catch up with that webinar via the Sussex Wildlife Trust's YouTube channel:
The project has been led by a partnership between Sussex Wildlife Trust, Sussex IFCA, Blue Marine Foundation and BigWave TV.
Adur & Worthing Councils are part of a wider stakeholder group that will help support this project as it grows and develops over the coming months and years. I for one can't wait to see the kelp flourish and our seas and coasts be all the richer as a result.
To find out more about the campaign, watch the excellent Help Our Kelp video which is narrated by Sir David Attenborough (below) or visit the Sussex Wildlife Trust's website (Help our Kelp).
This week I met up with A&W Climate Assembly Members. It was great to reconnect with them all and reflect back on the recommendations they created - find out more about the Climate Assembly recommendations on our website.
Three of the eighteen recommendations focussed on waste and resources, looking to promote the 5 Rs to refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle alongside promotion and ongoing support for initiatives like Repair Cafes and composting.
Shoreham and Worthing both have Repair Cafes, but these have been dormant since the arrival of Covid. We really hope to help the cafes with trying to secure a more permanent space and to recruit more volunteers to help run the cafes to maximum effect.
The Repair Cafes help you to repair clothes, toys, bicycles, laptops, computers, small household electrical/electronic items, small items of furniture and knife/scissor sharpening. They also offer PAT testing, a refill service and other useful advice around energy and recycling. Wouldn't it be fab to have a Repair Cafe on every high street?
Photos: Repair Cafe (credit/copyright Adur Repair Cafe)
Did you hear the good news this week about the 'Right to repair' law that will come in this summer? Find out more about the 'Right to repair' on the BBC News page.
I used to do quite a bit around tackling food and plastic waste in my previous job and remember Brighton's 'Resource Goddess', Cat Fletcher, saying to me “There's no such thing as waste, just stuff in the wrong place” and it really made me stop and think.
Pretty much everything we buy can be used again, repaired, or turned into something else. It's about changing our mindset and habits of just throwing it away, getting a new one or upgrading. That's not to say I don't do this, because I do, but I'm so much more aware of just not buying as much 'stuff', utilising what I've got, shopping more second hand and always passing on things we've outgrown. But I want to do much more - composting, recycling everything that isn't collected in the blue bins, and making creative things out of stuff that I've already got. Most of that comes down to time ... I just need more time!
Locally, we've got our own Resource Goddess. Emily has been running Over the Moon, a not-for-profit arts organisation that runs creative reuse and craft projects in Adur. They've also run large-scale events, including REclaim - a creative community recycling 3-day festival, plus they run the Adur Repair Cafe (on hold due to Covid).
Now Emily is looking to progress that to the next stage and has set up a crowdfunding campaign to open The Scrap Space, a place where they plan to bring a scrap store and creative community activity space to West Sussex.
What is a scrap store? A place to donate clean, safe, reusable commercial and personal waste to be redistributed to individuals and organisations for creative reuse. A place full of lovely things that might have otherwise been thrown away.
There will be creative activity sessions, education, DIY, theatre and packs of materials and craft kits for individuals, groups and schools to use. You can find out all the details on The Scrap Space crowdfunding webpage.
Video: The Scrap Space
Please take a look at the video and importantly donate what you can and share with your friends, family and neighbours. This will be a great asset for our community and a step towards helping to shift our mindset from being a place that wastes stuff to a place that values resources and uses them creatively.
Good luck Emily!
Photos: Scrap space lovely things - buttons, threads, cut out letters and wool (credit /copyright The Scrap Space)
If a Council buys a 70 acre plot + 45 acres + 100 acres, how much land would that Council bought? 215 acres? That is correct! Sorry, the homeschooling has affected my head! But silly sums aside, the news that Adur & Worthing Councils have acquired a third piece of land with a view to restoring natural habitat, is something quite extraordinary.
Having declared a climate emergency in July 2019, the Councils are putting their money where their mouth is and have made this impressive commitment to acquire land with a long-term aim to restore ecologically important habitats, to increase biodiversity, mitigate flood risk, boost carbon storage and ensure the land will be there for the enjoyment of future generations.
Adur District Council acquired two areas of farmland, Pad Farm (45 acres) and New Salts Farm (70 acres); and Worthing Borough Council acquired land just below Cissbury Ring in the South Downs National Park, Shepherds Mead (100 acres).
You can find out a bit more in our SpringForward podcast - Tales from the Riverbank.
Photo: Pad Farm, one of the areas recently acquired by Adur District Council
This week I've been busy getting the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly Recommendations Report designed. The Executive Summary and Full Report are now available on our website. Seven of the eighteen recommendations put forward are in some way connected to boosting biodiversity in our local area as this was felt to be such an important issue.
Next week, I'm excited to be meeting up online with some of the Climate Assembly members. I'm going to listen to what they’d like to see happen next and how they'd like to be involved. I'm also going to share with them all that's been going on since they presented the recommendations to the Joint Strategic Committee in January.
As well as the three natural habitat projects, our brilliant colleagues in the Parks & Foreshore Team have been doing lots in our local parks and green spaces, with hundreds of trees being planted, areas left to rewild, wildflower corridors being sown imminently and a whole range of improvements to Brooklands Park. This includes the creation of an amazing partnership project between the Friends of Brooklands Park, Food Pioneers and Creative Waves that will see a corner of the park turned into a learning wildlife haven. Lovely!
Also this week, I went to a fascinating online event run by Sussex Local Nature Partnership. It was all about nature-based solutions to carbon capture and sequestration. So what does that mean?
Investing in nature could help tackle the climate crisis. Our habitats on land (green carbon - eg plants, trees and soil) and in and around our oceans (blue carbon - eg sea grass, ocean sediments and salt marsh) all play a role in removing human-made carbon emissions and storing them. But in order for the habitats to play this important role, we need to protect and restore them.
The Wildlife Trusts have published a report, Let Nature Help - how nature's recovery is essential for tackling the climate crisis.
“It is now clear that we cannot tackle the climate crisis without tackling the nature crisis - the two are inseparable. The climate crisis is driving nature's decline while the loss of wildlife and habitats leaves us ill-equipped to reduce our emissions and adapt to change. It makes no sense to continue destroying natural habitats when they could help us - nature's fantastic ability to trap carbon safely and provide other important benefits is proven.” - The Wildlife Trusts
And finally, this week over 50 nature organisations signed an open letter to the Prime Minister to lead the way globally on commitments to nature by putting nature promises into law ahead of hosting global talks.
So this week I made a classic online shopping error and over-ordered on the ginger! So I've just got to think up some tasty recipes to use up the 1kg of ginger that I received with my online shop.
I don't like wasting food. In my previous role I worked quite a bit on providing information for food businesses about how they can tackle their food waste. So I've become quite militant about making sure all the food in the fridge is used before it goes off. My most wasted foods used to be bread, bananas and bags of spinach, which marries up with the top five wasted foods in the UK - bread, milk, potatoes, bananas and salad leaves.
These are my top five tips of how I've reduced food waste in our house:
- Make a weekly menu: Only buy what is on the menu, check the fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what is there first. This has also saved me £ too!
- Use up fruit and veg before they go off: We always use our overripe bananas to make milkshake, bruised apples to make stewed apple or crumble, and I make a 'Green Soup' (which one of my kids will actually eat!) which is basically onion, garlic, frozen peas, stock and then whatever green leaves you have in the fridge, particularly bags of spinach or watercress that typically go off within a day of opening.
- Keep sliced bread in the freezer: I only take out what I need. I also blitz the end of the loaf into breadcrumbs and keep a bag of them in the freezer too so that I've always got a supply to use in recipes.
- Get to know portion sizes: I stopped cooking too much pasta or rice by using this handy portion planner on the Love Food Hate Waste website.
- Ignore 'best before' dates: Your food will be at its best before the date given but it will still be safe to eat for a long time after this date - just use your senses, look, smell, taste before you throw. 'Use By' dates refer to safety, so should be followed.
It's great to see the UK's first ever Food Waste Action Week will run from Monday 1st to Sunday 7th March 2021. Can you take the challenge to reduce your food waste to practically zero? Go on! To find out more about the Food Waste Action Week challenge, look for WRAP on social media or visit the WRAP website.
Did you know that:
- throwing out food is one of the biggest contributors to climate change? When we waste food, it's not just the food we're wasting, it's the resources it takes to produce it - like water and the land that could have been cleared to create the space to grow it, too.
- wasted food produces six times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as global aviation?
The food-sharing app, Olio, has made a great clip with some sobering statistics about food waste:
I hope you can join me in taking the Food Waste Action Week Challenge.
This week's blog is brought to you by Carol Murphy, Project Manager (Carbon Reduction) in the Sustainability & Carbon Reduction Team at Adur & Worthing Councils.
I joined the Sustainability Team last October, bringing my background in solar to the newly created Carbon Reduction Project Manager role. Solar PV (photovoltaic) has been my focus for the last 8 years since I graduated as an energy engineer and it's been great to see how the Councils are really committed to meeting their carbon neutral targets, in part through the installation of more solar panels to add to those at Portland House, the Shoreham Centre and Splashpoint in 2020 with South Downs Leisure and Brighton Energy Cooperative.
Photo: 40kWp Solar PV Panels installed at Adur & Worthing Councils civic offices at Portland House back in 2018
Photo: 100kWp Solar PV installed at Worthing Borough Council owned Splashpoint Leisure Centre
Since joining, the team have all been busy with different projects and funding opportunities and coincidentally during my first week of work, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS - on the GOV.UK website) was launched. It's a government funding stream to provide funding for carbon reduction on buildings where the Councils pay the energy bills.
Since then I've been kept busy helping Dan Goodchild, the Councils' Carbon Reduction Manager (who is also another new member of the Sustainability Team) develop projects for the scheme.
Just recently, we were incredibly fortunate to be awarded funding of over £2 million for Adur District Council, Worthing Borough Council and Adur Homes, to allow the Councils to install heat pumps, rooftop solar PV (yay!) and a range of building fabric and building energy efficiency improvements.
Photos: Solar panels on roofs and being installed on a roof (images provided in press pack from Solar Together)
Not only are we focused on reducing the carbon impact of the Councils' estate, the Sustainability Team are supporting local residents to install solar (and batteries) on their roofs at a discounted price through the promotion of a group buying scheme, called Solar Together Sussex.
The scheme was launched last autumn and has been a great success in Adur and Worthing, with a massive 713 households registering interest in a solar PV installation and 68 households registering for a battery system to be retrofitted to an existing solar installation.
Across East and West Sussex, 97% of those who are moving ahead with the work are now at the survey and installation phase, so we could soon see lots of new solar installations across the roofs of Adur and Worthing.
We are hoping to run another scheme with West Sussex County Council, who set up the contract, and iChoosr, who arranged the group buying scheme as this has been so successful.
I'm excited for the year ahead as it's full of lots of interesting projects to deliver and, with the timely launch of the PSDS, it's so great to have the chance to make a big impact on the Councils' carbon emissions in my first year with the team!
Shoreham FC shoots to the top of the league against climate change
The last time I went to a football match was when I lived in London and I'd go and catch Arsenal play at their old Highbury ground (Thierry Henry scored a hat-trick - result!). I've visited the BHAFC Amex stadium a few times, but I've never been to my actual local football club, Shoreham FC. So it was with great surprise to get an email from Stuart Slaney, their Chairman, following the press release we put out about the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly, to tell me what they'd been doing to tackle their impact on the environment.
With a bit more time on his hands since COVID, and an 18-year-old son that is convincing his dad to go vegan and turn their club 'green', Stuart is a man on a mission to make Shoreham FC top of the climate action league. Today I had a great chat with Stuart to find out more.
Shoreham Football Club is the first non-league club in the world to have signed up to the UN's Sports for Climate Action pledge. Stuart plans for the club to be carbon neutral within a couple of years. Not only that, they are hoping to influence their supporters, the local community and fellow clubs to do the same. I love this!
They are focusing on three contributing areas to climate change: energy, transport and food/catering - as these account for the majority of everyone's daily carbon footprint.
So far they have:
- Switched their energy provider over to 100% renewable energy
- Replaced 38 old tube light fittings and replaced them with LED lights
- Moved away from plastic bottles and pint glasses and introduced recycling bins throughout the grounds
- Replaced all polystyrene takeaway containers with recyclable ones
- Introduced multiple vegan options on their menu (with really positive feedback received from supporters)
- Upgraded the heating system in the clubhouse
- They are encouraging their supporters to take active and low carbon travel to the ground and off-setting supporters carbon footprint on match days
- Planting 30 trees a month through a carbon offsetting scheme
- They will be installing a water recycling system to use on the main pitch
The floodlights are the next big thing on the to do list, but this will need huge financial investment, so they're currently looking at sponsors for this.
They have produced their own Environmental Policy and made this public on their Shoreham FC website along with a club statement about climate change. They also include information to their 400 supporters and members via their newsletter.
Whilst they were going to make these changes anyway, Stuart tells me that it's been a complete bonus that they haven't cost them anything so far. Their new 100% renewable energy tariff with Octopus has been cheaper than their previous provider, plus Octopus have agreed to help the Club 'inset' into local nature-based projects, rather than offsetting their carbon by investing in projects elsewhere. They also won a £25,000 Buildbase bursary, so have been investing that into all the necessary improvements to the grounds, but making sure everything they do is with the climate in mind. You can find out more about their winning bursary on the FA website.
I watched a webinar this morning about the UK reaching net zero by 2050. It is clear that this target absolutely won't be met unless significant behaviour changes are made and this will require mass engagement with the public to let them know what steps they can and should take.
One of the things that the members of the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly said, is that ideally messaging to the community should be delivered by the community.
Which is why this is so great. Stuart and the Shoreham FC have far greater connection with this local community than me/the Councils could hope to have. The conversations he's having with supporters on the stands about the vegan menu or their green energy tariff, will be far better received from Stuart, than from us. We can still help support Stuart to do this, connecting him up with any contacts we might have and promoting the work that he is doing at the club. He is definitely one of our local Community Climate Champions.
If your organisation or business is taking steps to tackle climate change, or, if your organisation wants more support to make changes like Shoreham FC has done, then please get in touch:
I think everyone needs some positive news about now. January lockdown feels like a struggle, doesn’t it?
Mixing up work with homeschooling is definitely a challenge too - fractions to decimals (using a whole new method that only makes sense to the teachers) followed by a zoom call about Biodiversity Net Gain, followed by adverbials and conjunctions (whatever they are) and back to running an online workshop at the Chief Exec’s Climate Change Board. Phew. Once the kids are in bed, I put my feet up and watch something gentle on the TV - nature, baking, gardening, lovely walks - anything but the news!
But I have to say I was relieved to hear some news this week - the newly sworn-in US President Biden signed an executive order on his first day of office to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, one of a sweep of executive orders to tackle the climate crisis. This is good news.
There are other reasons why 2021 could be a positive year for a low-carbon future. There’s been bolder climate commitments from the UK, the EU, China and now hopefully the US in the run up to the Glasgow COP26 climate summit in November.
For the first time renewable energy investment will exceed that in fossil fuels. Growth in sales of electric cars continues to boom. Locally, the amazing sustainable supermarket, HISBE (How It Should Be), opened up a new store in Portland Rd, Worthing this week. I’ll be sharing more on that soon. My brilliant colleagues in the Sustainability Team have also successfully secured multiple funding bids to help the Councils achieve their own Carbon Neutral targets.
Last week I attended the Councils’ online Joint Strategic Committee to hear Mary, one of the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly Members, present the set of recommendations from the Climate Assembly. Thank you Mary, you did a great job!
The Assembly Members spent a long time crafting the recommendations, rewording and finally voting on them so that the majority were happy and in agreement. Eighteen recommendations were put forward under six key themes:
- Biodiversity and green spaces - This was a very important theme for everyone and includes support for kelp restoration, rewilding green spaces and increasing local community food growing.
- Information and education - They would like to see easily accessed sources of information and places of excellence where learning about key sustainability issues can take place.
- Green Finance and Energy -These recommendations aim to ensure green energy schemes are available and affordable for everyone in Adur and Worthing.
- Planning - They felt really strongly that the planning system needed to support the highest levels of biodiversity and sustainability.
- Transport - They want to see low carbon transport and active, connected travel promoted, encouraged and supported.
- Waste reduction and recycling - These recommendations look to promote the 5 Rs to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover alongside promotion and ongoing support for initiatives like Repair cafes and composting.
Throughout these first few months of 2021, I’ll be sharing the recommendations in more detail along with proposals on how we aim to deliver them. I’ll also introduce you to the lovely Sustainability Team.
At the end of 2020, we produced the winter edition of SustainableAW, our online magazine that showcases the amazing climate and nature work going on in our local area. I’d recommend switching off the news, making yourself a cuppa and having a read about some truly positive stories and projects that are really making a difference here in Adur and Worthing.
Read the latest version of SustainableAW here:
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Page last updated: 06 April 2021