Chloe Clarke Sustainability Officer

About Chloe:

Chloe Clarke, Sustainability Officer

Chloe Clarke works as a Sustainability Officer for Adur & Worthing Councils. She works across the Councils and with the wider community to tackle climate change and protect the natural environment. She develops partnerships and projects with external organisations and helps drive delivery of SustainableAW. 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:

See also: SustainableAW and SustainableAW magazine


7th May 2022: Community Composting comes to Worthing

The first Community Composting scheme in Worthing has started in Victoria Park. The scheme now has over 40 households and two local businesses contributing their compostable vegetable waste.

The scheme has been set up by Rita Garner (photo below) as part of the Park Volunteer Gardening Group. Well done Rita and everyone involved in making this happen!

2022-05-07 - One of the community compost bins

This comes hot off the heels of the first scheme launched in Shoreham. Community Composting was put forward as a recommendation by local residents taking part in the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly as one way of tackling food waste. So it is amazing to see that there are now two schemes up and running!

The Worthing scheme has been funded by Worthing Borough Council's Community Infrastructure Levy. There has also been support from the Council's Park Ranger, alongside advice and guidance from Community Works and Brighton & Hove Food Partnership.

Even if we had a food waste collection scheme, this takes out waste and makes it into something useful that is used right near home.

2022-05-07 - Community compost bin - information panel (what can and can't go in the bin)

The compost they produce will be used in the raised beds in the park and any left over can be shared by scheme members for their pots. The bins were built off site with pre-used wood. They are designed so that any planks that need replacing can be easily done without having to buy a whole new bin.

2022-05-07 - Making the community compost bins

If you'd like to join the scheme, or find out how it was set up, please contact:

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9th April 2022: Bird migration along the south coast in spring

Tony Benton, Shoreham District Ornithological Society (SDOS)

My name is Tony Benton, from Shoreham District Ornithological Society (SDOS), and I am taking over Chloe's sustainability blog for this week.

Any time from mid-March onwards, bird migration should be evident along the south coast - and Shoreham Beach and Worthing Gap are good places to witness this spectacle. Birders will be very keen to see their first Northern Wheatear of the year, a harbinger of spring in the avian calendar.

In Shoreham, the best place to look for Northern Wheatears is on the beach (around the sea defence rocks west of the Ferry Road entrance), or at Shoreham Fort. Goring Gap is another very reliable place, both on the beach and in the fields just behind the beach.

2022-04-09 - Northern Wheatear (Pixabay - 5736208)

Northern Wheatears overwinter in Sub-Saharan Africa, across a broad front from Senegal to Kenya. These are tough birds, crossing deserts and the Mediterranean sea to get here in search of the opportunity to breed.

Migration happens at night and battling across the English Channel is yet another obstacle to be surmounted. So when birds arrive in West Sussex, you can be sure that they are voraciously hungry and in need of a full English breakfast!

The beach at Shoreham and Goring Gap is like a motorway service station - somewhere to temporarily rest and refuel before continuing with the journey.

A very small number of Northern Wheatears breed at Rye Harbour in East Sussex, but the birds seen on local beaches will almost certainly head to the North of England, Wales and Scotland to breed. Interestingly males arrive before females, in the hope of finding the best territories.

Hot on the heels of these brilliant birds will be the equally amazing Barn Swallow, with their distinctive forked tails and chattering call.

Barn Swallows spend the winter in Africa, with some being seen as far south as Cape Town in South Africa - over 6,000 miles away! Migrating Swallows cover 200 miles a day, mainly during daylight hours, at speeds of 17-22 miles per hour.

How a bird weighing a mere 17-20 grams can complete such an epic journey twice-a-year, is one of the marvels of migration. That's why I think that birds are awesome!

2022-04-09 - Barn Swallow (Pixabay - 1280582)

So the next time you're on the beach and notice a newly arrived Northern Wheatear or Barn Swallow, stop for a moment and be amazed because these birds have made a huge effort to put in an appearance and deserve our appreciation.

To find out more about birdwatching in Adur and Worthing visit the:

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12th March 2022: Community Composting Scheme launches in Shoreham

Last Sunday (5th March 2022) I went along to the launch of the new Community Composting Scheme at Apron Community Garden in Buckingham Park, Shoreham (on Facebook). It's such a lovely space they've created there, so I don't need much of an excuse to hang out with Lis and the team.

2022-03-12 - Compost in progress sign

It was a particularly special visit this time though as Community Composting was put forward as a recommendation by local residents taking part in the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly as one way of tackling food waste. So it was brilliant to see that Apron Community Garden picked this recommendation up and made it happen!

What are the benefits of a Community Composting Scheme?

It is estimated that kitchen waste makes up 40% of all domestic waste. Composting reduces the amount of waste in our bins and reduces the carbon footprint associated with waste removal and energy recovery.

Composting recycles waste into a valuable resource. Scheme members get a share of the compost produced, otherwise it goes to help more food grow within the garden.

There are also social benefits of joining such a scheme as you get to meet other people when you're dropping off your caddie and spending time in the community garden.

2022-03-12 - Spending time in the community garden

How it works

This scheme has been completely developed and set up by Apron (website). Lis also worked with a creative design student from Northbrook Metropolitan College to design the beautiful collection of card inserts for each member of the scheme to take away, so they're fully aware of what can go in the 100% recycled caddies and where to find the compost bins.

2022-03-12 - Beautiful collection of card inserts

My caddy is almost full, so I'll make that one of my daily walks this week to get away from the screen and pop up to the park and empty my vegetable peelings and other green kitchen waste (eg banana and avocado skins, tea bags and coffee grounds) into the compost bin. I'll then cover the compost with some of the bark mulch to layer the compost and deter any pests.

Find out more

Pop along to the community garden, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram to find out more about how to get involved in the scheme, or about getting involved in the garden too.

There is also a new scheme opening in Victoria Park in Worthing too. I'll hopefully visit them soon, so watch this space!

2022-03-12 - Working in the community garden

Note: all photos in this week's blog are courtesy/copyright © Apron Community Garden

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12th February 2022: Energy crisis

With energy bills soaring, Sustainability Officer Chloe shares some top tips on how to cut down on your bills, while also helping the environment ...

Over the last few weeks, I've been watching our home energy consumption far more closely than ever before. Unless you avoid the news completely, you'll be well aware that energy bills will rise by almost £700 a year for 22 million households in April.

When our energy provider went bust, we were switched to a more expensive deal with another supplier. They've just provided our first bill and it's gone up by a staggering £115 per month!

This is going to more than sting a little, so I'm on a mission to reduce our energy consumption as much as possible - whilst also looking at other savings we can make from our monthly outgoings.

However, although we'll really feel the pinch each month, I probably won't have to make the difficult decision to choose between heating or eating. Whereas for many people, this will absolutely be their reality.

If you're in this situation, you can contact:

2021-07-10 - Thermostat saying SAVE, wearing a hat (image supplied by Warmer Homes)

Top tips to save energy and money

I've been slowly working my way through all the top tips to reduce energy usage, many of which I'd already done in a bid to reduce my carbon footprint. I've officially turned into my parents, following my kids around turning lights off, unplugging devices, shutting doors and windows and asking why they're taking so long in the shower! I think the Energy Savings Trust has some useful information.

Here are some of their top tips:

1) Switch off standby: You can save around £55 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.

2) Draught-proof windows and doors: Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, or through the chimney. DIY draught proofing can be much cheaper than getting a professional in, so look for window and draught excluders, as well as window glazing sheets.

3) Turn off lights: Turn your lights off when you're not using them or when you leave a room. This will save you around £20 a year on your annual energy bills. Replacing all the lights in your home with LED bulbs could help you save even more.

4) Careful with your washing: You can save around £28 a year from your energy bill just by using your washing machine more carefully: Use your washing machine on a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures. Reduce your washing machine use by one run per week for a year.

5) Avoid the tumble dryer: Dry clothes on racks inside where possible or outside in warmer weather to save £55 a year.

6) Spend less time in the shower: Keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical household £65 a year on their energy bills.

7) Swap your bath for a shower: Swapping just one bath a week with a four-minute shower could save you £11 a year on your energy bills.

8) Be savvy in the kitchen: Avoid overfilling the kettle and save yourself £11 a year on your electricity bill.

9) Fill your dishwasher: Only run your dishwasher when it is full to reduce the amount of water you use. Reducing your dishwasher use by one run per week for a year could save you £14.

10) Insulation is key: If you want to keep your energy bills low and reduce your carbon emissions, installing insulation is one of the best ways to keep the heat in your home, and the cold out. Wall, roof and floor insulation are all worth looking into. Insulating your water tank, pipes and radiators is a quick and easy way to save money on your bills.

For the full list of tips and advice visit:

2022-02-12 - Internal wall insulation being installed (image supplied by LEAP)

Transition away from fossil fuels: The current energy crisis has been sparked by surging gas prices, shining a light on the UK's reliance on this fossil fuel. The Government's Net Zero Strategy sets out how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. If we successfully transition away from relying on imported fossil fuels by investing more in clean energy and energy efficiency measures like insulating our homes, we will make ourselves less vulnerable to global price rises in the future.

For further information on saving money on your gas and electricity bills:

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5th February 2022: Dreaming of Green Space

After two years of dodging it, Covid has finally caught up with me and my family. As a lover of food, not being able to taste or smell is rather annoying!

Strange symptoms aside, isolating for 5-10 days does mean that I’m not getting outside and into nature, something that I rely on to give my mental health a quick boost. Just a quick walk along the river bank with the chance to encounter a Kingfisher, or a chilly sunrise beach stroll at low-tide with a warming coffee in hand (oh I can’t wait to enjoy the taste of coffee again!) or a stride along the Downs, taking in the views and racking up a few steps in my lunch break. I’m counting down the hours until I’m off out!

New Salts Farm

There’s a wealth of evidence to show that being in nature can really help people’s wellbeing. Before the lurgy caught up with me, I had been enjoying getting away from my computer to go and visit New Salts Farm, a 70-acre area of grazing land, north of A259 on the eastern edge of Lancing. Adur District Council purchased the site off developers with a commitment to restore natural habitat.

2022-02-05 - Map of New Salts Farm

I’m fortunate to be leading a project to develop the vision for this site. Finally, a project meeting where I can occasionally swap my slippers for my wellies and get out from behind the screen to go on site to imagine what might be possible.

I’m working closely with the project team made up of council officers and external experts from the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust and Sussex Wildlife Trust. We’re also really lucky as there’s a range of community groups that have been enormously helpful in collecting and monitoring plant and bird species too.

Local residents that were involved in the A&W Climate Assembly specifically mentioned New Salts Farm in one of the 18 recommendations.

The vision so far

I’ve been working closely with Pete and Alistair from the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust to develop a plan for the site so we can apply for Heritage Lottery Funding. The vision is to restore streams, wetlands, hedgerows and meadows and to work with the local community to see how the space could be used for education around climate change, nature, flood risk, and food growing.

Have your say

We want to involve residents, community groups and organisations on this journey to help shape what happens here. We held two online webinars in December to start talking to the community about ideas for the site. You can see a recording of the online webinar here. The response has been really positive so far. You can have your say by filling out this online survey.

See the Worthing Herald's article on the future of New Salts Farm here.

PR21-173 - New Salts Farm was purchased by Adur DC

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22nd January 2022: Tales from the river bank

Following on from our tour of the Adur Estuary in December with the Shoreham District Ornithological Society (SDOS), Tony Benton has offered to write a guest blog every season to highlight the birds that you might spot locally at different times of the year. It's important to grow our awareness of both the changing seasons and our changing climate and how birds and other species can fluctuate in response.

Tales from the river bank, by Tony Benton

Tony Benton, Shoreham District Ornithological Society (SDOS)

At this time of the year, the River Adur Estuary is a really important place for birds that are sitting out the winter. One such bird is the Lapwing.

Lapwings are distinctive birds with their green upper parts and punky hair styles - although in flight they appear to be black and white.

2022-01-22 - Lapwing (Pixabay - 4795584)

When it comes to breeding, they are birds of farmland, nesting amongst cereal and root crops. But outside of the breeding season, they like wet areas, so the tidal river in Shoreham is a great place to hang out. In recent weeks there's been about 90 birds seen on a regular basis. But last winter the peak number was around 150 and they are a great sight when they take off and swirl around in a noisy flock.

Lapwings have declined dramatically in the UK - for example between 1987 and 1998 lapwing numbers dropped by 49 per cent in England and Wales.

This was due to a combination of factors including large-scale changes to farming, with areas of grassland being converted to arable, marginal land drained and improved, as well as chemicals being used intensively as fertilisers and for pest control. The net result is that a bird that was once familiar has become increasingly scarce and this is reflected in the decline in numbers seen along the river in Shoreham.

One of the best places to see Lapwings is between the railway bridge over the river and the old wooden Toll Bridge. At low tide you will find them feeding on the intertidal mud banks, or resting on the salt marsh. This stretch of the river is actually so important for wildlife that it's designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. And with good footpaths on either side of the river, you can enjoy the birds, and sometimes the sight of a seal, without causing disturbance.

If you live in Shoreham, or are visiting, then there's always something to be seen down by the river. A pair of binoculars will help, but even without you won't miss all the gulls - and if you're lucky you'll see the Lapwings too. I think they're rather special - see if you agree!

From Tony Benton, on behalf of Shoreham District Ornithological Society

Thanks Tony! That's great to hear more about the lovely Lapwing.

Get involved in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch

RSPB

Don't forget that next week it's the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch where you can take part in one of the biggest citizen science projects to gather data on bird life in gardens, parks and beyond.

In 2021, more than one million people took part, all coming together to look out for birds. Why not join in and be one in a million for 2022?

Shockingly, we've lost 38 million birds from UK skies in the last 50 years, so it really is vital we do all we can to look after our birdlife.

It's easy to get involved, simply count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour between 28th and 30th January 2022.

To find out more and sign up to take part, visit the RSPB's website:

2022-01-22 - Blue tit (Pixabay - 4731661)

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15th January 2022: New year, new plans to tackle food waste

Today I am taking a look at food waste and how we can improve the huge amounts we discard by making simple changes ...

In my house I tend to completely ignore 'Best Before' dates, and unless it's meat or fish, I also ignore 'Use By' dates too. My kids think I'm a bit strange for doing this, although I'm trying to teach them otherwise, whilst tucking into my yoghurt that apparently should've been eaten in December!

Find out more about Use By and Best Before labelling - on the Love Food Hate Waste website

I see that the supermarket chain Morrisons has just decided to remove Use By dates on milk too, encouraging customers to use the 'sniff test'.

See Morrisons scraps 'use by' date on milk in favour of sniff test - on the BBC website.

Milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK after potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints wasted every year, according to Wrap, a non-for-profit consumer group that promotes sustainable food through minimising waste.

Wrap also estimates 85 million pints of milk waste may be due to customers following 'Use By' labels, despite research showing it can be used days after the date.

Morrisons believes the move could save seven million pints of its own-brand milk being poured away each year.

Wasting food feeds climate change

According to data from West Sussex County Council, approximately 30% of our waste in our bins is food. Nationally, around 70% of food that is wasted could have been eaten and is thrown away due to being past its 'Best Before' date.

This 'edible' element of household food waste is responsible for 14 million tonnes of CO2 alone - as much greenhouse gas produced as flying from London to Perth more than 4.5 million times.

2021-02-27 - Wasting Food feeds Climate Change banner (image credit/copyright WRAP)

Commercial food waste collection launched

Locally, we're doing our bit to tackle food waste. Adur & Worthing Councils have launched a new food waste collection service for local businesses. The food waste that is collected is treated sustainably and used to generate energy.

With up to 33% of waste collected from local businesses being food, the new service is already helping divert hundreds of kilos of kitchen leftovers and plate waste away from landfill.

This is not only good for the environment but also cheaper for the companies and the Councils in the long run.

Video: New commercial food waste service launches | Adur & Worthing Councils

See also: Press release - New commercial food waste service launches

What about household food waste?

The government has committed to roll out separate household food waste collections across the country by 2023, as part of the Environment Act, which became law in November 2021. The Department for Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) will work closely with local authorities to introduce these changes.

The Environment Act will help the transition to a more 'circular economy', incentivising people to recycle more, encouraging businesses to create sustainable packaging, making household recycling easier and stopping the export of polluting plastic waste to developing countries.

For further information on reducing your own food waste, visit the Love Food Hate Waste website

For more information about food related actions you can take at home to reduce your impact on the climate, visit Climate Action - what you eat

Photos: Use By and Best Before dates

2022-01-15 - Use By and Best Before dates

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Page last updated: 11 May 2022

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