Climate Emergency

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The Climate Emergency facing our world is a very real issue, but there is plenty we can do to take action to help protect our planet.

Cheshire West and Chester Council declared a Climate Emergency in the borough in 2019 and put forward its Climate Emergency Response plan, which aims to help the borough become carbon neutral by 2045.

This is a space to share ideas, stories and tips about what you are doing locally to reduce your carbon emissions and impact on the environment. Now's the time to react and play your part to make our borough carbon neutral.


The Climate Emergency facing our world is a very real issue, but there is plenty we can do to take action to help protect our planet.

Cheshire West and Chester Council declared a Climate Emergency in the borough in 2019 and put forward its Climate Emergency Response plan, which aims to help the borough become carbon neutral by 2045.

This is a space to share ideas, stories and tips about what you are doing locally to reduce your carbon emissions and impact on the environment. Now's the time to react and play your part to make our borough carbon neutral.


  • How we’re playing our part

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    The Council is committed to making changes across all our services to play our part to tackle the Climate Emergency and it is one of the Council’s seven key priorities, as set out in our Stronger Futures plan.

    The objectives that underpin this priority include:

    • Reducing the carbon footprint of the Council

    • Support the decarbonisation of energy, industry and business

    • Improve sustainable transport and infrastructure

    • Enable low carbon buildings, homes and development

    • Enhancing green spaces

    • Reduce waste and increase recycling

    As an organisation we have a target to be carbon neutral by 2030 and are leading by example to help the borough to be carbon neutral by 2045.

    Below are some examples of the work we’ve done so far to help achieve this

  • Put your lawnmower away for No Mow May

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    09 May 2022

    Cheshire West and Chester Council is supporting a national campaign this spring and will slow down its grass cutting operations to support animals and plant life.

    The Council will leave some areas of grass to grow to help biodiversity during the month of May, with a particular focus on pollinators such as bees.

    National charity, Plantlife, launched the #NoMowMay campaign on 22 April which challenges everyone to leave their mowers in their sheds for the month of May to allow pollen rich flowers for nature’s emerging insects.

    However, road safety is a priority for the Council, grass will still be cut in some locations such as at road junctions or bends where leaving grass to grow long could cause a danger. Grass cutting will also continue where needed for operational reasons, like football pitches, play areas and paths.

    Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport said: “May is an important month for biodiversity as the first nectar rich flowers are helping to sustain the emerging insect population. Taking part in No Mow May also supports the Council’s climate emergency declaration by reducing carbon emissions.

    “I hope many residents will join in the campaign too to boost biodiversity in the borough. Whether it’s a small patch or your whole lawn, you can have an impact.

    “Of course, road safety is a priority for us to, so road users can be assured that any necessary maintenance will be carried out and signage will remain clearly visible.

    “Our regular grass cutting schedule will begin again across the borough in June.”

    The Council is also continuing to implement its Wildflower and Grassland Strategy and native wildflower meadows are being planted in every ward in the borough using a bespoke seed mix to boost biodiversity.

    The seed mix that has been created by the Wildflower Centre based at the Eden Project. The seed supplier, Boston Seeds, has agreed to stock the ‘Cheshire mix’ so that anyone can order it and help to boost biodiversity in the borough. Residents can order the seed mix direct from Boston Seeds by calling 01205 280 069 and their website has some helpful guides on how to create a wildflower meadow in residential gardens.

    Councillor Shore added: “It’s also Global Bee Day on 20 May, so this month, please play your part to help our pollinators, by planting wildflowers in your garden or leaving your grass to go wild.”

    For more information on Plantlife, visit: https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk or https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/no-mow-may

  • Council's plans to work on weeds and welcome wildflowers

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    13 April 2022

    Cheshire West and Chester Council StreetCare teams have been working hard this winter to keep weeds at bay in the coming summer months. Plans are also in place to create a splash of colour in communities with wildflower planting, using a bespoke seed mix created by the Eden Project.

    During the winter of 2021-2022, the Council has undertaken a huge project to manually clear built-up detritus on the borough’s fast and busy ‘A’ roads.

    This detritus contains small, broken-down particles of natural materials including dust, mud, soil, grit, gravel, stones, rotted leaf, fragments of twigs and also seeds.

    If left in situ, the detritus could provide just the correct moisture and nourishment to create a growing medium for weeds, due to the seeds it contains. Especially at the edge of kerbs edge and other areas where there is less vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

    Now, many tons of detritus have been removed by the Council’s StreetCare teams– along with the weed seeds in it to try stop the growth of weeds on footpath and roads that both impact on the infrastructure and accessibility for users.

    The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said:

    “Having successfully completed all priority areas identified for detritus clearance during the winter period, we’re now much less likely to experience high levels of weed growth in our kerb channels and traffic islands in this coming season.

    “Where weeds do grow the council undertakes targeted weed control on roads, pavements, kerb channels and wall footings to keep them as weed free as possible.”

    To control weeds herbicide is applied twice a year, the first application between May and July then the second application from September to November.

    The work is undertaken by specially qualified and certificated operatives. The herbicide is only applied to weeds that are visible at the time of application, using approved herbicides applied at the manufacturers recommended minimum dosage rates for effective control. The Council is also looking to explore alternatives to herbicides.

    The herbicide is applied as a spray to the leaf of the weed where it is absorbed by the plant. Any chemical remaining on the leaf quickly dries and has no long-lasting toxic effects outside of the plants system. From initial absorption of the herbicide through the leaf, it can take 10-14 days for the first signs of the chemical’s effects to show.

    The Council’s native wildflower meadows will be created using a bespoke Cheshire seed mix that has been created by the Wildflower Centre based at the Eden Project. The seed supplier, Boston Seeds, has agreed to stock the ‘Cheshire mix’ so that anyone can order it and help to boost biodiversity in the borough.

    Residents can order the seed mix direct from Boston Seeds by calling 01205 280 069 and their website has some helpful guides on how to create a wildflower meadow in residential gardens.

    It is best to sow native meadows in spring or late summer on areas of bare ground, or ground that is low in nutrients.

    Cllr Shore added: “The Council is also making sure that grass and wildflower areas set aside for wildflowers and biodiversity are not affected by weed spraying.

    “Wildflowers need specific conditions to grow and they struggle to compete with lawn grass. Some Councils use herbicide to kill off the grass in preparation for seed, however we have made the decision to minimise the use of herbicide and will manually prepare the ground. We’re going to put signage up explaining this to residents in all the areas selected for wildflower planting.”

  • Council begins programme for borough-wide reflection on the pandemic

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    13 April 2022

    Preparation work and planting has started in Stanney Fields Park, Neston, front, left to right: Andy James, Greenspace Officer, Cllr Louise Gittins, Council Leader and Gordon Hunt from contractors Horticon Limited.

    Cheshire West and Chester Council has started to implement a programme of reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic, which will provide communities with spaces to reflect and opportunities to share their experiences.

    The first phase of the programme will see COVID-19 reflection areas created in parks across the borough, involving a reflective tree planting and associated landscape design.

    The work has been commissioned by the Mersey Forest team working together with the Council’s Greenspaces team. Planting is now taking place over the next three months in the following locations:

    • Castle Park, Frodsham
    • Grosvenor Park, Chester
    • Winsford Marina
    • Stanney Fields Park, Neston
    • Whitby Park, Ellesmere Port
    • Marbury Park, Marbury

    Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Councillor Louise Gittins said:

    “We have all been through the most challenging of times and this project will provide opportunities to reflect on how the pandemic impacted us all. It has brought sadness and grief, but also hope and determination as communities came together to support each other.

    “These lovely reflection areas will provide beautiful spots to take the time to pause from our busy lives and reflect on all our experiences over recent years. A chance to think about lost loved ones but also to celebrate all those people who went above and beyond, in the most difficult of circumstances, to help others.”

    Trees have been selected that flower in spring, between March to May, to reflect the time when the effects of the pandemic first reached the UK. Plants and trees with white blossom, stems or bark will create a theme for the reflection areas. Shrub and bulb planting will also extend the flowering season to create beauty all year round.

    The project has received a funding contribution from the Trees for Climate programme. The greenspace reflection areas will be followed by a targeted cultural programme of creative engagement with residents.

    Councillor Gittins added:

    “The Council is keen to first map what has already been done within our communities and within the Council to reflect and capture experiences of the pandemic, then wants to work closely with communities across the borough to find out how they would like to record their own reflections and see these presented. More details on the project will be announced soon.

    “This programme is first researching how the pandemic has impacted on Cheshire West’s communities. It will then appoint suitably experienced artists to work with residents from the summer onwards to choose how they would like their experiences of the pandemic reflected creatively. This programme will run until early 2023.”

  • Road Safety event helps to keep cyclists safe on roads

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    12 April 2022

    Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Road Safety team organised an event in Chester city centre to help educate the public on the safe distance to pass a cyclist on the road.

    At the event, held on Eastgate Street in Chester, advice was given using a Cycling UK ‘close pass mat’ which shows the safe distance that vehicles should pass cyclists on the road – safe and wide.

    The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said:

    “The Close Pass / Share the Road publicity event was a fantastic day of collaborative work at which vital messages were delivered to a huge number of people.

    “Our Road Safety team has said there were interesting discussions with both drivers and riders, often the same person. Drivers said using the close pass mat on the ground really made them think about the appropriate passing distance to ensure cyclists were kept safe.

    “Many thanks to the partners and Council officers involved in the event and spreading these important messages.”

    During the day, support from the emergency services included the Road Safety Education Officer from Cheshire Police, as well as officers from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, and a number of Firefighter and Community Safety Apprentices.

    Cheshire Police’s City Policing Team along with Community Safety Wardens who are partners of the Problem Solving Team designated to the city centre by Cheshire West and Chester Council were also at the event carrying out bike marking for members of the public.

    Each bike that was marked carried with it a QR sticker to track the bike if it was lost or stolen and the owner of the bike received a free bike lock, bike lights and a bell. Cyclists were offered security advice, the requirement for lights and high visibility clothing, along with the use of a bell in pedestrian areas.

  • Work completed on Chester's new surface water drain

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    6 April 2022

    The complex and challenging task of tunnelling under the city centre has now been completed.

    The new drain is a major future-proof environmental investment by Cheshire West and Chester Council in the city’s recovery from the pandemic, and an essential requirement ahead of major regeneration schemes, including the Northgate development currently under construction and set to open in the autumn.

    The new drain will replace a combined sewer system that was at capacity and runs south along St. Martin’s Way, Nicholas Street, Grosvenor Road and via Castle Drive to a new outfall on banks of the River Dee. It is almost one km in length, over one metre in diameter and required eight access shafts spaced along the route, each seven metres wide and up to twelve metres deep. In total, more than two thousand, six hundred cubic metres of soil and rock were excavated to form the tunnel.

    The tunnel engineers had to overcome many constraints including navigating around existing underground services (gas, electricity, drainage, sewers, telecommunications), man-made obstructions, archaeology, proximity of adjacent buildings and structures, and an underpass.

    A further challenge was posed when the route was amended to avoid an existing water main and pass under Chester’s historic city walls. This required Scheduled Ancient Monument consent and permission was required from the Secretary of State, Historic England and the University of Chester. Extensive monitoring and surveying ensured there was no disturbance to the walls.

    The new drain will also result in significant environmental protections and benefits; it will reduce flooding and drain bursts in the city centre; reduce the volume of water requiring sewage treatment; help cut energy use; and reduce untreated sewage discharges into the River Dee during heavy rainfall when the current network is already at capacity.

    Over ninety-nine percent of the excavations from the new drainage tunnel have been recovered or recycled, in line with the wider environmental strategy for the Northgate development. In addition, over two hundred tonnes of sand excavated from the tunnel were donated to Chester Zoo by the Council in partnership with its contractor VINCI Construction UK and has been used in the zoo’s black rhino and painted dog habitats.

    Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy and Regeneration, said:

    “I would like to thank everyone in Chester who has been impacted by these works for their patience and understanding; I recognise that at times the works have caused frustration, but I hope residents have come to understand the significant economic, social and environmental benefits of constructing the new drain, which has been the biggest infrastructure project in our city for over fifty years.

    “Completing the new drain has been a massive undertaking and it has required expertise from many contractors working in partnership to assist us. I would also like to thank them for all their hard work and commitment to this complex project.”

    Rob Symons, Contracts Manager from VINCI said:

    “Constructing the new drainage tunnel has been a major task; requiring two tunnel boring machines working in tandem using the latest pipe-jacking tunnelling technology which enabled over eighty-five percent of the tunnel to be excavated underground rather than via an open cut to minimise disruption above ground.

    “I would like to thank all our staff and contractors for their skill and commitment which enabled us to work through the pandemic with minimal disruption.”

    Just over £5 million was provided towards the drain costs by the government’s Getting Building Fund via the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.

    Trevor Brocklebank, Deputy Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP and Chair of Marketing Cheshire said:

    “This project is an important step in Chester’s economic recovery from the pandemic and I am pleased to see that it has now been completed.

    “We have a vision for Cheshire and Warrington to be the healthiest, most sustainable and growing economy in the UK and for this to happen major developments have to be supported by the necessary infrastructure.

    “Now, we can look forward to Northgate opening later this year. This is a really exciting time for Chester and through our work supporting the Destination Chester network we look forward to enjoying the benefits this investment will bring to residents, businesses and visitors.”

    Ian Wyatt, Business Customer Services Director at Welsh Water said:

    “We’re thrilled that Cheshire West and Chester Council's innovative approach to managing surface water in the new redevelopment area is now complete. Climate change is a huge challenge for us all and it’s only by doing things differently and working collaboratively that we’ll be able to adapt effectively.

    “This investment will benefit the local community and environment for many years to come and has an added bonus of increasing the capacity in the existing sewers, supporting Chester’s future development. When it comes to managing surface water, our developer services team is always open to working with stakeholders and developer customers on new approaches.”

  • Third round of Climate Emergency Fund launches

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    31 March 2022

    As part of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s commitment to supporting communities to tackle climate change, a third round of their dedicated Climate Emergency Fund has been launched this week.

    The funding will provide a financial boost for local organisations and Council projects that can reduce carbon emissions, helping the borough to become carbon neutral by 2045.

    Applicants are invited to submit bids by Friday 6 May 2022 deadline for a share of the £50,000 available in the third funding round (this relates to the financial year 2022-2023). Further rounds of Climate Emergency funding will be available from 2023 to 2024.

    The fund has been set up as part of the Council’s work to tackle the Climate Emergency, with local organisations that meet the funding criteria able to bid for a share.

    Successful applicants will need to provide evidence that their projects can be implemented swiftly and will make a positive contribution to the borough’s ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2045.

    Eligible organisations include town and parish councils, voluntary organisations, community groups, small charities and other not-for-profit-organisations.

    Examples of projects eligible for funding include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • Renewable energy projects.
    • Energy efficiency projects.
    • Heat pump projects.
    • Zero or low carbon transport.
    • Waste reduction.
    • Natural capital/natural environment projects.

    Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy and Regeneration, said:

    “We are pleased to be continuing our support for community organisations looking to tackle the climate emergency in their area, and this funding will help build on the enthusiasm, knowledge and determination of local people in communities across our borough. This Fund is a way to support these groups to deliver on a vision for improving their area by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making west Cheshire an even better place to live.”

    Rhian Edwards, Chief Executive of the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, who received funding last year, said:

    “We were thrilled when we got the email from the Council to tell us they had approved our application to the Climate Emergency Fund. The grant contributed towards us putting LED lighting in our In Patient Unit and the installation of a voltage optimisation unit which has benefited the whole of the site.

    “Both initiatives have helped us reduce our carbon footprint, a key aim of ours, plus, and as importantly, reduce our costs. Every penny counts, and the more efficient we can be, the more money we can spend on supporting patients and their loved ones”.

    Blacon Adventure Playground has also benefited from receiving funding during the second round of the Climate Emergency Fund.

    Paul Knight, Head of Avenue Services, who manage the playground, said:

    “The funding we received from the Climate Emergency Fund has enabled us to continue our journey in making Blacon Adventure Playground carbon neutral.

    “The funding is being put to good use and we have also been working with local children to educate them about the benefits of protecting the environment, including releasing a YouTube video and a game. The funding is helping to create a bike project as well as expanding our allotment space, creating a wildflower meadow, increasing our green roof coverage, purchasing a new water dispenser and battery powered leaf/litter collector, plus a number of other small projects.

    “None of this would be possible without the Climate Emergency Fund. A huge thank you from our staff who work at the playground and all of the families and children who use the site which is open 365 days a year.”

    To find out more and view the Climate Emergency Fund guidance, visit: cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/climateemergencyfund.

  • Swift and bat boxes installed at Chester Northgate

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    Twenty swift ‘hotels’ are being installed in the new Northgate car park brickwork, they will help reverse the decline of swifts in Chester, along with 2 bat boxes also. Cllr. Samantha Dixon, Chair of the Northgate Joint Member Working Group with John Dearnley and Roger Nutter, from Chester RSPB, came to meet the Vinci site team installing the boxes.

    Swifts are amazing! Did you know swifts can fly up to 800km (500 miles) a day on migration. Swifts spend their life almost entirely on the wing and even feed, sleep and mate in flight? They feed exclusively on insects and only come to land when nesting. After leaving the nest where they hatched, they'll keep flying non-stop for three years! They even eat, mate and sleep in the air - they can 'snooze' with one side of their brain at once, and then switch to the other side.

    More swift facts:
    About the Swift Bird Conservation Project | Help Us Help Swifts - RSPB

    You can play your part by making your own swift box, follow the instructions:
    Make a home for swifts (rspb.org.uk)

    Join the Chester RSPB Group:
    Home - Chester Local Group (rspb.org.uk)

  • Festival for the Future competition

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    24 March 2022

    What will the world look like in 25 years’ time? That’s the question being asked in an exciting new competition from Cheshire Museums and Libraries.

    The art and writing competition is open for young people aged between 4 and 16. Festival for the Future is a month-long celebration of sustainability and climate change across west Cheshire, beginning July 2022.

    Winning entries will be featured in this summer’s exhibition about plastic pollution and its impact on the environment at the Grosvenor Museum.

    Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “We’re looking for creative ways to imagine how the world will look in 25 years’ time. This could be a drawing, painting, writing, poetry, collage, let your imagination run wild, your entry can take any form as long as it fits on one side of A4.

    “Not only will the winning entries in each age category get family tickets to visit Chester Zoo, but the best entries will also be displayed in the Grosvenor Museum and made into an eBook by our libraries for www.borrowbox.com.”

    The closing date for entries is 4 June.

    First prize: family tickets to Chester Zoo
    Second and third prize: sustainable goodie bags
    Plus a schools’ prize: for the school who submits the most entries (relative to school size), Chester Zoo are offering a free online workshop.

    There are two age groups primary schools 4 to 11-year-olds and high schools 11 to 16-year-olds. The judges will be looking for creative responses that engage with the ideas of plastic pollution and climate change. What does the future hold for us?

    For terms and conditions and entry information, visit: westcheshiremuseums.co.uk/festival-for-the-future-schools-competition.

    Entries can be handed in at any Cheshire West and Chester public library, posted to Festival for the Future, Grosvenor Museum, 27 Grosvenor Street, Chester, CH1 2DD, or emailed to: libraryevents@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

  • Council to turn off lights of iconic landmarks as part of WWF’s Earth Hour

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    25 March 2022

    The lights of Chester Town Hall, Eastgate Clock and Newgate in Chester will be switched off for an hour at 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March, as Cheshire West and Chester Council joins millions around the world to support the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) Earth Hour.


    The annual event sees supporters in over 190 countries and territories unite to raise awareness of climate change and take action to ensure a brighter future for people and the planet.
    Cheshire West and Chester Council declared a Climate Emergency in the borough in 2019 and put forward its Climate Emergency Response plan, which aims to help the borough become carbon neutral by 2045.


    Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy & Regeneration, said: “Turning off the lights for Earth Hour is a symbolic way to show that we all care for the planet and highlights the urgent need for us to take action to address the Climate Emergency. Anyone can get involved, whether you are an individual, household, business, or part of a local group.


    “As a Council, we are working towards decarbonising our operations, with 14 Council-owned buildings recently having energy saving measures installed. Our Climate Emergency Response Plan sets out the steps we are taking to help the borough to become carbon neutral and lists ways that residents and businesses can play their part. I would urge anyone wanting to support the climate agenda to read our plan, get involved in a local environmental group or attend one of our Climate Emergency Taskforce meetings to find out about the role we can all play to ensure we look after our planet and have a more sustainable future.”

    The Earth Hour website (www.earthhour.org) has lots of ideas on how to spend the hour with your friends, family and community to make it an impactful evening to remember.


    If you are taking part in Earth Hour this year and would like to share details of what you, your household or business are doing to show your support, please add your story to the Council’s Climate Emergency Inspire hub. To add your story, simply register on the site first and scroll down to the ‘Your Story’ section. You can also add photos and videos alongside your story.

    ENDS