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.


  • Council’s Love Your Streets campaign backs Great British Spring Clean

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    22 March 2022

    Cheshire West and Chester Council is encouraging people to play their part and help clean up litter in the borough during Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean 2022.

    This year’s campaign, called One Bag Big Difference, running from 25 March to 10 April, calls on families, neighbours, friends and colleagues to pledge to pick a bag of litter from nearby streets and beauty spots.

    As well as polluting our streets, open spaces and parks, litter harms wildlife and costs the council money to clean up that could be spent on other services.

    The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: "During the pandemic we’ve gained a new appreciation of how important our outdoor spaces are to us.

    “Litter picking is something that anyone can do and removing just one bag of litter helps our environment, improves our community and boosts our own mental health. If lots of people carry out this small action, it could make a huge difference to the places we live.

    “Of course, litter only exists because people drop it. It's important that everyone takes responsibility for their waste and either puts it in a public bin or takes it home with them.

    “I hope as many people as possible get involved with this year’s Great British Spring Clean You might choose to pick up just one bag, or you could set yourself a #BigBagChallenge and collecting a bag of litter every single day during the campaign. Many thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who litter-pick regularly in their area.”

    Schools in the borough can also get involved in the Great Big School Clean. Keep Britain Tidy states that if every child who attended school in the UK pledged to pick up just one bag of litter during the Great Big School Clean, we could remove 10.3 million bags of litter from our natural environment.

    As part of the Council’s Love Your Streets campaign litter picking kits are available to hire free of charge to help groups and individuals wanting to do their bit for their community. If you would like to hire a litter picking kit, please get in touch with the Council’s ‘Your Streets ‘officers by emailing: YourStreets@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

    Litter picking kits are also available at all the borough’s Libraries – just call in, show your library card and play your part.

    Pledge to get involved with this year’s Great British Spring Clean on the Keep Britain Tidy website and show your support for the campaign on social media with photos of you or your group litter picking, using the hashtags #GBSpringClean, #BigBagChallenge, tagging in @Go_CheshireWest.

    https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/great-british-spring-clean

    ENDS

  • Successful funding bid to create more energy efficient homes

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    16 March 2022

    More than 100 homes across the borough are to be made warmer and more energy efficient following a successful funding bid.

    Funding worth £538,000 from the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will be spent on retrofitting energy efficiency measures to 125 properties mostly in Blacon in Chester.

    Once complete, the works - which will be carried out between April 2022 and the end of March 2023 - will mean the homes will be more efficient to heat and help to reduce the impact of rising energy bills.

    The scheme is being delivered by Sanctuary, in conjunction with Cheshire West and Chester Council.

    Donna Williams, Sanctuary’s Group Director – Sustainability and Climate Change, said: “It’s such welcome news that we have secured a share of Government funding to make homes warmer and more energy efficient for our residents in Blacon.

    "We’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint and we look forward to working with Cheshire West and Chester Council to get started on the work and see the benefits it will bring.”

    Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Climate Emergency, said: “Improving the efficiency of low energy performance homes by applying deeper retrofit solutions will help families to tackle the recent rise in fuel bills.

    “This successful funding bid will also play some part in helping us to tackle climate change, grow the local economy and make local neighbourhoods even better places to call home.”

    ENDS

    Attachments

    The Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund totals £179m, which is administered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

    Around 20,000 social homes across England will be made warmer and benefit from cheaper energy bills, supporting around 9,000 jobs in the green energy sector and delivering carbon emissions savings equivalent to taking up to 6,000 cars off the road in any given year.

  • Bus back better

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    10 March 2022

    One of the twelve priority areas for Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Inclusive Economy Plan is to ‘Improve transport access to job opportunities with increased public and active travel links, increasing connectivity to break down key barriers faced by communities.’

    The Government has earmarked £3 billion towards improving bus services throughout England. In October 2021 the Council submitted an ambitious Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for the borough to the Government, aimed at encouraging more people to travel by bus.

    In addition to the submission of the BSIP, Local Transport Authorities are also required to develop an Enhanced Partnership in partnership with operators of registered bus services by April 2022 to qualify for possible future Government funding.

    An Enhanced Partnership has two parts: a plan with a clear vision of the improvements to bus services that the Partnership is aiming to deliver plus an Enhanced Partnership scheme, setting out the precise detail of how the BSIP vision and objectives will be achieved.

    The Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 16 March will be asked to endorse the draft Enhanced Partnership Plan and the draft Enhanced Partnership Scheme to allow the funding application to progress.

    Councillor Karen Shore, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “Thanks to everyone who took part in last year’s consultation, leading to the completion of the Enhanced Partnership.

    “Good bus services help tackle congestion in towns and stop rural communities being cut off. They’re vital in tackling social exclusion and loneliness and can help cut air pollution and reduce carbon emissions.

    “We’re working with all the bus companies operating commercial services in Cheshire West and Chester on an improvement plan and need to know what broad changes to the way bus services operate would encourage people to use them more often.”

    The Enhanced Partnership Scheme initiatives are ambitious but also subject to the funding being made available, to reduce the financial burden on the Council and on Operators. The Council requested £37m in October 2021 for the requirements laid out in the Bus Service Improvement Plan. A funding settlement is yet to be announced.

    The Enhanced Partnership scheme objectives include operating more frequent, faster and reliable services across the borough, lowering fares to make bus travel more affordable and a simpler fares structure to help people get the best value ticket for the journey(s) they are making.

    ENDS

    The Enhanced Partnership scheme objectives

    • Operate more frequent, faster and reliable services across the borough
    • Increase bus priority measures on key corridors to reduce delays
    • Increase demand responsive services in areas not well served by conventional bus services
    • Facilitate easy integration of bus services with other transport modes
    • Simplify services to make it easier for passengers to understand where and when services operate
    • Review the provision of socially necessary services within the borough and identify where increased provision is required
    • Implement lower fares to make bus travel more affordable
    • Implement a simpler fares structure which enables people to easily understand the best value ticket for the journey(s) they are making
    • Develop an integrated ticketing product that can be used on multiple operators and transport providers, including non-bus modes
    • Invest in vehicles which are of the highest standards in terms of accessibility, comfort and emissions
    • Protect personal safety of bus passengers
    • Improve buses for tourists
    • Invest in decarbonisation of vehicles to contribute to reduced carbon emissions
    • Develop a Passenger Charter which sets out the standards that passengers can expect on bus services
    • Strengthen network identity across services which operate predominantly in west Cheshire
    • Improve availability, accessibility and accuracy of bus information, including routes, timetables and fares

  • Support Food Waste Action Week 2022

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    4 March 2022

    Wasting food feeds climate change. Every bit of leftover food has an environmental impact - whether itʼs that soggy bag of salad or last nightʼs leftovers. And while governments and businesses have an important part to play in fixing the climate crisis, food waste from UK households produces roughly 25million tonnes of CO2 every year.

    Cheshire West and Chester Council is one of England’s leading waste and recycling authorities. The area’s high performance does not, however, mean that the challenge to decarbonise waste is any less difficult, as many of the ‘easy wins’ to achieve higher waste and recycling performance have already been delivered locally, such as the implementation of food waste collections.

    Thatʼs why, on 7 March, weʼll be joining millions of concerned citizens for Food Waste Action Week 2022 - a week of action bringing the nation together to fight the problem of food waste. This year the spotlight is on an unsung hero, which lives in most British kitchens and could save you money, as well as help save the environment. The humble microwave. Learn how to defrost frozen food like a ninja and you could be well on your way to saving an average of £730 a year.

    The Council has been awarded a grant of £35,000 from the Waste and Resource Action Programme, the national recycling charity. They are funded by the government to help the UK meet its recycling targets. By recycling more, we help minimise waste disposal, reduce carbon emissions, create new businesses, and support local jobs.

    The Council has invested this grant in promoting its existing food recycling service. So far, it has:

    • promoted food waste recycling door-to-door in areas where residents need the most encouragement
    • delivered a leaflet to every home in Cheshire West and Cheshire explaining why it’s important to recycle food waste
    • used the local media and social media to help with myth busting and increase awareness
    • delivered a series of roadshows across Cheshire West and Cheshire, explaining to residents face-to-face about the importance of recycling food waste.

    Everyone can play their part to make sure food is used to feed people instead of bins, to help fix the climate crisis.

    If youʼre hungry for change, visit the Love Food Hate Waste website for tips and advice to ensure no fresh food you buy ever goes to waste.

    Further information about reducing food waste can be found here.

  • Rollout of borough’s new recycling service

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    Refuse collection vehicle

    Residents will this year be receiving two new wheeled bins for their recycling, replacing the old and less effective boxes.

    It is part of a major upgrade to the borough’s kerbside recycling service, changing from two 55l boxes collected weekly to two 180l wheeled bins collected fortnightly.

    The wheeled bins will be emptied into new, more efficient, waste and recycling collection vehicles, which will have bin lifts so that the collection crews will no longer need to sort materials at the kerbside into the side of the vehicles.

    There will also be an upgrade to the materials recovery facility (MRF) at the Council's Canalside depot in Ellesmere Port.

    Residents have already started receiving the bins in some parts of the borough. With a total of 320,000 bins to be delivered, distribution will take place in stages between now and November.

    To find out when to expect delivery and further information on the new service, residents can visit the Council website and enter their postcode for a rough estimation: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/waste-and-recycling/waste-and-recycling-collection.aspx

    Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “Using new wheeled recycling bins will greatly improve our waste and recycling service.

    “They are easier and quicker to empty than the boxes, which will mean the crews can work more effectively. They also reduce the risk of recycling blowing around in the wind. They are larger so residents can recycle more waste, which supports the key recommendations of the new Waste Management Strategy by offering people more opportunities to recycle and supporting our climate agenda.”

    The old recycling boxes will not be collected. Residents are encouraged to keep these for their own use.

    The garden waste service is also changing this year with the introduction of a £40 per bin per year charge to residents who wish to have their garden waste collected fortnightly. Residents can subscribe online to garden waste collection at: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/gardenwastecollection or contact 0300 123 7026. Garden waste collections resume for subscribers from 28 February.

  • Celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight on the 20th anniversary of Chester becoming the UK's first Fairtrade City

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    18 February 2022

    Celebrations will be taking place across the borough this Fairtrade Fortnight (21 February – 6 March) as 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of Chester becoming the UK’s First Fairtrade City, as part of the Fairtrade Foundations Communities scheme.

    The borough’s Fairtrade Steering Group, which currently includes campaigners and supporters from Neston, Ellesmere Port and Chester, first secured Fairtrade status for Chester city in 2002 and for the borough in 2011. The achievement, spearheaded by Cheshire Development Education Centre, and supported by the Council and many individuals, community groups, churches, schools, and businesses, has seen the promotion of Fairtrade across the area over the last 20 years.

    Graham Proctor, who was the Lord Mayor of Chester at the time, said:

    “It was a great honour, as Lord Mayor, to sign the documents making Chester the first Fair Trade City in the UK.”

    John Tacon, Acting Chair of the Fairtrade Steering Group, said:

    “We’re proud that the Fairtrade Steering Group has successfully renewed Fairtrade status for the borough over the last 11 years and are celebrating Chester’s 20th anniversary of becoming a Fairtrade City. We’ve welcomed no less than eight Fairtrade producers and farmers to Chester, and some have made visits across the borough, inspiring so many by sharing their stories about how Fairtrade really does make a difference.”

    Fairtrade is a system of certification that aims to ensure a set of standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient. For farmers and workers, this means workers’ rights, safer working conditions and fairer pay. For shoppers, it means high quality, ethically produced products.

    This year, the focus of Fairtrade Fortnight is climate change, and the growing problems this poses to farmers and workers within the Fairtrade community. The two-week period will highlight how climate change is a huge challenge for farmers and workers in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Honduras, who face such issues as droughts, crop disease, floods and heatwaves, yet these are the countries who have contributed least to the causes of climate change.

    Councillor Paul Donovan, Cabinet Member for Workforce, Equality and Democracy, said:

    “Tackling the Climate Emergency is high on the Council’s agenda. By choosing to buy ethical food and drink, we can all help to effect change globally, helping farmers and producers around the world on the frontline of the climate crisis. With better incomes and financial support, producers will be able to build greater climate resilience, changing their farming methods to ensure a low-carbon economy.”

    The support for Fairtrade in Chester has continued since the outset, with Chester’s Fairtrade shop, Chester Fairtrading at Wesley Church Centre, recently celebrating 22 years of trading in Chester.

    The following activities will be taking place across the borough during Fairtrade Fortnight:

    • 25 February – Neston Fairtrade Town Steering Group is hosting a Fairtrade stall at Neston Market
    • 26 February – Fairtrade coffee morning at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Whitby Road, Ellesmere Port, 10am – 12noon
    • 28 February – Cheshire West Fairtrade steering group is hosting a Fairtrade breakfast at Chester Cathedral
    • 1 March – Fairtrade talk focusing on chocolate at the Tuesday Club, The Centurion Pub, Vicars Cross
    • 4 March – Members of the Cheshire West Fairtrade steering group join the Lord Mayor for afternoon tea
    • 4 March - Traidcraft Big Brew at Neston Methodist Church and Community Centre Welcome Café, 9.30am - 12.30pm
    • Oldfield Primary School, Vicars cross and Kingsley St John’s CE Primary School, Frodsham will host a Fairtrade stall
    • Chester Fairtrade shop, based in Wesley Church Centre, Chester, will be offering 10 per cent off everything during Fairtrade Fortnight

    To find out more about how to take part in Fairtrade Fortnight in 2022, including online events, visit: www.fairtrade.org.uk/fortnight

  • Chester's proud residents achieve high scores in cleanest streets research

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    14 February 2022

    Cheshire West and Chester Council is delighted to discover that not only does the city of Chester have some of the proudest residents in the UK, but its streets are among the cleanest in the country too.

    Chester has been ranked within the top five in a list of the cleanest cities in the UK according to research published this month.

    Chester scored an impressive 75 out of 100. This placed the City third, level with Lincoln. A score only beaten by Exeter with 79.17 and Durham, first with 87.50.

    Recently, Chester also ranked fifth in a list of UK cities that take the most pride in their neighbourhood. Chester has 11.12 community groups per 10,000 people, the highest score in the research, which contributed to the City achieving its high-ranking position.

    Both studies were carried out by Buildworld. They factored in cleanliness, the quality of the city's green parks, the community interest in recycling, council expenditure on environmental and regulatory services and the number of community groups and initiatives. This then generated an overall 'pride' score for each city which is then compared with others across the country.

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

    “This is wonderful news for both our proud StreetCare teams, who keep Chester looking good from the very early hours of the morning, every day of the year; and our host of brilliant volunteers who work with us to make a difference in their communities.

    “I’m not surprised we have scored so highly in the ‘pride’ element of this research, we have some outstanding community groups right across the borough, not just in Chester, from littering-picking wombles to ‘Friends of groups’ who work tirelessly in our stunning parks.

    “The results say it all – a top five place in the country’s cleanest streets. Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved in making Chester a clean and beautiful city. I am incredibly proud too.”

  • Council's action plan to address climate change makes good progress in first year

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    Cheshire West and Chester Council has made positive progress in its commitment to becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2045 and a carbon neutral organisation by 2030, as part of its work to address the Climate Emergency.

    The first annual review of the Council’s Climate Emergency Response Plan and Carbon Management Plan, which were approved in February 2021, sets out the progress that has been made against key actions and measurements included in the original plans.

    PV solar panels installed at Neston Recreation CentreSome of the highlights of the report, which was presented to Cabinet in December 2021, include the following.

    • Reducing the Council’s own organisational carbon emissions by 35 per cent between 2019/2020 and 2020/2021*
    • Securing £5.8 million in funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for a range of energy efficiency works, such as installing air source heat pumps and Solar Photovoltaics (PV) panels across 14 Council-owned buildings
    • Replacing nearly 80 per cent of street lights in the borough to more energy efficient Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights
    • Securing £2.5 million from the Government’s Green Homes Grant programmes to retrofit some of the borough’s least efficient homes
    • Welcoming news of the Government’s support for HyNet North West, which will reduce industrial emissions by producing low carbon hydrogen, create thousands of new jobs and place the borough at the centre of the green industrial revolution
    • Distributing £143,000 of funding through the Council’s Climate Emergency Fund to support local, low-carbon projects across the borough

    Alongside these actions, the Council has been taking steps to address the nature crisis with new policies on wildflower verges, enhancing local biodiversity and the development of a Land Action Plan for the Climate and Nature Emergencies.

    The Council is also acting as the legal accountable body for the national Trees for Climate programme which, in its first year, planted 446 hectares of trees across England.


    Newly planted trees at a site in Picton

    Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Climate Emergency, said:


    “It’s great to see the progress that has been made to date on our journey to becoming a carbon neutral borough and organisation. Making changes across all the Council’s services, to meet our targets, is a real challenge, but one that our members and staff are committed to achieving.

    “When we developed the Climate Emergency Response Plan, we recognised that we couldn’t achieve all the actions set out in the plan alone and included steps that our residents and businesses could take to support the borough’s targets. With energy costs rising, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to support our residents and businesses to understand how they can lower their energy usage and, in turn, their costs, as well as the borough’s carbon emissions.

    “There is a lot to be achieved over the coming years and this will bring opportunities to make the borough a better place to live and work.”

    The Climate Emergency Response Plan sets out actions that we can all take to help the borough to become carbon neutral. Visit: www.westcheshireclimateplan.co.uk for more details.

    The Council’s Climate Emergency Inspire website promotes projects and actions taking place across the borough to tackle the climate and nature emergencies. Members of the public, groups and businesses can share what they are doing locally to help reduce carbon emissions and improve the natural environment. Visit the Climate Emergency Inspire page: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/tackleclimate

    *The Council has made significant progress against this target this year, reducing its organisational Carbon emissions from 26,779 tons of CO2 per year in 2019-20 to 17,196 tons of CO2 in 2020-2021.

  • Emma Beswetherick 's Playdate Adventures

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    10 February 2022

    Cheshire West and Chester Council's library service is hosting an exciting online author event on Tuesday 22 February at 2.30pm. Join author Emma Beswetherick as she talks about her Playdate Adventures series, which follow the adventures of three best friends and their cat, Thunder, on a playdate where the magic of their imaginations make their pretend adventure come to life. Emma will read from her books, and give tips for your very own adventure stories with an environmental theme. She'd love to answer any questions you may have.

    Tickets are free, but booking is essential. Click here to book now!

  • Enjoy a more sustainable Valentine’s Day

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    7 February 2022

    When you treat your loved one on Valentine’s Day, earn some extra brownie points by opting for more sustainable gifts - show how much you care about them, and the environment.

    Last year, Brits spent £926 million on Valentine’s Day gifts. However, non-recyclable/single use items, such as, glittery cards, helium balloons, and plastic packaging from chocolate boxes, will hang around long after we finish celebrating, contributing to the climate crisis.

    This year, why not choose an eco-friendly option?

    Cards

    Instead of buying a glittery card that can’t be recycled, have some fun making your own personalised card using recycled materials - reuse the cardboard from any boxes left over from online shopping, and take some clippings from magazines or newspapers to create something unique. If you’re not the crafty type, and would prefer to buy a card, choose one made from recycled materials or making sure your choice can be recycled.

    Flowers

    According to the British Florist Association, 80 per cent of fresh cut flowers are transported to the UK from the Netherlands, although a large proportion of them originate in Kenya. You can help cut carbon emissions by buying a pot plant, planting seeds, or planting a seedling - as it grows, it will hold special memories for both of you. If you can’t resist cut flowers, ask your local florist whether they stock British-grown, organic flowers. Opt for compostable/recyclable packaging or, better still, take your own vase to the florist.

    Chocolates

    Many of us enjoy giving and receiving chocolates. Choose a sustainable and ethical chocolate brand - one that ensures its cocoa growers and farmers get a fair deal. Many of these brands produce chocolate either without the use of palm oil, or use sustainable sources of palm oil to reduce the threat to forests and wildlife, particularly in parts of South East Asia. Look out for the Fairtrade symbol on packaging or visit the Fairtrade website to read their guide to buying chocolate. Chocolates sold in recycled/recyclable packaging, as opposed to plastic packaging, is far better for the environment too. Alternatively, be adventurous and add a personal touch by making your own chocolate truffles, or other baked goods at home.

    Avoid novelty gifts

    Reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding novelty gifts that serve no practical purpose. There are more eco-friendly options available, such as, donating to a charity that seeks to protect the environment, or adopting an animal instead – you can adopt an otter with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust for £25.

    Eating in/out

    Consider buying some local, organic ingredients and cooking up a feast at home. But, if cooking isn’t one of your strong points or you’d like a break from it, take a stroll down to your favourite local restaurant. You might be feeling adventurous enough to try a vegan meal, which will also help to cut your carbon footprint.

    Travel/hotels

    A change of scenery is always nice. Consider taking an outdoor adventure closer to home rather than travelling miles to have an overnight hotel stay. Most of us are often so busy that we don’t have time to explore our own local area – there’s likely to be many hidden gems that you don’t know about. And, you’ll be keeping your carbon emissions to a minimum, with the added bonus of saving money.

    For more ideas on sustainable living, click here


    Sources

    https://www.finder.com/uk/valentines-day-statistics

    https://www.mastercard.com/news/europe/en-uk/newsroom/press-releases/en-gb/2019/february/you-can-t-hurry-love-especially-when-it-comes-to-valentine-s-day-shopping/

    https://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/made-on-earth/the-new-roots-of-the-flower-trade/

    Nature Gifts - adopt a species | Cheshire Wildlife Trust

    Every effort has been made to ensure the information used in this article is accurate. All information used to inform the article has been taken from reputable sources, and those sources are given at the end of each article.

    We are aware, however, that data will change over time and that some information across the internet and printed matter can be contradictory.