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.


  • Cheshire West and Chester air quality website

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    A new website launches today giving access to live air quality data from across the borough and from local authorities across the country.

    A key element of Cheshire West and Chester Council's Low Emission Strategy (LES) included a commitment to improve the standard of air quality data provided to residents and to introduce a mobile-based platform to give residents easy and convenient access to the data.

    From 9 January 2023, the website can be accessed:

    Cheshire West and Chester air quality website

    The website provides residents with improved access to near real-time data from the Council's monitoring stations. The data also feeds through to the UK Air Quality website which hosts live air quality data from local authorities across the country:

    UK Air Quality

    Gases being monitored vary by location and by monitor type. Borough wide, nitrogen dioxide is monitored using diffusion tubes. There are three traffic-related Air Quality Management Areas, in Frodsham, Ellesmere Port and Chester respectively, all with a focus on nitrogen dioxide.

    There is also an industrial emissions Air Quality Management Area, located in Thornton-le-Moors with the focus on sulphur dioxide. The Council also monitors particulate matter (PM10) emissions from both industrial and transport sources to ensure compliance with the national standards.

    Councillor Karen Shore, Cabinet Member for Environment, Communities and Strategic Transport said:

    "The new website allows the air quality data to be easily checked at all times including historic data. The improved functionality allows different parameters to be selected based on location, timeframe and pollutants and the data can be exported if needed.

    "The new website is being launched at the same time we are planning to revoke the Air Quality Management Area in Ellesmere Port that was declared in May 2005 for transport related levels of nitrogen dioxide.

    "Over the past five years, monitoring has demonstrated a trend of reducing levels. The levels now comply with the national standard and are likely to continue to improve which will allow us to revoke the order. This reduction in levels is the result of the Air Quality Action Plan vehicle queue reduction measures combined with improved vehicle emission standards."

  • Hop on board... £2 single bus fares now available in the borough

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    Residents and visitors in Cheshire West and Chester can now save money and "Get Around for £2", following the launch of a Government scheme to cap fares for single bus journeys.

    From 1 January to 31 March 2023, over 130 bus operators will charge no more than £2 for their single tickets across over 4,600 routes nationally, helping families, commuters and other passengers save money.

    The scheme hopes to give bus travel a boost in the borough, encouraging more people to discover how easy and stress-free travelling by bus is.

    Cheshire West and Chester Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said:

    "The initiative encourages people to get back on the bus to help the industry continue its recovery from the pandemic. It will also reduce CO2 emissions and tackle congestion by taking an estimated two million cars off the road nationally.

    "If you've never used buses before, why not give it a go and see if bus travel could work for you - this is the ideal opportunity to hop on board. Buses are a key part of our vision for clean, efficient and modern transport network in the borough, that is affordable for everyone.

    "This is a great way to start the new year and we will continue to work with our bus operators, through our Enhanced Partnership, to ensure passengers can access reliable and affordable bus services once the scheme ends in March."

    The scheme is on the Government's Help for Households website, as the new cap can deliver real savings for those most affected by the rising cost of living.

    Bus operators not taking part in the scheme in Cheshire West and Chester include: Aintree Coachline on routes 40, 41 and 272 and M&H Coaches on their route X1.

    A full list of operators taking part is available:

    GOV.UK: £2 bus far cap

    Councillor Shore added:

    "Don't forget, visitors to Chester city centre are able to use our excellent Park & Ride service, although it's not part of this scheme, the fare is just £2 for a return journey, so you can save money to travel quick and easy into the City"

  • Council shows significant support to community projects through Cheshire West Crowd

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    More than £425,000 has been pledged by Cheshire West and Chester Council to local projects as part of the autumn 2022 round on the Cheshire West Crowd.

    This crowdfunding initiative, which is being run by the Council in partnership with Spacehive, provides the opportunity for everyone to put forward community-led projects and attract funding so the borough can become more vibrant, resilient and connected.

    After just two funding rounds, the Cheshire West Crowd had already seen more than £650,000 raised for local projects, with almost £300,000 in pledges by the Council alongside over 2,000 other backers.

    The Council has now pledged a further six-figure sum to community projects as part of the biggest funding round yet.

    The pledges made by the Council include:

    • more than £16,000 to help Chester Deaf Centre install a new kitchen
    • nearly £9,000 for Soul Kitchen to purchase a van to deliver food to those in need
    • £16,000 towards a new skate park in Northwich
    • over £7,000 for a safer footpath route to Tilston School
    • around £5,000 towards the Boat Shed Arts Club
    • much more.

    Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council and Champion for the Cheshire West Crowd, said:

    "This initiative continues to go from strength to strength and we're really pleased to have pledged such a significant amount of money towards projects.

    "We're aware many community projects face challenges with the cost of living so this funding will be a real boost to them.

    "With our pledges, it's fantastic to see that a number of the projects have reached their crowdfunding targets and will now get ready to deliver their support.

    "The great thing about the Cheshire West Crowd is that it provides an opportunity for all the community to get involved and support local projects.

    "I'd encourage everyone to take a look at the Cheshire West Crowd and see which projects you might be able to support in your area.

    "No matter how much you're able to give, it'll make a real difference to them and the invaluable support they offer."

    Visit the Cheshire West Crowd website to view all the projects

    46 projects and counting are now running crowdfunding campaigns as part of the current round, calling on the local community to support their ideas.

    Whether you're a business, donor, resident or anyone else, you can also get involved with the Cheshire West Crowd and donate to local projects close to your heart.

    All projects will need to reach their crowdfunding targets on the Cheshire West Crowd by Tuesday 28 February 2023.

    Visit the Cheshire West Crowd website to view all the projects

    All figures quoted were accurate at the time of writing and might fluctuate slightly.

  • World Book Day fancy dress swaps to be held in borough libraries

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    Cheshire West and Chester libraries have come up with a new idea to help save money and the environment in good time for World Book Day in March, fancy dress swap events.

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

    "Seeing primary schoolchildren in book-related fancy dress costumes every World Book Day has become a common sight in March but, with ever-mounting financial and environmental pressures limiting new purchases makes more sense than ever.

    "For the first time, many of our libraries will be accepting donations of fancy dress at the start of the year and hosting clothes swaps before World Book Day itself. What better way to share the fun, so you can play your part to save money and the climate emergency."

    Anyone who donates a children's fancy dress costume will be offered a token which can be redeemed for another costume on either Saturday 11 or Saturday 18 February, from 10am to 12.30pm.

    If the donor does not want a replacement costume, then it will be donated to anyone who turns up on either Saturday who does not have an outfit to swap.

    All donated clothes must be clean, in good condition and suitable for primary school-aged children. Any items which are not taken by the end of the last swap session will be either donated to charity or sent for recycling.

    Libraries cannot guarantee that a suitable costume will be available for every person on the day.

    Participating libraries are Blacon, Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Great Boughton, Helsby, Hope Farm, Lache, Little Sutton, Neston, Sandiway, Tattenhall and Winsford.

    Also on the two Saturdays, Blacon and Ellesmere Port libraries will be hosting "Pop-up Patch Challenge" volunteers who will be there with their sewing kits to show visitors the basics so that they can have a go themselves. The Patchers also welcome anyone who can already sew to bring their mending and join them.

    For World Book Day itself, libraries will be exchanging the £1 book tokens that every school child will receive, for the special World Book Day books on Saturday 4 March from opening time until 12.30pm. Opening hours may vary slightly between branches.

  • National praise for borough’s work on food and climate emergency

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    Cheshire West and Chester Council has received national recognition for its work to unlock a food revolution and tackle the climate emergency.

    The Council has been listed as one of 21 top performing councils out of nearly 200 analysed by Sustain, a national alliance for better food and farming.

    Sustain’s report ‘Every Mouthful Counts’, looks at how well councils in the UK are performing on issues of food and tackling climate change.

    The borough has also joined the Sustainable Food Places Network following a successful application by Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA) supported by the Council’s Public Health team.

    Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Tackling the climate emergency has long been a major priority of the Council.

    “We’ve been working with partners across the borough to address many of the issues leading to this emergency, with a sustainable and healthy food system high on the list.

    “We want everyone to be able to eat healthily every day and we want farming and food production to have a positive impact on the climate and biodiversity. This can in turn help our local economy to thrive.

    “It’s great to have our work recognised in the report by Sustain, and even better that our partnership’s application to become a Sustainable Food Place has been successful, opening up even more opportunities to make a real difference.”

    CWVA leads the Food Strategy for west Cheshire and the West Cheshire Food Partnership, bringing organisations together to help make sure healthy food is available for everyone.

    Stephanie Ellis, CWVA’s Food Strategy Lead, said: “We were really keen to become a Sustainable Food Place in recognition of the work we have done so far and to support us to achieve more.

    “We have been working closely with the Council and other partners over many years to put together a coordinated approach to food support, with everyone working together towards the same goal.

    “Through the links we have created in our communities, we have been able to map out all the food support available across west Cheshire on our live, interactive map on the Welcome Network website.

    “This is even more important with the current cost of living challenges and we’ve been working with the Council and other partners on this to make sure people can access the support they need this winter and beyond.”

    Partners from across the borough have been working together to achieve the Sustainable Food Place accreditation, and will continue to do so as the borough works towards its bronze accreditation. As well as CWVA and the Council, partners include: the Mersey Forest, The Welcome Network, Cheshire Waste Recycling, University of Chester, Chester Zoo, Tatton Group, The Sustainability Forum and Sustainable Cheshire.

    For more information about Sustainable Food Places visit: www.sustainablefoodplaces.org.

    For more information about the Sustain report visit: www.sustainweb.org and search for ‘Every Mouthful Counts’.

    You can access the live, interactive map showing the food support available at: welcomenet.co.uk/get-support

    For more information about cost of living support, visit: cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/costofliving

  • Update on Council's bus service improvement plan

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    Cheshire West and Chester Council is progressing initiatives to improve bus services in the borough through its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

    The National Bus Strategy for England published in 2021 formalised an expectation that local councils and bus operators should work in partnership to deliver better bus services in their area. An Enhanced Partnership agreement was set up in the borough to achieve this in April 2022.

    Councillor Karen Shore, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: “Bus services, as well as active travel options in general, play a critical role in tackling the climate emergency and supporting our poverty declarations in the borough.

    “Since our co-produced Bus Service Improvement Plan was submitted to the Department for Transport in October 2021, we have continued to work in collaboration with local bus operators to further develop plans through our Enhanced Partnership agreement.

    “Unfortunately, though we were not one of the few authorities to receive funding, we still feel our BSIP was both robust and ambitious. We listened to feedback from the Department of Transport, so we’ve realigned our targets and prioritised initiatives to refresh our plan.”

    Initiatives put into place by the Cheshire West Enhanced Partnership so far have included:

    • Bus operators supporting Afghan and Ukraine guests by providing two months free travel.
    • Allowing concessionary travellers to make bus journeys before 9.30am during school summer holiday this year, so those still nervous of travelling do so at different times to rebuild their confidence.
    • Substantial promotion of the P&R service to ease congestion in the city centre, following the opening of Chester’s very popular new market and in the build up to Christmas.

    Future schemes will include:

    • Supporting the Government’s £2 fare initiative in the new year, encouraging all operators to take part to make bus travel a mode of choice for the many in the borough and not the few; for employment, education and leisure.
    • The launch of a demand responsive rural mobility bus service in the early part of 2023. More details to follow soon.
    • Taking part in the Transport Focus bus passenger satisfaction survey “Your Bus Journey”. The survey will be launched in January 2023 and will further shape our BSIP to help drive bus service improvements across the borough.

    Councillor Shore added: “We are also looking for a pool of people to become part of our bus users group, representative of our communities across the borough. If you would like to be part of this journey and become a valued member of our planned bus group please contact: Ep@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk to register your interest. We’re looking forward to hearing from as many people as possible. Please get in touch.”

    More information on the Council’s plans for bus services can be found on its website.

  • Sustainable farming practices put into action in Frodsham

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    A key part of the borough’s Land Action Plan is the adoption of low carbon farming practices and introducing land use solutions to help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

    Action is already taking place across the borough, with landowners considering how their land can be managed in a way that reduces the amount of carbon emitted, supports nature and benefits the farming business.

    Watch the video below to hear from one local farmer about some of the sustainable farming methods introduced on his farm in Frodsham.

    Additional information on sustainable farming

    There are lots of organisations across the UK that support farmers with information on farming sustainably.

  • North West Route to Net Zero Summit

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    Leaders, community groups and experts from across the North West joined together at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall recently, to discuss the progress made by the region to hit net zero and how the area can continue to lead the way in developing a net zero cluster.

    Mayor Steve Rotheram - Liverpool City Region speaking at the eventHosted by Cheshire West and Chester Council, the North West’s Local Enterprise Partnerships and Combined Authorities, the Route to Net Zero Summit welcomed a range of speakers and experts in sustainability from across the area, who spoke about the latest major decarbonisation projects and the work delivered over the last 12 months, since COP26.

    Topics, from major investment opportunities in the North West to providing a fair and equitable transition to net zero for all, were covered at the summit, with speakers from the public and private sector joining the discussion.

    Community groups, including Cumbria Action for Sustainability, Dane Valley Community Energy and RedCAT, the Lancashire centre for alternative technology, spoke passionately about the work they are doing to support their communities to introduce low carbon technologies and become more sustainable.


    Community groups from across the region speaking at the summit

    Representatives from the North West Youth Forum discussed their hopes for the future and what their peers believed should be the key issues that the area’s leaders should be addressing over the coming years.

    Green growth and green and accessible transport was also a major focus, with industry experts sharing the progress made to date in their fields and the next steps for their projects.

    A discussion around a green, accessible transport network for the North

    Nearby, a climate change careers fair was held at the Cheshire College’s Ellesmere Port campus, providing students with the opportunity to find out more about a role in some of the local organisations and industries leading the way in sustainability.


    Watch the video below of Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, speaking at the event about the Cheshire and Warrington Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Commission and the ambition of the sub region to work together to reach its net zero goals.



    Read more about the Cheshire and Warrington Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Commission.

  • Have yourself a sustainable Christmas

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    Gift giving tips

    • Choose a gift that that you know the person wants and that lasts, like a house plant.
    • Shop local – supporting small business helps boost your local economy, plus you’re more likely to find unique and well-crafted gifts. Saturday, 3 December, is Small Business Saturday – you can use their website to find your local businesses: Small Business Saturday UK.
    • Give a handmade gift – you could bake, sew or paint, get creative to add that personal touch to your gifts this year.
    • Choose eco-friendly wrapping paper - on average, Brits use around 227,000 miles of wrapping paper. In fact, Defra estimates that enough wrapping paper is used each year to gift wrap the island of Guernsey. Sticky tape, ribbons and paper covered in glitter can't be recycled, so switch to an eco-friendly roll or, alternatively, use brown paper for a vintage look.
    • Try fabric wrapping – fabric can be reused year after year or, if you are gifting a scarf, you could use that to wrap up another gift.
    • Send Christmas e-cards – a staggering 1.5 billion Christmas cards are thrown away by UK households each year, according to Imperial College researchers. So, what can we do to stop this figure escalating? Friends of the Earth explains: 'You can cut your resource use when it comes to Christmas cards – you can send e-cards instead. Try using a free design app like Canva if you want to get creative. If a card is needed, try to find ones made from recycled materials and not containing plastics such as glitter.'
    • Buy plantable Christmas cards - when the biodegradable paper is planted in a pot of soil, the seeds will grow and eventually the paper will decompose.

    Decorations


    Use handcrafted decorations

    Small businesses will make beautiful, handcrafted decorations, but you can get creative and make some yourself. There are plenty of ideas online, check out Pinterest for inspiration.

    Re-use Christmas tree decorations or go second-hand

    Unless your decorations are damaged or broken, do your best to reuse them each year – and it doesn't even have to be on your tree. You could use baubles as table decorations or place names, or you could use string to hang them on door handles. If you need new decorations, try second-hand shops to find some pre-loved styles.

    Christmas trees

    If you already own an artificial tree, continue to use it for as long as possible to reduce its environmental impact. In order, here are the most sustainable ways to enjoy a tree (according to Friends of the Earth).

    1. No tree at all – this is probably not an option for most people, but if you are short on space or decorate your home with other things instead, this might not be such a bad idea. You could even decorate a house plant with fairy lights for a modern take on the traditional tree.
    2. Rent a real Christmas tree.
    3. Purchase a pot grown living Christmas tree, you can reuse this year after year if you take good care of it.
    4. Cut Christmas tree - choose sustainably grown trees that carry the FSC label and remember to recycle your tree afterwards. The Council website has details of where your tree can be dropped off across the borough to be reused as mulch by our StreetCare service.
    5. Artificial tree – artificial trees have the most environmental impact, so you will need to use it for over 10 years for the impact to be comparable with a real tree option.

    Christmas dinner


    Switch to eco-friendly crackers

    Try creating your own crackers for a personalised touch to your Christmas décor this year. Use recycled Kraft brown paper or DIY Kraft crackers and fill with plastic-free surprises for a stylish, eco alternative.

    Introduce more plant-based foods

    If meat-free isn’t an option for you, perhaps you could make just small changes to your Christmas dinner menu. 'Go for a festive spread with mainly plant based ingredients and try to make sure any meat or dairy products you’re keen to have don’t come from intensive farms. When it comes to the vegetables, look out for products that have been grown nearby so you can cut down on transport emissions,' advises Friends of the Earth.

    Cut food waste

    Try and choose things that are light on packaging or buy loose items. Transform your leftovers to create new meals, save money and cut waste. If you have packaged food left over, that you no longer need, donate it to your local food bank.

    Re-wear your Christmas jumper


    Environmental charity Hubbub warns against buying new Christmas jumpers after finding that up to 95 per cent of them are made using plastic. The most common plastic fibre used is acrylic, which was found in three quarters of the jumpers tested. 'We'd urge people to swap, buy second-hand or re-wear, and remember a jumper is for life, not just for Christmas,' says Hubbub. You can always clip a Christmas decoration to a favourite jumper for a homemade approach.

    Sources

    Every effort has been made to that ensure the information used in all climate emergency articles is accurate. All information used to inform the articles 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 matters can be contradictory.

  • Energy Saving Podcast - vampire devices

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    Listen to the latest Energy Saving Podcast by the Council’s Energy Saving specialist which focuses on items around the home that may be using up energy when on standby, also known as vampire devices.

    Community energy coach, Mark Thompson, discusses how to check if you have these sort of devices around your home and which can be the worst offenders.

    Mark has developed a website providing useful, practical advice and tips to help people to reduce the amount of energy they are using in the home. The site aims to help people understand energy better and give them the confidence and knowledge to take the right actions for their individual circumstances. Visit: getenergysavvy.info.

    If you have your own energy saving tips add them to the 'your stories' section of the Climate Emergency Inspire hub.