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

  • Tips to cut your energy use and help you stay warm this winter

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    With energy bills rising, many of us are looking at ways to reduce our costs and keep our homes warm at the same time.

    The Citizens Advice and the Energy Saving Trust are sharing useful advice about keeping warm this winter. Here are some simple steps that could save you money and reduce the amount of energy you are using, which, in turn, will also reduce your personal carbon footprint.

    • Only fill and boil the kettle with as much water as you need. The most energy-saving kettles have a low minimum-fill line, and switch off quickly after boiling.
    • Cutting your shower time by just one minute could make you savings. If everyone in a four-person household with a water meter did this, you could save £50 a year.
    • By turning your appliances off instead of leaving them on standby, you could save £40 a year and cut your carbon footprint.
    • If it’s time to replace a lightbulb, switch to a light emitting diodes (LEDs) lightbulb and save up to £9 per year, compared to a 100 watt incandescent bulb.
    • Draught proofing your home could save you £30 a year on your bills and will help to keep your home warmer. For tips on reducing home heat loss, visit the Energy Saving Trusts website.
    • Installing a chimney draught excluder could save you around £20 a year on your bills and make your home feel more comfortable.
    • Try turning your room thermostat down by just one degree and you could save around £65 a year on your energy bill.
    • Drawing the blinds at dusk can reduce heat loss by 13-14 per cent and curtains from 15-17 per cent.

    Staying healthy this winter

    The NHS, Age UK and British Heart Foundation have a good range of information on keeping warm and safe in winter.

    • Have regular hot drinks and food such as porridge, soups and stews. Eating regularly helps keep you warm.
    • Keep as active as possible to boost your circulation. Move around at least once an hour and avoid sitting still for long periods. Even light exercise will help keep you warm.
    • When you do sit down, put your feet up as it’s coldest nearest the ground.
    • Dress in layers and wear a hat, gloves and scarf when you go out. When inside wear warm socks and slippers to keep feet warm.

    Grants and payments

    • Green Homes Grant – If you have an annual combined household income of £30,000 (gross) or less and your property has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E, F or G you could benefit from the Council’s Green Homes Grant, which offers funding for a variety of energy efficient measures for your home. These include wall, loft and underfloor insulation, and low-carbon heating such as air source heat pumps, solar panels, heating controls and replacement doors and windows. These measures will help reduce costly energy bills, whilst also lowering energy use and associated carbon emissions. Find out more about the scheme and how to apply.
    • Winter Fuel Payment - If you were born on or before 26 September 1955, you could be entitled to the Winter Fuel Payment - an annual one-off payment to help you pay for heating during the winter. Find out more and how to apply on GOV.UK.
    • Warm Home Discount Scheme - If you are on a low income or you get the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, you might be able to get £140 off your electricity bill or a £140 voucher for your prepayment meter through the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Find out more and how to apply on GOV.UK.


    Energy efficient heating

    If you are interested in making your home heating system more energy efficient, saving money on your fuel bills, as well as reducing your carbon emissions, the Energy Saving Trust has a useful guide on heating your home. This includes information on air source heat pumps, biomass and solar water heating.

    Further support

    The Council has worked with a range of partner organisations to develop a package of support for those most in need, supporting what we already have in place to help vulnerable households and individuals. More information about this can be found on the Council website.

    Source:

    Every effort has been made to ensure that 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. If you have any questions or comments about any articles please email: climatechange3@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
  • Council’s Green Homes Grant scheme continues to invite applications

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    The Council has had a fantastic response to the Green Homes Grant scheme, which was open for applications from last month, and are encouraging more residents to apply whilst funding is still available.

    The scheme offers a variety of energy efficient measures from wall, loft and under-floor insulation, to low-carbon heating such as air source heat pumps, solar panels, heating controls and replacement doors and windows. All of these measures will help reduce costly energy bills, whilst also lowering energy use and associated carbon emissions.

    The funding does not cover fossil fuels and therefore the scheme is not able to offer new mains gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or oil heating systems. This is because the funding is aimed at supporting the move away from our reliance on fossil fuels, to more cleaner technologies.

    To be considered for measures, you must meet both criteria below.

    • Annual combined household income of £30,000 (gross) or less, includes households in receipt of qualifying welfare benefits
    • Your property must be classed as inefficient and have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E, F or G. (In addition, there is some limited funding available for EPC ‘D’ rated properties and we are encouraging applications from these properties as well.)

    If you aren’t sure what your property’s EPC rating is, you can check using the Energy Performance Register. If your property does not have an EPC, and your household meets the income threshold, we can carry-out an assessment free of charge to see if your house is eligible.

    Eligible households will have an initial survey carried out to identify which energy efficiency measures are most suited to their property.

    The scheme will operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and all measures offered are fully funded with no contribution required from residents.

    Private rental properties with an eligible tenant are also able to apply. There is no cost to the tenant for any energy efficiency measures installed, but the landlord is required to contribute one third of the cost, with two thirds (to a maximum grant value of £5,000), being provided by the grant. For example, if the total cost of measures is £7,500, the landlord will be required to pay £2,500, with £5,000 available from the grant fund.

    The quickest and easiest way to apply is on-line at: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/greenhomesgrant , alternatively residents can visit the following Council offices on the specified days and times:

    • Ellesmere Port (Civic Way) each Tuesday between 9am – 2pm
    • Winsford (Wyvern House) each Wednesday between 9am – 2pm

    Residents visiting an office to apply will need to bring with them all evidence they need to prove their household’s annual income is below the £30,000 (gross) threshold. Evidence could include for example: three monthly pay slips, pension statements, benefit letters, or three monthly bank statements.

  • Borough better prepared to tackle future flooding

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    14 January 2022

    A year on from Storm Christoph causing widespread flooding across our region, Council leaders say that enormous steps have been made by teams across the Council to ensure the borough is better prepared for future flood incidents.

    Storm Christoph hit the country on 19 January 2021 flooding the homes and premises of many residents and businesses across the borough, particularly in Northwich which was severely flooded.

    Over the past year, the Council has worked closely with communities, businesses and partner organisations such as the Environment Agency and United Utilities to explore and tackle the key issues involved, setting up a Flood Risk Action Group (FRAG) to develop responses and actions that need to be undertaken.

    Together, we are working to reduce the impact from flooding and to help communities prepare for any future storm events.

    In collaboration with the Environment Agency and United Utilities, additional temporary pumping equipment has been tested in Northwich ready for immediate use. Measures have been put in place so that additional pumping from the river can be provided, if needed.

    Multi-agency emergency response plans have been improved to help reduce the impact of future flooding. The Council has updated the information available to residents and businesses on its website advising how to respond to future flood incidents.

    The Council’s gully (grid) annual cleaning programme, which aims to clean 86,650 grids across the borough at least once before March this year, is running ahead of schedule. This involves large-scale drainage jetting and sweeping operations to keep drainage systems and road surfaces as clear of debris as possible.

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

    “Serious flooding can happen at any time and climate change projections suggest extreme weather will happen more frequently in the future.

    “In addition to the practical actions the Council and partner agencies are carrying out to make us more prepared, it is important that our communities become more resilient to react to future flooding incidents.

    “We have updated available information on the Council website to inform people of the issues and to offer advice and resources on how to be more flood resilient. Visit: Flooding (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk).”

  • Chester Jubilee Tree planted as part of Queen's Green Canopy

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    As part of the new surface drain reinstatement works in Chester, a Jubilee Tree has been planted on the Grosvenor Roundabout by the Council in partnership with The Mersey Forest and VINCI Construction UK.

    Following the completion of the 1km long surface water drain, which will provide many future-proof environmental benefits for the city including reducing sewage outfalls into the river Dee, the new tree is one of 100 being planted by The Mersey Forest in Chester to replace the eleven trees that were felled in 2020 as part of the drain enabling works.

    The Jubilee Tree species is a Amelanchier Arborea Robin Hill which will provide white spring flowers and rich autumnal colour; and will be part of a borough-wide contribution to the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC), a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the country to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

    Chester has been recognised as a QGC Champion City, joining twelve other cities nationally, and will undertake a wide range of projects across the borough throughout the year including:

    • Creating a new Green Task Force with 30 military veterans who will be offered training and paid job opportunities in woodland creation and woodland management, as a steppingstone into full-time work
    • Installing 20 leaky woody dams in the Lower Dane Catchment and Rivacre Valley and creating 2.6ha of woodland on the banks of rivers and streams
    • Upskilling 10 young people (age 18-24) to create a specialist tree nursery including the propagation of scarce, difficult to source, native tree species and pioneer woodland wildflower species.
    • Hosting a community tree planting event at the Countess Country Park on Saturday 15th January. The public are invited to help plant 360 trees, to take part register in advance as places are free but limited: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tree-planting-at-the-countess-country-park-chester-tickets-224117299877

    The planting of the Jubilee Tree has been sponsored by VINCI Construction UK, the Council’s principal construction partner for the new surface water drain and Northgate development set to open in 2022.

    Further information about the QGC is available: www.queensgreencanopy.org

    Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy & Regeneration, said: “The trees in the area around the Grosvenor Roundabout are an important feature on the skyline as you approach our city from the south. Being able to re-plant a tree in this location is a sign that the large drain construction project is finally coming to an end, and although it will take a long time to grow, this tree will one day stand tall at the entrance to our city and will be a lasting legacy of the Queen’s Green Canopy."

    Colin Rankin, Business Development Director of VINCI Building said: “This location is a key gateway for the city so its fitting that we will be planting a Jubilee Tree and celebrating its royal links dating back over 800 years, with the title of Earl of Chester having been granted to heirs to the throne since 1301”.

    Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, said: “Planting more trees and establishing new woodlands will provide many benefits for our communities and help to lock up carbon on our journey to becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2045. Alongside our work of establishing Community Forests, we’re also delighted to be able to support local people to be trained in woodland creation and management, providing them with the skills to join the industry and play their part in protecting and enhancing nature in their communities.”

  • Electric scooter trial to be extended into next year

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    20 December 2021

    Trips made on Cheshire West and Chester Council’s e-scooters trial in Chester city centre have now covered 150,000 miles – more than six times the circumference of the earth.

    The Council, in partnership with e-scooter provider Ginger, launched a 12-month trial in December 2021, as part of a Department for Transport (DfT) initiative to encourage greener travel methods.

    Due to its popularity it has now been extended to 31 March 2022. Currently 130 e-scooters are available, with over 47 dockless parking bays at various key locations around the city centre.

    The pay-as-you-go scooters are hired via a mobile app, that has 14,500 registered local users who have taken an average of five rides each. One user has taken a total of 301 rides!

    A total of 74,800 journeys have been taken since the start of the trial and 91 per cent of recent journeys are from a different start and end point (as opposed to circular journeys).

    The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore, said: “E-scooters offer a healthier, more environmentally friendly alternative to using the car for shorter journeys and will also help tackle air pollution. They are proving very popular. Extending the trial will enable more accurate data to be obtained for this alternative method of getting around the city, as much of the previous data was gathered during lockdown restrictions.”

    Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency explained: “Ginger work in partnership with a local business, Dandy’s Nationwide Landscape Supplies Ltd, using the latest solar panels and Tesla battery charging facilities to power and recharge the Ginger e-scooter fleet. This means that every scoot across the city of Chester on a Ginger rental e-scooter is now 100 per cent powered by the sun.”

    The e-scooters have proved to be most popular with residents at Garden Lane who have made over 5,000 journeys, followed by White Friars with a similar number of journeys and Chester Train Station, 4,500+ journeys.

    The scooters will not move unless unlocked by a valid driving licence holder, they will cut out if taken into a location that is not approved for their use and there is a speed limiter.

    Ginger manages the e-scooters in Chester and full details, FAQs and location maps for the Chester scheme are available on their website. Users will need to download the Ginger Shared Transport App from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. The e-scooters cost £2 per 20 minutes of journey time and 50p per 10 minutes of pausing time.

    Scooters will continue to charge their user until they are parked properly in a designated e-scooter parking area and the user has ended the ride on the app. This approach has resulted in 99 per cent of e-scooters being parked properly at the end of their journey.

    Anyone hiring e-scooters with Ginger needs to be aged 18 or over, with a valid driving licence (full or provisional) or a motorcycle licence. A unique age and licence verification process with facial recognition technology is in place to ensure this. It is a criminal offence to hire the e-scooter for someone else.

    To date eight registered users have had their accounts blocked due to non-compliance of the rules and they will not be able to hire a Ginger scooter again.



  • Work to begin in January on A56 Helsby cycleway scheme

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    20 December 2021

    Work will begin on a safe, segregated pedestrian and cycleway between Helsby High School and Frodsham on 4 January 2022.

    Cheshire West and Chester Council developed the scheme which will provide a new cycle facility between Helsby High School and Howey Lane, Frodsham.

    The scheme will upgrade the current marked cycleway into a safer segregated route, separated from traffic by a kerbed area.

    The scheme will also provide a widened pavement between the caravan park and Helsby High school and a new ‘toucan’ push button crossing facility which caters for both pedestrians and cyclists. (Called so because ‘two can’ cross at the same time.)

    The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore, said: “I am really pleased that the recently adopted local cycling and walking Infrastructure plan is bearing fruit and we are now seeing real infrastructure delivery on the ground to benefit residents and school children in the area. This compliments the recent investment across the borough on Sutton Way Boulevard, the A5117 and the Chester to Ellesmere Port canal towpath scheme, delivered through local growth funding provided by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.”

    Following consultation in February 2021 and positive feedback, the Department for Transport approved funding to implement this scheme under tranche two of their Active Travel Fund.

    Construction works on the scheme is due to start in early January 2022 and will be ongoing until Easter. Construction works are to be carried out by the Council’s Highways contractor Ringway. More details will follow soon.

  • The Cheshire West Crowd can help bring your ideas to life

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    17 December 2021

    With nearly £300,000 raised by community projects through the Cheshire West Crowd to date, people are being encouraged to add their ideas to the platform ready to pitch for funding in the spring 2022 round.

    The Cheshire West Crowd, which is being run by Cheshire West and Chester Council in partnership with Spacehive, is an exciting digital crowdfunding initiative, providing an opportunity for community-led ideas to come to life so the borough can become more vibrant, resilient and connected.

    The first funding round ran earlier this year and the Council pledged nearly £200,000 to 20 different projects through its various funding pots, while residents, businesses and donors all got behind the Cheshire West Crowd and made donations.

    Barbara, who has been part of the crowdfunding efforts for the Restore the Ancient Well of Burton project, said: “Having the Council’s pledge has been a vital boost to our campaign."

    “Not only did it bring us much closer to our target, but it has also given other backers confidence in our cause, encouraging pledges from individuals who were motivated to help us reach the final amount. On a personal level, getting the backing from the Council gave the whole team a real lift and kept us focused on achieving our goal.”

    As part of the spring 2022 round, a workshop is being led by Councillor Louse Gittins and Jackie Weaver from noon to 1pm on Tuesday 1 February to help projects get their ideas ready for crowdfunding.

    • Register for this workshop: Projects will need to be added to the Cheshire West Crowd and pitch to relevant Council funds by Wednesday 23 March.
    • Create your project on the Cheshire West Crowd: Local projects providing a wide range of services, from an arts trail to walking wheelchairs, have used the Cheshire West Crowd to crowdfund. The Council’s funding pots available in spring 2022 will be announced in the New Year.
  • Council asks for views on Chester's Park & Ride services

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    14 December 2021

    Cheshire West and Chester Council is asking for views on Chester’s Park & Ride service.

    The Council is keen to attract more users to the service, which is vital for its climate emergency response plan and for reducing congestion and pollution in the city.

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

    “Our Park & Ride service makes travel into Chester quick and easy, without the hassle of finding a car parking space. I’m sure many people are taking advantage of our special £1 fare over the Christmas period and we’d really like to know what they think of the service."

    ”It’s important for us to understand why people are using the service and what changes are needed to attract more people to make journeys on the Park & Ride. Feedback from this survey will help us to understand if improvements are needed to services, or our Park & Ride sites. We really appreciate people taking the time to complete the survey and there is a chance to win a £25 High Street Voucher in a prize draw.”

    The survey can be accessed here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/7PVJD3/

    Completing the survey is voluntary and all the information provided will be treated in the strictest of confidence. No information will be released that could identify an individual.

    More information on the Park & Ride’s timetables and routes is available on the Council’s website, including where to park.

    Wearing a face covering is now compulsory when travelling on Park & Ride buses. All buses are subject to a rigorous cleansing regime and face masks are available on board if you forget to bring one.


  • Top tips on how to stay safe while going green

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    14 December 2021

    Cheshire West and Chester Council and Citizens Advice Cheshire West are sharing five top tips to stay safe, while going green.

    Citizens Advice has found that in the North of England 72% of adults are thinking about making their homes more energy efficient in the next 12 months. But 40% said they have already been targeted by a green scam.

    Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Trading Standards team and Citizens Advice Cheshire West are taking part in this year’s National Consumer Week to help you know how to stay safe when making your home more energy efficient.

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

    "It’s important we know how to stay safe when going green, as scammers have no qualms about playing on the need to do our bit for the environment. If you’re thinking of making your home more energy efficient, take your time doing research, getting quotes and reading reviews. And as always, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    Jason Bishop, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Cheshire West said: “We know that being scammed doesn’t just leave us out of pocket, it can leave us feeling very vulnerable, isolated and really knock our confidence. If you’ve been scammed or are worried about how to spot a scam, our advisers are here to listen and help.”

    Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Cheshire West have five top tips to stay safe when making your home more energy efficient.

    • Do your research. Before you buy anything, check the company or website you’re using. Read reviews on different websites, ask for references, verify the company’s details using external sources, and read any terms and conditions.
    • Check certified schemes. When looking for a trader to use, check certified schemes that recommend traders, like TrustMark - the Government’s endorsed quality scheme.
    • Get written quotes and a contract. Try to get quotes from at least three different contractors to help you decide if you’re getting a fair price. Once you’ve decided, always get a written contract before you give a contractor the go-ahead. If something goes wrong it can help get what you paid for, or at least get some of your money back.
    • Pay with a secure method. Credit cards offer the most protection, followed by PayPal or debit card. If you’re paying for large home improvement works, see if you can pay in stages, and avoid paying for costs up-front where possible.
    • Be suspicious. Scammers and rogue traders can be very smart. Take your time to make sure you’re happy with your decision - if someone pressures you or contacts you out of the blue, it’s most likely a scam.

    If you’ve been scammed, talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment. See Citizens Advice’s page on What to do if you’ve been scammed for more information.

    To report a scam or ask for advice contact Citizens Advice consumer service. Offline scams, like telephone, post and doorstep, can be reported via the Citizens Advice consumer service or by calling 0808 223 1133. Report online scams to the dedicated Scams Action service either online or on 0808 250 5050.

    Text scams can be reported to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726. You can also report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

    For more information and advice, contact Citizens Advice Cheshire West Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm through Adviceline: 0808 2787 806, by using the email enquiry service, or webchat accessed through the Citizens Advice website. In-person help and advice is reserved for people who really need it and appointments are available at a number of Community Access Points. Please click on this link for up to date information on services and opening hours.