Climate Emergency

Why Climate Emergency?

Walmer Town Council declared a Climate Change Emergency at a Full Council Meeting in July 2019 and pledged to:
  • Make Walmer Town Council carbon neutral by 2025.
  • That in initially £750 be ringfenced from unallocated funds to achieve this. 
  • That the Amenity & Environment Committee take on the responsibility of creating by March 2020 a carbon audit and roadmap on how to achieve the objective. 
  • That the Amenity & Environment Committee assist in including environmental impact assessments in officer reports, highlighting in particular the impact on direct and indirect CO2 emissions. 
  • That the Amenity & Environment Committee seek the means to assist other organisations in the Town to reduce their direct and indirect CO2 emissions in conjunction with specialist advice from Dover District and Kent County Council officers. 

Carbon Audit completed by March 2020

Measures taken:-
  • When the office electricity contract is up for renewal (Christmas 2021) the Town Council will switch electricity supplier to a company that generates 100% sustainable electricity, not just trades in it or has a mix.
  • WPC to monitor energy use within its building by electricity monitor or smart meter. 
  • Office Paper Usage – all paper now recycled
  • Single use plastic review and reduction
  • Review of meat-free catering at Council events
  • Ethical banking and investment review
  • Explore possibilities of installation of solar PV panels on Walmer Town Council office
  • Sustainable Transport policy: Councillor travel to meetings / events should focus on walking, cycling, public transport, car sharing or EV.

Sustainability, Climate Change & Environmental Impact Assessment Training

Five Walmer Town Councillors and the Clerk attended a presentation in February 2020 designed to support the development of a Carbon Road Map.

Sustainability and Climate Change… to support development of Carbon Road Maps
(a link to extracts of the presentation as prepared by Matthew Morris at our request)

Climate Emergency Working Group

In June 2020 a specific Climate Emergency Working Group was setup to deal solely with Climate Emergency issues. The Climate Emergency Working Group consists of a minimum of three Councillors (currently six) plus invited environmental experts and representatives from the local community who are interested in tackling the climate emergency.

Aims of the Working Group are as follows: -
  • To assist Walmer Town Council in becoming a carbon-neutral organisation by 2025.
  • To encourage use of electric vehicles - both private and public transport
  • To encourage walking and cycling as an alternative to driving and for health benefits
  • To encourage sustainable energy use and reduce consumption of energy overall
  • To share information with residents on how to reduce their carbon footprint and save money.
  • To encourage a reduction in use of plastics, maximise recycling and use materials efficiently overall
  • To promote home and business energy efficiency
  • To protect, conserve and enhance the natural environment and biodiversity
  • To encourage zero carbon sustainable building projects and developments in Walmer and the wider district
Walmer Parish Council Terms of Reference for the Climate Emergency Working Group

Current Initiatives

Cycling

New Cycle Parking - Through Cycle Friendly Deal, in June 2020 (?) Walmer benefitted from six new cycle stands providing 12 cycle parking spaces, installed for visitors and local people near the shops on The Strand.
The style of cycle stand chosen was carefully selected. The M-Hoop Cycle Stand promotes secure locking, helps keep bikes upright, enables a wider range of bicycle styles to be locked securely and the stands are coated to protect against the weather and avoid scratching frames. The Cycle Stands have been supplied by Kent-based Cyclepods and installed by a local Kent Highways contractor.

Secure cycle parking at Walmer Station - In depth discussions are taking place with Southeastern for Walmer Town Council to match fund installation of secure cycle parking at the station. Minimal current facilities must be drastically improved so commuters feel safe to use their bikes to go to the station, rather than driving and parking nearby.

Working with Cycle Friendly Deal - Adrian Oliver, Project Co-ordinator met councillors to report on the plans to improve cycling facilities in the area. Specific discussions took place around the much needed repairs to Cycle Route One, the marked cycle path along Walmer seafront, which Mr Oliver confirmed were the responsibility of KCC and were due to take place in this financial year.
Secure Cycle Parking

 

Electric Vehicle Charging in Walmer

The Climate Emergency Working Group is in urgent communication with Dover District and Kent County Council to facilitate electric car charging points in car parks and on-street within Walmer, where current facilities are non-existent. Councillors have also been in discussion with English Heritage to install charging points at both Walmer and Deal castles.

Electric Buses

Walmer Town Council is committed to doing all it can to persuade local authorities that electric buses are needed in Walmer. Philip Lightowler, Head of Public Transport at Kent County Council attended a Climate Emergency meeting to discuss current and future plans for electric buses in the area. Mr Lightowler stressed the importance of partnership working and the strength of all local councils coming together with Stagecoach to increase the likelihood of such a scheme coming to fruition.

Walmer Town Council has written to Dover District Council and Stagecoach requesting that as diesel buses are taken out of service due to age, they are replaced with electric buses. It was also requested that section 106 monies (generated from local housing developments) are considered to assist in the funding of new electric buses and related infrastructure.

 

 

Recycling

Installation of an initial two full recycling bins took place on Walmer Green in June 2020, in conjunction with Dover District Council.

Tree planting

Through the Amenity and Environment Committee the Town Council has a long running tree planting project (A Greener Walmer) which has so far planted more than 50 trees along 9 streets including major planting along Dover Road and twin oaks to the original entrance of Walmer Castle. This will continue, as trees are vital to fight climate change. (One tree can remove 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, the equivalent of 11,000 miles of car emissions).

Suggestions from residents of Walmer of new planting locations are welcomed.

 

Recycling Bin

Possible future aims and initiatives

Local Environmental Resource Information worksheets - Briefing Sheets to be created for council surgeries and wider distribution – to give local residents guidance on sustainability and connect them to local sustainable businesses to help residents invest in environmental measures (eg home improvements) both to save money AND the environment.

Protect, conserve and enhance local natural environment and biodiversity - We will work with Dover District Council to minimise cutting of Walmer grassed areas to maximise potential for pollinators and wild flora. We will work to ban use of glyphosate weedkiller and use only wildlife friendly foamstream instead.

Green on Walmer Green - We will explore the possibilities of an Environment focused day of stalls and events on Walmer Green.

Walking and Cycling days - We will work to promote and support car-free days, for example a Walk to Work Day and a Big Pedal Challenge for schools.

Health and fitness - Explore low carbon, low impact health activities for all ages – eg adult outdoor gyms, young children’s play areas and Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs) for teenagers.

Terracycle scheme - We will lobby Dover District Council to set up a Terracycle scheme for hard to recycle material. https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB