August 2020

How hard is it to declare a climate emergency?

Just how difficult is it to declare a climate emergency? What does it mean? And if you don’t, is having a strategy to address carbon emissions good enough? Do you have to declare one to be effective?

The first local authority to declare one was in Australia at the back of 2016 and now 1,400 authorities in 28 countries have done so. This includes the United Kingdom as a whole last year. It was one of Theresa May’s last acts as Prime Minister.

Yesterday, a beer company called Brewdog appeared on TV news. It announced it was setting new standards for the brewing industry by declaring that carbon neutrality is no longer enough. The company was going carbon negative (this includes its supply chains). 

Read More »How hard is it to declare a climate emergency?
Tea is a traditional part of a cricket

Will Covid-19 kill the traditional cricket tea?

Sandwiches, cakes, crisps, maybe some fruit and a good old English cuppa. Summer would be nothing without cricket – and cricket would be nothing without the traditional cricket tea. Or would it?

Since time immemorial, it seems, a tea has been produced by volunteers. It is gratefully consumed in a convivial break between two sides going out to bat on a beautifully manicured village green pitch.

This has been depicted in any number of television dramas, from an occasional story line to a full backdrop to conversations in Outside Edge in the mid-1990s.

One tea making company even ran “The Great Cricket Tea Challenge” featuring former England captain Michael Vaughan, in 2014.

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City buses

Councils switching to electric waste vehicles show leadership

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his “build, build, build” speech this summer, he mentioned wanting to introduce 4,000 ‘carbon zero buses’, to address the climate crisis.

There are several London bus routes which run on non-fossil based fuel, as he well knows from his time as mayor of our capital city.

His recent speech didn’t extend the sentiment to refuse vehicles, however, which was a shame. Nearly a year ago, Westminster council struck a deal with Veolia, their waste recycling contractor, to introduce electric vehicles.

That was five months after the City of London Corporation vowed in April 2019 to become the first UK council to run a fully electric fleet.

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Help put end to bad cycle signage via survey

Whether you are an experienced cyclist or new to “active travel”, it is worth taking part in the Surrey County Council Covid-19 transport map.

Plenty of people will have found – or rediscovered – cycling in particular since Covid-19 lockdown began. Some people will have done so for pleasure and leisure, others making a firmer commitment to reach work or schools via cycling, or walking more.

Anyone who now takes a bike out for shopping, with children, their family or just to travel from A to B should consider filling in the survey. It gives people the chance not only to put dots on a map with a suggestion for improvements, but to like, support, or disagree with other suggestions.

While it is Surrey wide, it is divided into boroughs. Would you like an extra crossing near a school on a busy road? Would you like better signage? More cycle lanes? What would make cycling or walking safer?

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Aerosols are recycled in some boroughs, not all

A single Surrey authority could end recycling inconsistency

Devolved Government. It’s an interesting argument, all round. Should Scotland be allowed to have independence? How much authority or “independence” do they already have? Is the United Kingdom important and how does it function with separate regional countries making their own decisions?

It’s not possible to answer all those questions here, but a few news stories this week prompt a few questions. For example, how efficient are we as a nation – with national, regional, county or borough authorities – at making efficient or effective decisions? Don’t forget parish councils, either!


Read More »A single Surrey authority could end recycling inconsistency