A letter from Chris Packham

Restore Nature Now

[London 22nd June]

Dear friends, I’m writing to your group as one of the UK’s many smaller, grassroots organisations. It’s a beautiful day in Arne, Dorset where I’m currently filming Springwatch- the field of grass shoots and seedlings seems appropriate.

I applaud you- grassroots are the beating hearts of campaigning and activism. We may be small but we are mighty!

We are the mycelium under the floor of campaigning; tirelessly working away, growing, networking and barely seen- but without us the whole ecosystem of activism would simply not flourish. I thank you for the vital role that you play. A selfless, passionate and inspiring role.

We are light and agile, without the heavy governance and processes of boards and multiple layers of management. We can be responsive, reactive and blaze trails where other bulkier organisations can only slowly follow. What we lack in membership and funds we make up for in energy and effectiveness.

So here’s to the grassroots; the volunteers, the local activists, the common people, the ordinary folk MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope to see as many of you as possible on Sat 22 June in London to demand our government Restore Nature Now. You can sign-up as a supporting organisation here and as individuals pledge to march here.

We know that amazing things can happen when we come together- when we unite en-masse to joyously, fervently, demand the changes we need to see from our elected leaders when it comes to biodiversity loss and climate breakdown.

See you on the streets! Chris

Earth Day: today and every day!

A globe on a desk

What we do today and everyday helps form the kind of world we want to live in. Reducing our carbon emissions is ever more important: Working together we can achieve more – and we’re here today and every day to help you!

Here are some really great ideas – chose one (or two) for Earth Day and every day!

  1. Eat less meat and dairy – saving money and carbon!
  2. Leave the car at home – walk or cycle or bus and feel good!
  3. Draughtproof the house – you’ve always wanted to and we can help!
  4. Turn the thermostat down 1% – saving money, fuel and money too!
  5. Shun single-use plastic – stop buying bottled water of coffee in a cup?
  6. Join a local ‘Wild’ group and make your space more green & friendly?
  7. Buy less, spend less … consume less: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse Recycle!

🌎🌱 Make every day earth Day! Help create a greener, healthier future! 🌎🌱

Earth Day 2024
Earth as a lightbulb moment

Question Time: Heat Pumps.

Shared Event with WILD ABOUT DATCHET

23rd March 11am Datchet WI Hall

We’re running this really popular event again, this time in Datchet with Wild About Datchet.

Thinking about getting a heat pump? Got lots of questions? Need to talk to an expert?

  • Do they make economic & environmental sense?
  • How can you get the best deal and outcome?
  • What’s best and are they the right thing for you?

Hear from our experts who have the answers, practical experiences, and have ‘lived’ with them? Put your questions to our specialist panel chaired by Peter Gibbs (From BBC R4 Gardeners’ Question Time and our local ‘Weather Man’). Find out if heat-pumps will work for you.

From 11:00 too 12:30 Saturday 23rd March at Datchet WI Hall. To ask a question, book here on Eventbrite. Tickets will also be available on the door.

The Big Garden Birdwatch

Photo of several birds at Waltham Place Farm

The Big Garden Birdwatch is taking place from Friday 26th – Sunday 28th January. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get involved in monitoring the health of the nation’s birds, simply by counting the birds that land in their garden or the patch outside their window. No knowledge is required as the RSPB provide a digital guide to identify the species you are likely to see. To sign up visit: https://www.rspb.org.uk/whats-happening/big-garden-birdwatch

Data from previous surveys shows that we have lost 38 million birds from UK skies in the last 60 years! And, whilst house sparrow numbers are currently going up the overall counts of house sparrows are still down by 57% compared to the first Birdwatch in 1979. Our birds provide huge ecosystem services to us, not least as pest controllers, seed-sowers, and as part of nature’s clean-up crew. Lend an hour of your time in thanks for their efforts and help the RSPB to monitor what’s going on with our garden birds and give them a voice.

With thanks to Niki McCann from Waltham Place for this excellent article, extracted from her monthly newsletter. For more information on Waltham Place and their program of events, visit What’s on (walthamplace.com)

Build your own NestBox!

Join us in the ECO Action Hub from 10:00 – 12:00 on 16th December 2023

  • A drop in session to help you build your own nest box and take home for your garden!
  • No prior knowledge of building boxes or of using the right tools is required
  • Bisham Nest Box Group will bring all equipment and tools you need to build nest boxes.

From Bisham Nest Box Group: We are a small, not-for-profit volunteer group making nest boxes for garden birds, owls, raptors, swifts, hedgehogs, bats and bees. We just ask for a donation to cover the cost of the materials. Bisham Nest Box Group

In the ECO Action Hub from 10:00 to 12:00 Saturday 16th December. Drop in!

RBWM Sustainability SPD Consultation “How To” Guide: MORE HELP!

We recently posted about the RBWM’s Sustainability SPD Consultation (here). If you just want to provide a quick response, we suggest you use our handy “How To” guide (here).

For those with more time and interest in how the SPD can be made better we’ve now got more detailed responses linked here to help you shape your feedback to RBWM! This edition has a particular focus on Energy Efficiency, Climate Adaptation and Sustainable Construction.

If you are short on time then you can simply copy and paste the last three columns of the table in the document (Section, Para, Suggested Text) into Box 5 of the Representation Form and email to planning.consultation@rbwm.gov.uk. Those items where ‘Push for change’ is highlighted in red are our priorities.

It would be really great if you can complete the submissions using the forms and information we’ve provided. The more RBWM hear from all of us as residents, the better informed they will be to make sound decisions.

To see all our posts about the Sustainability SPD please click here.

Thank you for your submissions!

Sustainability in action graphics

“We must now look at the world through a new lens”

The BBC’s Planet Earth III is now on television and iPlayer.

Presented by Sir David Attenborough it’s a fascinating journey to the far reaches of our planet. It follows some of the world’s most amazing species, telling extraordinary stories that are dramatic, thrilling, funny and sometimes heart-breaking, but always full of hope.

For anyone who cares about the climate and biodiversity … it’s a must-watch!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gjwxhv

Sir David Attenborough

RBWM Sustainability SPD Consultation “How To” Guide

We posted last week about the RBWM’s Sustainability SPD Consultation. (See here).

For any of our supporters (YOU!) that are keen to respond but are short of time, here is a detailed “How To” guide. Helping you to make best use of your time and respond in what we consider a most appropriate fashion to get to desired outcomes within RBWM!

Here’s a summary of what you will find there:

  • Why Engage: We want to live in a Borough that is zero carbon and rich in nature. When developments take place, we want them to help us achieve this. The Sustainability SPD will direct and guide planners and developers towards this.
  • What Best Informs: The SPD needs to include: clear Intent (a sense of urgency & confidence the SPD will deliver RBWM targets), meaningful Content (the SPD needs to remain current and relevant in our changing world). And must be Ambitious (to ensure the Borough’s critical climate goals are reached and the SPD delivers)
  • How to make a difference: Experience shows we are more successful in achieving change when we clearly target specific sections of the document subject to consultation. It is also just as important to support those sections of the draft SPD that show true ambition.

We will be providing specific guidance on the Eco Action website in the next fortnight to help you to do this. Deadline for your response to the consultation is 27th November 2023.

Here again is the link to the “How To” guide. Thank you.

Sustainability: People, Energy, Planet.

RBWM Sustainability SPD Consultation

In June 2019, RBWM declared an environment and climate emergency. It enshrined the target of net zero carbon emissions in the borough by 2050, in line with Government policy.

A Sustainability SPD is one of the key actions identified in the Environment and Climate Strategy 2020-2025, to help shape development towards net zero carbon, protect and enhance the natural environment, drive carbon reductions in the borough and deliver wider climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Council has now prepared the draft Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for public consultation. The consultation will run for six weeks from Monday 16 October 2023 until midnight on Monday 27 November 2023.

Whilst the ECO Action Hub is working with a consortium to help influence and update the Sustainability SPD you also as residents have the opportunity to comment and respond to the consultation … However, we will shortly be providing guidance here on how best to do so, to save you the trouble of reading all 86 pages, and to maximise the impact we can collectively have. 

In the meantime, if you do want to get a head start and read the SPD – please click on the link below for more information: RBWM Sustainability Consultation Link HERE

People acting in a sustainable environment

Waltham Place Farm: Fundraising event for ECO Action Hub

Wednesday 16th August 2023 at 2 pm!

Join Waltham Place Garden Team for a walk around the Kitchen Garden and Market Garden to see how they manage their productive growing areas. We will also be visiting the compost area to see how we turn garden and farm waste into a valuable resource for the garden.

A wonderful opportunity to ask questions, and get tips from their experienced growers, that will help in your allotment or garden at home. And it includes a glass of organic cordial.

All details including how to register here: Waltham Place – ECO Hub: Grow Your Own

All funds will be donated to the Eco Hub, www.ecoactionhub.co.uk who are delighted to be in partnership with Waltham Place Farm.

Grow your own produce

Time and Date: 14:00 on 16th August 2023

Tickets: Waltham Place – ECO Hub: Grow Your Own

Address: Waltham Place Farm, Waltham Place, Church Hill, White Waltham SL6 3JH