How are we responding?
Since the declaration of a climate emergency in Newark and Sherwood, we have been working to:
- audit existing environmental practice within the council
- establish data to determine our carbon footprint – working with The Carbon Trust
- consider our contribution to the district carbon footprint more widely, according to national data from reputable sources
- engage with stakeholders
- coordinate a Climate Emergency Strategy
- produce an accompanying Carbon Reduction Action Plan to mitigate our carbon emissions
We intend to report back on the above via the committee system in April 2020
Our Community Plan
Our Community Plan includes a number of key objectives and actions that will help us respond to the climate emergency:
- improve the cleanliness and appearance of the local environment
- protect, promote and enhance the district’s natural environment
- improve the health and wellbeing of local residents
Read more on our key council objectives in our Community Plan
How can I get involved?
While we have internal project teams for staff, we’re also aware of a number of community organisations and charities across the district.
All of the groups welcome new volunteers
Saturday 28 March, 8.30pm
Earth Hour is the moment millions of people come together to celebrate our natural world. On Saturday 28 March at 8.30pm the lights will go out on the world’s most famous landmarks and in homes and businesses across the world.
This international event started by the World Wildlife Fund helps raise awareness of the need to think green and protect the world’s natural biodiversity.
In light of our climate emergency declaration members of council staff will be switching off on Saturday 28 March.
We hope you will too.
National groups, campaigns and information
Funding for green projects and initiatives
There is funding available for green community initiatives via our council grants schemes and also from Nottinghamshire County Council, Severn Trent Water, Veolia. WREN, the Miner2Major project and other national and local funds.
Taking action now
Find out about the work being undertaken by us already to address green issues and discover how you can get involved and help.
Plastics and recycling
David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 has exposed the shocking truth about plastic pollution. It is vital that everyone in the community gets involved to buys less plastic and recycle. There are many items in your day to day waste including plastics that can be recycled and made into something new.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
Find out how you can cut down on food waste, junk mail and packaging. Re-use shopping bags and carry your own water bottle. Recycle your unwanted clothes, furniture and paint. There are easy small changes that we can all make.
Parks and nature reserves
We look after a number of large country parks and nature reserves. We provide conservation volunteering opportunities for locals and our park rangers work hard to project our natural environment and green spaces.
We provide learning opportunities for young people in our parks through Forest School and holiday activities. Each year we offer a range of nature walks and wildlife events in partnership with ‘park friends groups’ and local organisations including the Sherwood Forest Trust, the RSPB and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
We manage a number of grassed areas within our parks as meadows rather than close cut grassland. Meadows store a lot of carbon in the soil near to the root systems of the grass. Wildflower meadows are also better for local biodiversity.
All of our main parks have gained the Green Flag award. The Green Flag is gained for high quality and standards judged against 8 key criteria including horticulture and sustainability.
We believe that the more people immerse themselves in the great outdoors and nature the more likely they are to care about the environment in their daily life.
Our town parks and green spaces provide an urban cooling effect
Sky lanterns and helium balloon release are now banned in our council parks and green spaces.
Gardens and green spaces
We are responsible for a number of mature trees across the district and undertake a programme of surveys to ensure the health and condition of the trees. Trees contribute to our environment by improving air quality, conserving water, taking in carbon dioxide, and supporting wildlife.
Our greening programme has already started and we pledge to plant an additional 10,000 trees over the next five years. The tree planting programme includes ‘give-away’ events for residents, community groups and parish councils as well as planting new trees on our own land.
Our gardening team minimises their use of peat in all operations and have done this for over the last 10 years. We do not use peat as a soil additive and all our seasonal planting is grown in peat-free compost. Peat bogs are hugely important for lots of reasons including being great wildlife habitats, they have a role in water management and they act as carbon stores.
We are currently upgrading our parks and gardening powered equipment to electric rather than petrol tools, for example our strimmers, leaf blowers and chainsaws.
Garden recycling and composting
Composting your garden and kitchen waste is a green way to reduce the amount of waste going into your green bin. It also provides nutrient rich compost that you can use on your garden.
Join our garden recycling scheme for only £35 per year. All the green material is recycled back to help improve our local environment.
Trees and hedgerows
We protect important trees which contribute to the amenity of local areas through Tree Preservation Orders and control the management of trees in conservation areas. In the countryside historic hedgerows are protected and anyone wishing to remove one that surround an agricultural field must seek the council’s permission.
The planning system aims to deliver sustainable development, meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising future generations. The system aims to balance development needs with the protection of the natural and built environment. National policy is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and guidance.
Local policy in our Amended Core Strategy and other planning documents set out a range of environmental policies that:
- protect International, National, and local nature conservation sites from inappropriate development
- protect the countryside and the green belt from inappropriate development
- encourage community renewable energy projects
- encourage environmentally friendly development
- encourage walking and cycling
- secures additional open space and community facilities as part of new development
- Local Development Framework (LDF)
When planning applications are considered by the council we use these policies to help decide if an application should be approved or refused.
Parish and Town Councils can also write their own Neighbourhood Plans which can include environmental policies.
Planting and protecting trees
We have launched a major programme of tree planting across the district and we are encouraging local residents to get involved. We have ambitions to plant 10,000 trees in Newark and Sherwood over the next 5 years.
We also protect out district's important trees and all trees in conservation areas.
The roof of Castle House is covered in solar photovoltaic panels. The panels generate approximately 29,700kWh per annum. The renewable energy generated equates to an amount of approximately £2,900 saving of grid supplied energy. There are plans to install additional panels.
The Sconce and Devon Park Visitor Centre uses a ground source heat pump and has rainwater harvesting. The visitor centre at Vicar Water Country Park has Solar VP panels.
Being green at work
We have a very active staff group called green@work. Eco conscious staff volunteers meet regularly to discuss ideas and opportunities for making the council a greener place to work.
We take recycling in the kitchen at lunchtime very seriously and volunteers help with the recycling of crisp packets, stamps and bottle-tops for local good causes. We operate a ‘borrow a bag’ scheme for lunch time shopping and are careful to purchase green and environmentally friendly cleaning products.
We have a secure bike shelter for staff who wish to cycle to work and encourage all staff to use reusable drinking bottles and coffee cups if they buy a drink in town.
We encourage staff to get involved with environmental awareness days such as Earth Hour and national campaigns such as the Great British Spring Clean.
Keeping the district clean
Our silver bin recycling scheme in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council and Veolia means that local residents can recycle materials including paper and card, tins and cans and various plastics. We also offer trade waste recycling, bulky waste collections and each household has a fortnightly green household waste bin collection. Household waste goes to Sheffield's Energy from Waste plant rather than landfill.
We remove and take positive action regarding abandoned cars.
We are very proactive in removing flytipping and aim to respond to all flytipping reports within 24 hours. Each flytip is thoroughly investigated in order that we can take action where possible. Our Not in Newark and Sherwood campaign involves working with Nottinghamshire Police to tackle rural crime and working in partnership with neighbouring councils to target suspects.
Our Environmental Services team lead on removing graffiti and fly-posting from our towns and it is our policy that we will remove offensive, abusive or racist graffiti from private property or public buildings free of charge but we require the owner’s permission.
Local parish or town councils provide a number of litter bins and dog bins throughout the district. We are responsible for emptying many of the litter and dog bins on behalf of parish councils. Dual recycling and waste bins are being trialled in Southwell.
We work very hard to keep the district free of litter and teams work both reactively and proactively in terms of litter picking and street sweeping. Our public protection officers and environmental enforcement officers can issue fines for litter dropped on the street. We can also impose street litter notices to business with premises where there is a litter problem. We deliver a popular scheme to support volunteer community clean-ups.
We support local environmental and bloom groups across the district. In 2019 Farnsfield was awarded Best Kept Village in Nottinghamshire and Newark in Bloom won another gold award. We believe that green streets encourages green behaviour and helps with community cohesion.
Air is considered to be polluted when it contains substances which can have a harmful effect on the health of people, animals and vegetation. The main causes of air pollution include transport (from vehicle exhausts), domestic combustion (from heating appliances such as wood burning stoves) and industrial processes (for example emissions from factory chimney stacks).
In addition to impacting negatively on air quality, many of these activities release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane and low level ozone.
Many sources of air pollution and CO2 (which is the main greenhouse gas of concern) are the same and so tackling one often has a beneficial impact on the other.
Our environmental health officers monitor air quality in the district and are required to report the findings to DEFRA every year. More recently we have begun a vehicle idling project to educate drivers to turn off their engines when stationary. An idling vehicle engine can produce up to twice as much exhaust emissions as an engine from a vehicle in motion.
Wood burning stoves are believed to account for up to 31% of small particulate matter pollution called PM2.5. These small particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs and can migrate around the body and cause significant health impacts. We are responsible for the regulation of wood burning stoves and ensure that they have been correctly installed and that they are used properly with the correct fuel to ensure the most efficient burn, thus limiting emissions of PM2.5
We regulate over 50 industrial processes that emit pollution into the atmosphere such as petrol stations, dry cleaners, plaster manufacturers and brickworks. These processes are required to hold an environmental permit which contains strict conditions which each operator must comply with in order to comply with the law and to limit their emissions to acceptable levels.
Volunteer litter picking group
We support the annual Keep Britain Tidy Great British Spring Clean event and offer year-round support to local volunteer community-clean up groups.
We provide equipment and bags and collect the rubbish that is collected as well as offering promotional support. Our regular volunteer groups include schools, Duke of Edinburgh students, scouts and guides, green groups, bloom groups, church groups and parish councils.
We now have 7 BP chargemaster electric car charging points in Newark.
Nottinghamshire County Council has responsibility for public transport in Nottinghamshire, however, our planning policy team helps lobby the rail industry for improved services as part of franchising and network rail infrastructure planning and work with Midland Connect and the Local Enterprise Partnership.
For new housing developments our planning team always works to secure well designed schemes which are connected to enable cycling and walking.
Walking and cycling
We all know that walking can help with your general health and fitness and can be a great way to ‘de-stress’ and improve well-being. If you can walk to the shops or work or on the school run you are helping to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce air quality issues. We support various walking groups around the district and our health improvement officer and Active4Today teams promote walking and cycling opportunities. Active4Today work with local schools to support Bikeability and cycle maintenance sessions.
Cycling is also an excellent way to get fit and have fun. Cycling gets you outside in the fresh air, linking you with nature and our natural environment. We help to promote cycling locally and have a comprehensive web page giving ideas for where to cycle, information on local cycling clubs and groups, and information on how to get into cycling. In recent years we have hosted the Tour of Britain cycling race which raises awareness and interest in cycling.
We are a partner in the Miner2Major landscape partnership scheme and one project involves ‘connecting trails’. The work involves surveying walking and cycling trails and carrying out improvement work and promoting routes that connect key sites.
Stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife and natural habitats attract a growing number of visitors from the world over, all year round to Newark and Sherwood. Across the district, there are a wealth of opportunities for visitors and residents to experience and connect with nature including Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, local Nature Reserves and local wildlife sites. We are home to unique woodlands, including the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest, and hundreds of species of bird, insect, mammal, fungi, tree and plant.
The RSPB Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre offers a year-round programme of events, activities, walks and festivals at Forest Corner where friendly staff bring the forest to life with their knowledge and stories of Sherwood and the popular Wildlife Explorer backpacks.
Along with other local authorities, conservation groups and community organisations, we are part of the Miner2Major landscape partnership - a five-year (2019-2023), £3.8million Landscape Partnership scheme, supported by a £2.45m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This is a people-focussed programme that will take action to reconnect Sherwood Forest’s sense of place, its ancient woodlands, heathlands, and cultural heritage, through a partnership that welcomes people and inspires future success from legends of the past.
For more information about how and where you can enjoy our wonderful natural environment, please see our related visitor websites:
We help to champion slow shopping by encouraging residents to shop locally and support local independent shops through the Totally Locally scheme.
We promote local markets, country markets and farmers markets selling plastic-free, zero-air miles produce.
We encourage resident to shop seasonally, to buy less and waste less by promoting the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign.
We are lucky in the district to have many opportunities for the conscious shopper including vibrant retro and vintage clothes shops, ethical produce shops, second-hand book shops and the Furniture Project in Ollerton selling pre-loved furniture.
Being a conscious consumer is thinking outside the box, and doing what we can, when we can.
Hockerton Housing Project
A visit to the Hockerton Housing Project is a must for anyone interested in sustainable living.
Over 2000 people per year attend tours to find out more about the five sustainable self-built earth-sheltered homes.
Clever design involving earth insulation and passive solar gain from large south facing glass conservatories means the homes are heated all year round without the need for gas or electricity.
Onsite electricity comes from solar PV and wind turbines and the homes are also water self-sufficient.
The eco-conscious home owners grow their own organic fruit and veg, have bees as well as a small herd of sheep. It’s not many homes that have chickens on their roof!
Since the homes were built between 1996-1998 the home-owners have planted over 400 new trees and hedging plants, built lakes and ponds and in doing so have hugely increased the biodiversity of the area.
Every decision the families make puts the environment first. For example they have used locally sourced building materials where possible, they have created natural willow hedges as boundaries and they have used recycled materials to make the access road.
It’s all super inspiring! Visit the Hockerton Housing Project website to find out about tours, venue hire, zero carbon and sustainable living masterclasses, craft courses, housing assessments and retro fit advice.