Environment

Green Steps in Manningtree!

Manningtree Town Councillors have voted unanimously to suspend the twice-yearly street spraying of the herbicide glyphosate for a trial period of three months.

The decision was based on growing concerns about the herbicide's possible effects on humans, animals and the environment. Councillors are keen to make Manningtree a greener place and to increase biodiversity at this time of increasing awareness of environmental issues. The trial will be reviewed in October.

Councillors Sharon Barker and Ben Brown explained that Manningtree already has volunteers who quietly work away in the background to keep our town a pleasant place to live in, and that others have shown themselves willing to swell their ranks. As the town covers such a small area, it is an ideal place to implement selective hand weeding as a viable, non-chemical alternative to the blanket spraying of
herbicide in our streets. More volunteers are welcome to join the team and anyone interested in helping out should contact either sharonbarker@manningtreetowncouncil.org.uk or benbrown@manningtreetowncouncil.org.uk for details.

The two councillors expressed the view that we are so lucky to live in an area as outstandingly beautiful as Manningtree. During the Covid-19 crisis, the importance of our local environment and our need for nature has become increasingly obvious. With this in mind, the council is also looking into changing the management of some of the small green spaces in the town. By growing patches of appropriate wild
flowers and changing some mowing schedules, it would be possible to add interest to our surroundings for all to enjoy, and at the same time, increase our insect population. This, in turn, would support wildlife higher up the food chain such as birds, including our iconic swifts, which need all the help we can offer. If anyone
would like to comment or nominate an area within Manningtree for consideration, again, please contact either of the councillors whose details are given above.

Environment

PACE Plastic Free Campaign

Environment
Environment

According to National Geographic, 40% of the plastic produced every year goes into single-use products. Manningtree Town Council have unanimously passed a
resolution in support of the local campaign being run by PACE (Practical Actions for Climate and Environment) to become a 'Plastic Free Community' - an accreditation
awarded by Surfers Against Sewage:

  • Manningtree Town Council will lead by example and remove all single-use plastic items from its premises and operations.
  • It will encourage plastic-free initiatives in the area, promoting the campaign and supporting events.
  • It will name a member to sit on the Plastic Free Community Steering Group.

This initiative fits in well with the current 'Love Essex - Not Plastic' campaign being run by the County Council and also supports Tendring District Council's Climate
Emergency Action.

Simple Ways to Reduce our Carbon Footprints

A 'carbon footprint', simply put, is a measure of the amount of greenhouse gases caused by the activities of an individual, community, event, organisation or product.
Climate change experts are highlighting the necessity for us to cut the current global emissions by half and we can all play a part in that. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is 'Refuse, Reduce, Reuse,Recycle'. Here are a few actions, suggested by the World Health Organisation, that put that ethos into practice.

  • Try to avoid short car journeys because fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are disproportionately higher when the engine is cold. Research shows that one in two urban car journeys is for under 3 km — a distance that can be easily cycled or walked by most people.
  • Eat local and seasonal produce. Fresh, locally grown, seasonal food generally uses less energy to produce. It burns up fewer food miles, as the distance it has to travel from farm to plate requires less fuel. Better still - grow your own!
  • Try not to waste food. Only buy or order what you need. Recycle organic waste. Methane released by decomposing biodegradable waste in landfills accounts for around 3% of the European Union's greenhouse gas emissions. By recycling your organic waste, or composting it if you have a garden, you can help eliminate this problem!
  • Turn down the heat. Reducing the temperature by just 1 °C can cut 5-10% off your family's energy bill and avoid up to 300 kg of CO2 emissions per household per year.
  • Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly. Newer models have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to twice as energy-efficient as their predecessors. When buying new appliances (not only fridges, but also washing machines, dishwashers, etc.), choose those with high energy efficiency ratings.
  • Do not leave appliances on standby. Use the on/off function on the machine itself. A television set switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.
  • Switch to green electricity, if available. By doing so, you will help to strengthen renewable energy sources.
  • Reduce waste. Most products we buy cause greenhouse gas emissions in one way or another, e.g. during production and distribution. By taking your lunch in a reusable lunch box instead of a disposable one, you save the energy needed to produce new lunch boxes.
  • Choose products that come with little packaging. Buy refills when you can — you will also cut down on waste production and energy use!
  • Use a tumble dryer only when absolutely necessary. Each drying cycle produces over 3 kg of CO2 emissions. Drying clothes naturally is by far the best way to do it: your clothes will last longer and the energy provided is free and non-polluting!

A very reader-friendly document with more ideas and the rationale behind them can be found here.