26 June 2020
Welcome to my brand new blog.
Since declaring a Climate Emergency, one year ago, I want to assure you that Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) still has the same ambitions for doing as much as we can to mitigate climate change in the district, despite the impact of Coronavirus.
The list of achievements since the declaration is extensive, however, I had hoped it would be longer. The Refill Scheme has been rolled out, with two water refill stations being fitted in Dorking and Leatherhead. A new post, Climate Change and Environment Manager has been created and the Sustainable Officers’ contract extended. The Carbon Trust has calculated MVDC’s carbon footprint and those of our contractors. Electric vehicle charging points have been installed. Our Environment Forum has been established and has met three times. We have worked across the county with other councils including commenting on Surrey's Climate Strategy. I am pleased to say we are also changing our energy supplier to a new green specification.
It would be great if you would join in with our wildflower campaign by sharing your photos on Instagram #molevalleyrewilds. This is to encourage biodiversity and people's awareness of the wonderful nature all around us. Anything including wildlife and nature would be most welcome.
At last, I have managed to persuade Surrey County Council (SCC) to change their mowing regime along the A24 to help wildflowers to grow, encouraging pollinators. I'd like to thank you for your support. Indeed, some residents have adopted parts of the verges on other roads, maintaining them themselves, allowing flowers to grow. (If you think you could do this, please visit the SCC website.) On the land that was previously managed by The Surrey Wildlife Trust, we have reduced mowing. Already more wildflowers and pollinators can be seen flourishing in these rural areas. I have asked our Parks Team for the saplings that are growing through to be saved in the autumn, with the intention of offering them to the public.
In The Holmwoods, I am initiating two new projects. One to create a Community Garden on the local estate. The other to create a 'Street Gallery' of art based on nature.
Unfortunately, the renovation programme for our car parks has been delayed, but this won’t prevent 10 Electric Vehicle points being put into the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall Car Park. This was near completion when lockdown began. Around 20 more were intended to go into the next two car parks that were due to be renovated this spring and summer. We hope to initiate the programme as soon as finances allow. Our first two EV points were installed in the Swan Centre last summer.
Coronavirus has had a direct impact on our environmental work. Some of our key officers were urgently seconded to support other departments, such as those helping businesses and residents. During this time, I have attended courses and countless virtual meetings with companies and individuals to discuss what we can introduce to Mole Valley. I’ve been discussing projects with air and ground source pump suppliers and solar panel experts. There are some exciting projects for us to consider - some of them are being worked into reports for us.
I see my job as a vocation and will continue to push and achieve much-needed improvements and changes. I take the Climate Emergency very seriously, and hope you will join in with the work I am doing.
Councillor Claire Malcomson, Cabinet Member for Environment