03:59PM, Wednesday 13 October 2021
A series of green events will be taking place across the Royal Borough over the next four weeks to highlight the climate emergency and what people can do to improve their carbon footprint.
Environmental groups are joining forces this autumn in a period dubbed ‘COPtober’, where residents can learn more about climate issues.
From Saturday until November 13, there will be advice on planting trees and draught-proofing your home, as well as the opportunity to visit repair cafe events and watch environmental films at Norden Farm.
Dave Scarbrough set up an independent group called The RBWM Climate Community as he felt more emphasis needed to be paid to the climate in the borough, with other groups addressing similar, yet separate, issues such as biodiversity and plastic waste.
More than 700 residents from various green groups are taking part in COPtober, including Filling Good and the Wilds.
The period also coincides with the COP26 summit being held in Glasgow on November 13.
“I think most people understand that there is a climate emergency,” Dave said. "We all need to do something, and we all can do something. That is one of the things we want to explain to people.
“There is still lots to do, particularly on the energy side, and we do need more things happening. We need urgency – people are working hard but we need more.”
He added: “Our objective is to enthuse everyone to reduce their carbon footprint by 10 per cent each year. That does not sound a lot and is something we can easily do.
“Our stall in [Maidenhead] high street [on November 6] will try to help people understand all the different things they can do.”
Dave said that the main problem facing the borough is air quality and he wants more education around issues such as parents idling outside of schools at pick-up and drop-off times.
He has called on people to instead make use of active travel measures like walking and cycling, which have recently been consulted on by the borough.
“Both schools and pupils are well aware of the problem and they are educating the children very well,” he said.
The arrival of COPtober also coincides with the Royal Borough’s cabinet agreeing to establish a ‘Climate Partnership’, which was first announced at a busy full council meeting at the end of September, in which opposition councillors had doubts over the council's climate vision.
The initiative will bring together private and public sector organisations, as well as community groups, to oversee the delivery of the council’s Environment and Climate Strategy, which was adopted in December and sets out the council's vision to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Member organisations will be spread across the strategy’s four themes: energy, circular economy, natural environment, and transport.
Work to set up the partnership will begin now with an intention to have the group in place close to the start of the next financial year.
Councillor Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s), cabinet member for climate change, said: “We know there is a lot of support within the Royal Borough for reducing the impact we have on our environment, and the aim of the partnership is to harness that passion.
"The council’s strategy makes clear that we cannot act in isolation but require the whole borough and central Government to play their part.
“The climate crisis is everyone’s problem, and it is up to each of us to do what we can to make a difference.
"The Climate Partnership is an exciting step forward that can accelerate our collective impact, and I urge anyone with an interest in climate and the environment to join.”
The Royal Borough council declared a climate emergency in June 2019, while campaigners have called on the authority to address climate issues within its proposed corporate plan, which helps to set out the council's 'vision and focus'.
Email email@example.com for membership inquiries.
For more on Dave’s group and COPtober, search for RBWM Climate Community on Facebook.