Trees, pesticides, access to our tip and recycling…it has been a busy few weeks and we want to update our members on what we’ve been doing.
Pesticide Free Towns
We attended the Town Council meeting this week and proposed that New Alresford follows other towns in becoming a ‘Pesticide Free’ town.
As well as their potential harmful effects on humans, pesticides have contributed to the long term decline of animal numbers including pollinators, birds, butterflies, toads and hedgehogs, and millions of pounds is spent removing pesticides from water each year.
The first step would involve introduction of ‘chemical-free’ weed removal and management methods by the council, followed by a community-based campaign to encourage residents to stop using pesticides in their gardens and allotments.
We believe the benefits would be:
- Protection of our residents from the adverse effects of pesticide exposure.
- A boost for biodiversity, supporting our pollinators and other wild animals whose numbers have been in serious decline.
- Improvement to the quality of our watercourses.
It would also send a strong message to any potential buyer of the Bakkavor salad washing plant that this community won’t tolerate any harm to our chalk streams.
We have provided the Town Council with further information, useful links and contacts so that they can consider this proposal further.
Alresford Household Waste Recycling Centre
In September New Leaf participated in an online joint deputation to a full sitting of Hampshire County Council. Since the lockdown, HCC has restricted access to the Alresford Recycling Centre to ‘car drivers’ only. New Leaf presented the environmental concerns of a policy which forces people to use their cars, highlighting that short journeys made with cold engines are the most polluting. They have the greatest impact on both carbon emissions and air pollution and forcing people to use their cars is in conflict with HCC’s Climate Emergency Declaration.
Local residents have expressed that they find this situation ridiculous. One resident told us “Rather than take a 10 minute walk to drop a bag of recycling off, I now have to get my car out and drive 30 seconds up the road”.
The initial response was tentatively positive, with the Councillor who is lead for the environment stating that the issue will be looked at again. The deputation suggested that Alresford would be willing to be a pilot site to test more open access, which includes pedestrians.
A follow-up letter has since been sent to Councillor Humby, but if our members would like to lend their support on this issue please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, expressing your concerns at the reduced access and support for this campaign.
We have been in contact with this company, who provide a comprehensive monthly doorstep collection in conjunction with the Terracycle scheme. The company currently covers the Basingstoke area but are hoping to expand their service over the next year and will let us know when it becomes available in our area.
Tree Planting in Alresford
Our thanks to Adam who has been progressing this project since last year. Adam has been a New Leaf member since the start and we are very lucky to have him, as he brings a wealth of invaluable expertise.
Many of you suggested potential sites around the town which could accommodate some planting, Adam then surveyed the sites and identified the landowners. The current proposal is for trees which have been made available to Adam by Hampshire County Council. This means the trees have to be planted on land which is in public ownership. As a result, three sites have been selected, at Benenden Green, Nicholson Place and Lindley Gardens. We put out an appeal for members to help nurture the new trees during the summer months for the first two years until they are established, and we are very pleased to say that you have offered the help required which should make this project viable. New Leaf will now confirm to Winchester City Council a commitment to undertake the watering and we hope the tree planting proposal will receive approval. We’ll keep you posted.
We hope further tree planting projects will take place. Several New Leaf members are still looking after the whips that were donated by Mill Farm Trees during the lockdown. They have grown considerably during the summer but won’t be ready to plant out this year.