To many people, our village is looking wonderful: lush and green as a tropical rain forest. To others, parts of it are beginning to look, well, untidy, as our No-Mow May initiative has continued through June and on into July, with Brewer’s Green a mass of wildflowers – or weeds, depending on one’s point of view.
Something we can agree on is that there is a global environmental crisis. Climate change is affecting everyone: we’ve seen in the news the horrors of the deadly and unprecedented heatwave in Canada and the American North-West, with temperatures of over 49 degrees recorded in British Columbia and the heat and associated wildfires killing hundreds of people and unimaginable numbers of animals and destroying many square miles of forest. Biodiversity loss is accelerating: insects make up the vast majority of the species on Earth and our planet’s health depends on them, so their disappearance is especially concerning; many of us can remember scraping bugs off the car windscreen when we were children, a chore unknown to today’s youngsters. And here at home, our lovely River Exe is contaminated with micro-plastics, as are most of the Earth’s waterways.
Governments have been slow to respond to the growing crisis. However, in 2020 the UK Parliament declared a Climate and Environmental Emergency. Somerset County and District Councils soon followed suit, along with many other councils, and Parish Councils began signing up too, among them Timberscombe PC.
So, as signatories to the Climate and Environmental Emergency Declaration, what have Timberscombe PC been doing to follow the Government guidelines to encourage practices to mitigate climate change, to manage ‘gardens, parks and public open spaces’ for biodiversity, and to encourage our community to work towards a sustainable low-carbon future?
- We have hosted around 40 representatives of Parish Councils from across West Somerset for a workshop about climate change run by Mark Ward from West Somerset Together.
- We have applied for and received a grant from Somerset County Council’s Climate Emergency Fund to carry out a biodiversity survey of the parish. This survey is currently underway; plans to launch it with a public event had to be abandoned due to covid restrictions, but we plan to hold some nature walks with our ecology experts as well as a public presentation and workshop in the Autumn. The survey is looking at habitat; promoting biodiversity starts with promoting good habitat for insects and other animals to flourish. (Let us know if you’d like your wildlife-friendly field or garden surveyed!)
- We have been invited to be part of a Somerset Wildlife Trust project offering support, advice and funding to communities wishing to develop green initiatives.
- We took part in No-Mow May, a national project encouraging us all to leave our mowers in the shed to give our native flowers a chance to bloom. (See: plantlife.org.uk ) We also planted wildflowers on the Green and on the roadside verges (and encouraged some parishioners who had been doing their bit with some great guerrilla planting).
- We are hosting a Timberscombe Showcase event in the village hall on August 21st to promote groups, activities and services within the village and the surrounding area and provide an opportunity for people to find out what’s going on and give feedback about anything new they would like to see.
- Covid restrictions meant postponing our plans for a village survey and update of the existing parish plan to include more environmentally significant factors; however, this will soon be going ahead.
Which brings us back to Brewer’s Green! Beautiful and untidy. Beautiful in its untidiness. Beautiful in its wildflowers that provide food for the insects upon whose survival we all depend. We hope everyone can enthusiastically support all the community efforts to encourage environmental awareness and promote biodiversity in our parish.
The Parish Council, July 2021