Northampton Town Council's Climate Change Forum
By Councillor Andrew Stevens and Clare Robertson-Marriott.
The Climate Change Forum was set up by Northampton Town Council in late 2021. Its purpose is to develop projects and campaigns which will raise local awareness of the significant threat to all life on earth that climate change and the related biodiversity crisis is likely to cause.
Whilst the Council and individuals can only do small things to counter the threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, taken together with what millions of other people and some large organisations and businesses are doing, the impact can be huge. The message is clear: these climate induced extreme events are already happening and will worsen if humans do not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Projects that have been actioned or are current
1. Our Climate Cafes at the Grosvenor Centre in April - June 2022 were the first public events organised by the Forum. Since then, climate ‘hubs’ have taken place in a number of venues around the town.
2. We have also placed our first sustainable planter for the 'Greening the Town' project on Abington Street by the junction of St Giles Terrace. This project aims to increase biodiversity in the town centre by creating dedicated areas for sustainable plants and flowers, using perennial plants which will create a year-round display as well as providing shelter and food for soil organisms, insects and birds.
The planter showcases examples of plants that can be grown as a sequence throughout the year in the smallest of spaces. Whether we use a window box, patio troughs, a one metre square patch of soil or larger areas, we all can support biodiversity by planting up a green space.
The new planter will be managed by St Giles' Music, a local Northampton business. We hope other businesses in the town will engage with the Forum's aim to add further planters and 'green spots' throughout the town centre: the planter represents a small step but has a huge message behind it.
The CCF has provided a 'planter recipe' with details of the plants and the planting sequence.
3. More recently the CCF have created a long term display in the Grosvenor Centre: ‘Make Change Happen’, on the first floor by the lifts and stairs near Boots. The installation features a 'globe with footprints design' developed for the Climate Hubs, plus a prompt to make a climate pledge. The designs on the installation's columns are from banners made by school students for the Eco March in the town centre in 2019.
This space can be used for one-off events and stalls by community groups wishing to hold an event on an environmental theme, as long as the Grosvenor Centre staff agree; town council event staff can advise on this process. Email email@example.com to find out more.
4. We have launched a 'climate change' grants scheme for local community groups and organisations.
Three Projects in development....
1. Every Journey Matters - An information campaign that aims to encourage more people to choose to walk or cycle shorter journeys around the town. Every journey in the town taken on foot or on a bike that would have previously have been driven in a car reduces harmful emissions and air pollution.
2. Breathe In Better. This is an awareness campaign which aims to help local residents know more about the level of air pollution in their area, and what they can do about it. Air quality data for the town is easily accessible from this site https://airly.org/map/en/.
3. Schools project. We are encouraging primary schools to get involved with Northampton Living Streets' Walk to School Week in May this year, and have a budget to buy some Walk to School Week packs for schools that tell us they are interested.
We are also offering an opportunity for schools to get involved with an ‘Air Quality Toolkit’ guide that was produced by Oxford Council and which the CCF has adapted to be used in Northampton. This provides detailed advice and class teaching plans prompting students to do their own science by collecting data on air quality in the area around their school.
If you’d like to know more, and possibly help develop, promote or evaluate these campaigns when they launch later this Spring, or are interested in supporting the Climate Change Forum, then please contact the CCF Chair at: Cllr.firstname.lastname@example.org