Little Wolford Climate Action Group (LWCAG) - Updates

21/03/2022  •  Climate Emergency

LWCAG holds bi-monthly (every other month) meetings at the Wolfords Village Hall, to discuss topics such as eco-friendly products, electric vehicles, supporting the local wildlife, domestic renewable energy, minimising food & water waste, and a range of other subjects relating to protecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. Our actions, however small, can make a huge difference. The next LWCAG meeting is on Saturday 21st May at 3pm – refreshments provided. Please feel free to come along.

Renewable energy - Several Little Wolford residents are now considering, or even installing, solar or wind power at home. Although the initial outlay is relatively high, the longer-term benefits (such as lower fuel bills, using renewable energy sources, and a cleaner/greener planet) should outweigh the costs. Before embarking on a project to install solar or wind power, please contact your local district council to check whether planning permission would be required.

Possible funding towards energy-saving measures - If your total household income is less than £30,000, and your property has an EPC rating of D, E, F or G, then you may be eligible for funding from Stratford District Council (SDC) towards energy-saving measures such as insulation and solar panels. The Act On Energy website has further details on how to register your interest with SDC – please visit https://actonenergy.org.uk/local-authority-delivery-scheme-lads/stratford-on-avon-district-council/

Pollinator-friendly plants - Last month, a packet of phacelia seeds, along with sowing instructions, was delivered to every household in Little Wolford. The aim is to attract more pollinating insects, and in turn, attract other wildlife, increasing the local biodiversity. Please send photos of your phacelias in bloom to Simon Lewis-Beeching (Chair, LWCAG), at smnflws@gmail.com. 

The UK bird population is under threat - There are now 70 species on the Birds of Conservation Concern Red List – that’s more than a quarter of all UK bird species. In 1996, there were only 36 species on the Red List. The ‘at risk’ birds on the Red List now include: starlings, greenfinches, house sparrows, mistle thrushes, swifts, house martins and cuckoos.  

12 ways in which we can support our declining bird population:

1. Mow lawns less frequently (and definitely don’t cut grass to within an inch of its life) – leave some areas of long grass, allowing it to set seed. Long grass also provides a habitat for beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars etc, providing a rich food source for birds.

2. Avoid cutting hedges, bushes, shrubs and brambles during the breeding season (throughout March to August, inclusive). Birds such as blackcaps nest in hedges and brambles. If your hedge or bush does need a trim, then always check for nests first.

3. Leave trees standing (if they are not diseased or dangerous).

4. Leave dead wood on the ground – this will be a haven for insects, larvae, invertebrates, moss, lichens, and fungi. It will also provide shelter for birds and animals such as hedgehogs.

5. Create a muddy puddle, or place a tray of wet mud, in open ground in your garden (clay-based soil is best) – house martins build nests by using small beak-sized pellets of mud. It takes approximately 1,000 pellets to make a nest.

6. Ensure birds have access to barns, outbuildings and garages – these are favourite nesting sites for swallows and owls, which they return to year after year.

7. Put up artificial nests for swifts and house martins – they might not use them for a couple of years, but it may also encourage them to build their own nests.

8. Install garden water features, bird baths, wildlife ponds and other sources of water.

9. Bird feeders – keep them clean, topped-up and out of reach of predators.

10. Encourage insects to your garden – e.g. sow pollinator-friendly plants, put up bug hotels, etc. Also, plant berry-producing trees, such as holly, elder, rowan and hawthorn.

11. Avoid using pesticides and insecticides – use natural pest control methods such as ladybirds and nematodes. House martins love to eat flying insects and aphids.

12. Create ‘wild’ areas in your garden – just let it grow naturally. The wildlife will thank you for it. 

To download a useful booklet on helping swifts, swallows and house martins, please visit https://www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk/

Checking your carbon footprint – have you ever wondered how much CO2 (carbon dioxide) your lifestyle generates? To find out, use the World Wide Fund for Nature's handy ‘environmental footprint calculator’ here: https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/#/

Top Tips on how to combat climate change (and save yourself money):

1. Swap all your lightbulbs to LED versions.

2. Use a Smart Meter – set the display to kW usage, rather than £cost (this will make you more aware of the energy you use).

3. Close your curtains before it gets dark, before temperatures start to drop. This helps to eliminate draughts and reduce heat loss. Use thermally lined curtains and draught excluders.

4. Turn down your thermostat by 1C.

5. Unplug electrical items such as TVs – don’t leave them on standby.

6. Change to an electric vehicle, where feasible.

7. Reduce meat consumption.

8. Buy locally-grown food and locally-made products, where possible.

9. Buy food that is in season.

10. Reduce (or even eliminate) plastic usage.

11. Use your washing machine and dishwasher less often, and run them overnight to use cheaper/greener tariffs.

12. Reduce food waste – use leftovers for the next day’s meal; give surplus food to friends/neighbours;  ignore ‘use by’ dates (your nose and eyes should suffice). Home-compost any remaining food, rather than throwing it away. To find out more information on reducing food waste, and some great recipe ideas, please visit https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/ 

13. Minimise water usage – e.g. don’t leave the tap running whilst brushing your teeth; use a water butt to water the garden.

14. Reuse as much as possible; if not then recycle as much as possible.