Next week marks the start of our new Council year. Richard Newton Chance reports on the work of the Environment and Climate Change Committee which he chairs:


When I was a boy I used to wander about out on St Cleer common. I remember the constant background hum of the insects.  Now, out on Kit Hill, the constant hum is of traffic – you’re lucky to see a bumble bee.  I sit in The Tamar Inn on a Friday night with my friends and we talk about how long it will be before the pub is regularly under water as we watch the scum float by on the river outside.   For me It’s hard not to feel guilty and depressed about what we have done to the world, but that’s no good to anybody, least of all our grandchildren.  That’s why I am glad to be involved in the Environment and Climate Emergency committee and why I think what we manage to do does make a difference, but we need to do more, much more if we are to recover what we had.


As a committee we have had a busy year.  The highlight for me was Judith Robinson’s Wild About Calstock project that got primary children out into the countryside with their elderly counterparts making a permanent record of the nature they saw by creating photo-books.  An exhibition was held in Calstock Arts to showcase their findings.


Whilst we are dedicated to reducing our impact as an organisation, there is a limit to what we can do in this direction.  We have signed up for EV charging points to be located int he Parish.  We have also, through the planning process, attempted to ensure new buildings minimise their impact on the environment, although we were informed by County that we couldn’t keep objected on grounds of potentially increasing river pollution….   Through our regular meetings with the Tamar Catchment partnership and with South West Water we try to put pressure on the major polluters of the Tamar to clean up their acts.


Nature recovery is also a key priority for us.

Andrew Brown and I have 28 acres between us that we are managing for nature and several other land holders in the parish are doing the same.  This involves creating wild flower meadows, preserving woodland, orchards and hedgerows and leaving spaces for nature to recover naturally.  


We are lucky to have recruited in Pete Gadd: an Outside Services Leader who is really keen on nature recovery and who wants to manage the considerable land holdings we have as a parish in a sustainable and nature friendly way.


We have also supported the Devon and Cornwall Food Action group, reducing food waste through their re-distribution scheme which does an incredible job supporting families struggling with the cost of living.


Being involved and in contact with other partners in the Parish is also critical.  We have met with the Tamar Valley National Landscapes team and are working on co-ordinating our efforts.  We are also working closely with the National Trust in a similar way.  They have been actively involved with the willow tits project and are supporting the hedge management course we are running in September – which is also supported by TVNL.  We have regular meetings with the Heidelberg team at Hingston Down Quarry, who are also keen to listen to and be involved with their local community.


At our meetings we have had speakers from TVNL, the National Trust, Cornwall Mammals and on the 28th May, Dr Maggie Freegard from Wildlife Groundswell.  


All are welcome to attend our meetings, which usually happen every month at the Tamar Valley Centre at 7pm.  The more people we can actively engage in trying to reduce our impact, help nature recover and improve the health of our community the better.

Fields and hedgerows