As an important commitment within the Vision, in 2019 the Council launched #sustainablemarlow, an initiative to make Marlow into an environmental exemplar town with a series of projects tackling priority issues.
To drive the initiative, the Council has created an environmental advisory group, reporting to the PET Committee, and has drafted a new environmental policy to guide its own activities.
Through #sustainablemarlow, the Council aims to drive progress on environment and sustainability in three key ways:
- By acting on environmental issues it can control
- By communicating with residents and local businesses to raise awareness and spread understanding of environmental issues
- By engaging with external government and business stakeholders to influence their decisions towards environmental sustainability
#sustainablemarlow builds on longstanding environmental efforts by Marlow Town Council. Past initiatives include:
- Working closely with all environmental groups
- Securing Marlow’s flood alleviation scheme, working with the Environment Agency and Bucks County Council
- Introduction and management of town centre floral displays and bunting
The project’s goal is to maximise the number of trees around Marlow: along streets, on open spaces, and in countryside hedgerows.
The rationale is that more trees (of the right species in the right places) will: Beautify Marlow and its surrounding countryside; Benefit biodiversity; Absorb air pollution; Sequester carbon; and Create climate resilience.
The project is part of Marlow Town Council’s #sustainablemarlow initiative. It is being run by volunteers through local pro-sustainability group Transition Town Marlow. The project’s objectives and work streams are:
- Research: Identify where there are opportunities for more trees. Survey Marlow and its surroundings to create a vision of all opportunity areas.
- Funding & sponsorship: Apply for funding (e.g. the DEFRA Urban Tree Challenge Fund). Seek sponsorship from local firms. Consider launching a tree sponsorship scheme aimed at residents..
- Permissions: Where there are planting opportunities, liaise with landowners to seek permission for tree planting.
- Community liaison: For proposed planting in open spaces and streets, liaise with residents to ensure local support for siting and species selection.
- Planting: Where appropriate, provide volunteers to help with planting
- Aftercare: Where appropriate, create mechanisms such as appointing local tree champions or via individual tree sponsorship to ensure new trees are well maintained.
A cross-cutting objective of the project is to work constructively and collaboratively with key decision makers including councils, private landowners and residents. Our aim is to encourage and facilitate more tree planting where it will be welcomed.
Refill Marlow is run by Phil Irving, who works for the Environment Agency and lives in Marlow. The scheme is strongly supported by the Town Council along side a team of local residents and councillors helping to sign up local businesses as Refill Stations.
A new water refill station has opened on The Causeway in Marlow, allowing residents and visitors to fill up their water bottles at no charge.
The station, opposite the George and Dragon pub, has been paid for using the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). It is part of Marlow Town Council’s commitment to the environment and sustainability through its #sustainablemarlow project.
“As part of our long-term Sustainable Marlow activities, we’re pleased to offer this new refill station,” Mayor Richard Scott says. “We’re hoping this will help reduce the problem of single-use plastic water bottles in the town.”
Anyone can get involved, no matter how much time they can offer. Please email Phil to find out more.
The first Marlow Schools’ Eco Conference, due to take place on the 26th March 2020, unfortunately had to be postponed.
Organisers monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation closely and were working in line with Government guidelines. After taking advice from both the Departments of Health and Education, a decision had to be made to postpone the event.
Kevin Ford, Headteacher at Great Marlow School, said: “The safety of our students always comes first. We feel that this is the right decision, not only for the students of all the schools involved, but also the speakers and supporting organisations. We very much look forward to rescheduling this special event for a future date.”
Phil Irving, who leads schools projects for Sustainable Marlow, said: “We fully support the decision to postpone the conference. The dedication and enthusiasm of the schools, and the experts supporting the event, has been truly inspiring.”