We are delighted that Newton St Cyres Parish Council voted to declare a Climate Emergency, and adopt a Carbon Policy at their meeting on the 22nd June 2021.
Following on from the UK government’s commitment to net zero Carbon emissions by 2050 and subsequent commitments by Devon County Council and many other District and Parish Councils to declare a Climate Emergency; Newton St Cyres also endorses a Climate Emergency policy from 1st July 2021. This policy includes:
Taking action to reduce our carbon footprint, as declaring a Climate emergency justifies a cross cutting approach to all decisions taken by the Parish Council,
Improving our environment and biodiversity for assets directly under the Parish Council’s control and by engaging with and providing support to the community, local organisations and landowners to take similar action,
Taking action to prepare our community for the adaptations and mitigations necessary that Climate Change will bring to our way of life through a community engagement policy and action plan,
Providing feedback on wider council strategies on housing, transport and energy as they relate to this Parish and specific feedback on local planning applications in relation to Climate Change issues.
Collaborating with other District and Parish councils to learn from their experiences and to attract potential funding for Parish initiatives.
What do you value in our Parish?
One of the many things this last year has made plain is how much we need and value nature where we live. We are very fortunate here in Newton St Cyres to have many lovely rural walks to enjoy and my family have been immensely grateful for that. Noticing wildlife and the natural world has become a lifeline for many. But we know now that the natural world is under threat with species and habitats disappearing at an alarming rate due to a number of pressures. So before its gone the Newton Environment and Wellbeing group want to make a parish map showing those things we value and collect the stories behind what makes them special to you. Then we have a record and can try to restore, enhance or learn about the natural world right here. Here are a few suggestions:
An old tree where you have had a picnic with your family or friends, maybe recently or long ago
A piece of hedge where there are always sparrows flitting in and out chirruping noisily
A spot on the river where you have been lucky enough to see a Kingfisher or even an otter
The NEW group want to identify and map these places that you value. You may already know where they are, or its something to do over the summer holidays or maybe its an old photo that could show something from the past to share. The plan would be to have this available in the autumn to share at an event. Please send us details and photos by email or just a postcard. All contributions are most welcome.
What’s happening with our Rivers?
One of the things many of us have done over this last year is spend more time enjoying nature in our local areas. Some of us might be lucky enough to have a river nearby to walk along and enjoy. You might even have seen some wonderful wildlife; Kingfisher or perhaps an Otter if you have been very fortunate. But have you ever wondered about the health of our rivers? There has been quite a lot of publicity given to pollution issues recently from sewage and run-off etc. and you might have been wondering what’s happening in your local patch of river.
The Environment Agency monitors the health of our rivers, and they have been reporting on the Creedy Catchment since 2009 under the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD). Each year, along with other rivers, it is classified according to a combination of elements including fish, aquatic invertebrates, water quality (phosphate, dissolved oxygen, ammonia) and river morphology (shape and structure of the river channel). Rivers can be classified as High, Good, Moderate, Poor or Bad status – the original aim of the WFD was that all rivers would reach ‘Good’ status by 2015, that’s since been put back to 2027. Many of the waterbodies in the Creedy catchment are classed as in a Poor status and the Lower Creedy is sadly rated as a bad status for these measures. This catchment covers a huge area, with tributaries from Whiddon Down in the west to Shobrooke in the East and from Way Village in the north to where it joins the River Exe near Cowley Bridge to the south.
The Westcountry Rivers Trust run a volunteer river monitoring scheme called Westcountry CSI (Citizen Science Investigations) and they are looking for more volunteers to survey the River Creedy and its tributaries. We have over 400 people signed up across the Westcountry – from West Cornwall to Somerset, and between them they have logged approaching 1000 surveys this year alone. But the Creedy catchment could really be helped by some more volunteers. I have taken on two spots near Newton St Cyres and am really enjoying learning more about the state of health of my local patch of the river system.
Westcountry CSI includes a survey form prompting volunteers to record photographs and data on river flows, water level, wildlife spotted and pollution sources. They will suggest survey locations and provide water quality test kits for dissolved solids, suspended sediment and phosphate – some of the key indicators which are scoring so badly in parts of the catchment. This might sound complicated but it’s very straightforward and there is a lot of help available to get you started. All that information is uploaded to an interactive map where it can be viewed online. Ideally people will sign up to survey one or more locations at least once a month, each survey should only take around 10 to 15 minutes, so I find it’s an easy job to do and you get to chat about your results to other walkers. I find people are really interested to know what you are up to!
This information we provide will help the Trust to highlight the good things about the River Creedy and find out more about those issues that are causing it to fail. The Westcountry Rivers Trust will then be able to work with local residents and government bodies to come up with a plan to reverse the fortunes of this much loved river system. For more information check out their website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any spots where you would like to do some sampling. And by the way, it’s a great way for kids to get involved and learn about their environment too! Sue Rowell 5/7/2021
Map showing the catchment and tributaries? The white dots indicate approximate survey sites the charity has indicated they would like to be able to include..