CPRE, which collaborates with local government, businesses and voluntary groups has a newly appointed chair, Professor Dan Osborn, expert in wellbeing, climate change, environmental policy and flooding. He praised local engagement saying: “Some meetings in Sussex have been the best I’ve ever attended.”
An excellent example of councils and volunteers working well together was award-winning CAN (Climate Action Network and Transition Town Worthing) who with Adur and Worthing councils ran the Zero 2030 Conference which attracted hundreds of local people and inspired a wave of new initiatives.
Particularly timely was the High Weald Housing Design Guide which guides developers in planning for ‘place-making’, not simply function. As Professor Osborn commented: “With so many competing uses for our limited land, it’s important that we use it wisely to include space for tranquillity and resilience.”
Businesses included furniture makers, farmers, film makers and a florist: Crossland Flower Nursery. Owner Ben said he was ‘really shocked’ at winning a Gold Award for his specialist sustainable British alstroemeria business for educating schoolchildren and donating thousands of flowers to frontline NHS workers. He is kindly offering a free Climate Cafe talk on Saturday, December 5, bookable here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/sussex-green-livinghorsham-climate-cafe-30023845980
Other fantastic nominations included working with natural flood management, community food and farm co-operatives and using railway land.
Nominations were amazingly varied, from large pioneering projects such as Knepp Castle Estate, to small projects such as Holbrook Primary School Garden Club which has retained the Green Flag Award for eight consecutive years.
There were many projects for young people, and this work by passionate volunteers working in schools for love not money is increasingly recognised as it becomes clear that the children of today will be left with the problems of our current over use of resources.
With growing financial pressures on local authorities to reduce the cost of managing green spaces, volunteers have become increasingly important. South East Climate Alliance was chosen as Gold Award winner. They commented, ‘Little seemed to be happening on a large scale when so much effort was being put in on a local scale’. As a result of their energy and time, now 57 of the 59 councils in Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire have taken action and SECA can help them honour their promises.
Our own Carrie Cort, founder of the Sussex Green Living network, (described by the judge as ‘a human dynamo’) was also presented with a Gold Award …on the condition that she could be still long enough to collect it!
See cpresussex.org.uk/awards for all award winners, some of which we will explore in future articles.