Note of environmental planning meeting – 7 December The Beehive Pub

Objective
1.    The meeting was to identify broad areas of environmental action for Back Garden alone or in partnership with other residents groups and interested parties.

2.    A draft plan will be created, for further comment by all stakeholders before it is published.

 Introduction
3.    Local residents representing the King’s Hill and Queen’s Park residents groups, Swindon Borough Council, King William Street School and environmental activists met to help identify the issues that should go into the environmental section of Back Garden’s work plan for the next few years.

4.    The meeting identified these areas for inclusion in the plan:

  • trees and other social planting
  • recycling
  • energy and water saving
  • educational activities

Trees and social planting
5.    It was agreed that the 1990 scheme for Western Street should be renewed and the lost trees should be replaced. This work and any other planting in public spaces should be coordinated with Swindon Borough Council.

6.    There were concerns over the sustainability of the Community Garden and the raised beds that formed part of the scheme. There were several options for these, including wildlife gardening and herb gardening, and environmental education. There were offers of help from people attending.

7.    It was also agreed that Back Garden should formally invite other residents groups to consider community planting and to provide expertise so that there could be a coordinated planting scheme. The area between Eastcott Road and Ashford Road was an obvious location for this. Back Garden will canvas residents views on this.

8.    Potential partners were identified as Queen’s Park Residents and their work in the park; King William Street School; Radnor Street Cemetery; and TWIGS – Therapeutic work in gardening in Swindon.

8.    There was interest in a bee–keeping scheme.

Recycling
9.    The remaining negative issue appeared to be waste and recycling from houses in multiple occupancy where it was unclear how much information was being passed on to tenants by landlords.

10.   Badgers, foxes and cats tearing open waste sacks remain a problem. Several residents described adding pungent smells – perfume or vinegar – to sacks to deter animals.

11.   Electrical waste need not form part of a regular collection. Small items can be recycled by electrical shops.

12.   It was agreed that there are opportunities for a composting scheme, possibly using the Community Garden.

13.   The Council have plans for central waste and recycling points.

Energy use and conservation, etc
14.   Electricity, gas and water suppliers have schemes to reduce use and the power suppliers to encourage insulation. There was a discussion on how to respond to these. A meeting of suppliers, their contractors and Swindon Council officers was not felt appropriate, but providing information as a leaflet or a briefing meeting might be.

15.   Thames Water’s ‘Save Water Swindon’ campaign leaflet was distributed.

Educational activities
16.   Back Garden agreed to support for King William Street School. Immediate action by a local employer with links to Back Garden was agreed to help with toilet provision at the schools playing field on Quarry Road.

17.   Other activities will be discussed, primarily via environmental activities – recycling and gardening. Back Garden will loan its exhibition on the history of the area to the school in 2012.

Other topics
18.   The meeting demonstrated the breadth of skills on building, environmental education and gardening that members of Back garden can offer. Making these more accessible would be a useful part of the environmental plan.

Peter Green
Interim Chairman
Back Garden
14 December 2011

peter@castra.org.uk

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