In this issue Zero 2030 Climate Conference Carbon Neutral Plan
Environmentalist Isabella Tree talks rewilding
CLIMATE EMERGENCY The fight for a sustainable future
INTRODUCTION by Francesca Iliffe
Adur & Worthing Councils’ Sustainability Manager Welcome to the first edition of SustainableAW, a magazine to showcase the extensive sustainability activity across Adur and Worthing.We want to support better connections and collaboration, so that together we can achieve more to make Adur & Worthing Councils, our communities and our world more sustainable. Our Climate Conference held in March was a perfect example of what can happen when we work together. Organised by Worthing Climate Action Network,Transition Town Worthing and the Councils, it brought together 300 local people and 125 organisations to share knowledge, get inspired, and prepare ourselves for
the tasks ahead. The COVID lockdown has brought much of the best out in local communities.While many have faced challenges and loss, we have also seen how fast systems and lifestyles can change in the face of an emergency. The climate is an emergency that needs our attention as much as COVID. After stark climate and ecology warnings at the end of 2019, the 2020s are the decade to turn things around.The Councils are making lots of changes - we’ve declared a climate emergency, are implementing a plan to be carbon neutral by 2030 through changes to council transport and energy, and
are planning a climate assembly for later this year.We want to engage with all our partners across Adur and Worthing to develop projects to reduce carbon and rewild our area to make more space for wildlife. These actions are all brought together in our SustainableAW programme, a shared plan between our communities and the Councils, which recognises that we can have greater impact by working together. We are inviting local partners to input ambitious commitments through 10 sustainability action areas (see page 10). Please join us in our ambition to create a better, happier, healthier, more sustainable future for everyone.
13 ECO-UPGRADE FOR SOMPTING STREAM
21 HIGHDOWN SEEDS PRESERVED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
3 WELCOME 4 ZERO 2030 THE ADUR & WORTHING COMMUNITY-LED CLIMATE CONFERENCE
14 LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN 16 LOCKDOWN, NATURE AND A NEW NORMAL 17 TREE-LINED AVENUE TAKES ROOT
7 IN-TREE-GUING ISABELLA
18 RECYCLING HITS NEW HIGH
10 WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE AW?
19 FIRST ELECTRIC VANS ON THE ROAD
11 THE CARBON NEUTRAL PLAN 12 LIVING THE GREEN DREAM - ECO OPEN HOUSES WORTHING
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20 PUTTING PEOPLE AT THE HEART OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS
22 PLANNING PUBLISH CLIMATE CHANGE POSITION 23 EVERY TREE COUNTS 24 SUSTAINABLE ADUR & WORTHING DIRECTORY
Front cover The Knepp Castle Estate, West Sussex. Picture: Charlie Burrell Produced by Adur & Worthing Councils to promote the work underway to improve sustainability and the environment across our communities
WELCOME A welcome from Cllr Emma Evans, Adur’s Executive Member for Environment
A welcome from Cllr Edward Crouch, Worthing’s Executive Member for Environment
“The last few months have been dominated by a global pandemic. But, as we move out of COVID lockdown it’s vital that we do not lose sight of the bigger picture and responding to the climate emergency. Individual action can sometimes seem overwhelming. But, as we have witnessed with COVID, if we all work together we can make a difference. You only have to look at the communities in Adur to see there is a network of people all willing to put in a little extra effort, go the extra mile, to have a positive impact. It is this community spirit that the Council will always support and enable through
our SustainableAW plan, to lead on the climate agenda, with the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. The Council is dedicated to making a difference, and we are willing to take action and promise to play our part at a local level. But we can’t do this alone, so the more organisations who join us the more powerful we can all be, and the bigger effect we can have. Within this magazine you’ll see what could appear to be an abstract goal turn into a realistic plan of action.”
“If the last few months of lockdown has taught me anything it is that I am so lucky to live here in Worthing. Our parks and open spaces are muchloved by residents and visitors, and we are committed to ensuring they remain attractive and welcoming places for generations to come, but also appealing to wildlife, enhancing the wider biodiversity of the area. I know many local residents are as enthusiastic as I am in playing an active role in protecting our environment for years to come, whether that means getting involved with their local ‘Friends of’ park group, making sure they reduce, reuse and recycle, or minimise their own personal carbon
emissions. UN experts are in no doubt human activity is responsible for climate change so it is human activity that has to change. So we have to play our part. Adur & Worthing Councils have made good progress on reducing carbon emissions, but it’s vital that we as civic leaders show commitment and direction on this extremely important issue. At the Council we invite everyone, all our partners and residents to join us in local action to tackle the climate emergency, which is ambitious, but achievable, and will help protect our local community for future generations.” SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020 | 3
ZERO 2030 THE ADUR & WORTHING COMMUNITY LED CLIMATE CONFERENCE
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© Anthony Cullen
Zero 2030 was a day of insight, inspiration and involvement that took place in March 2020.The day acted as a springboard to help organisations and individuals across Adur and Worthing shape the response to climate change
SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020 | 5
ZERO 2030 The Adur & Worthing Community Led Climate Conference
Worthing Climate Action, Transition Town Worthing and Adur & Worthing Councils joined forces to facilitate an event featuring a range of motivational speakers and participatory workshops
Isabella Tree speaking at the conference
We want people to feel inspired and positive about what can be done, and then we hope they take that back into their communities, their streets, their schools and their lives 6 | SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020
“We owe it to all generations to make our planet greener and cleaner.” Addressing a packed Zero 2030 conference at Worthing Assembly Hall, Cllr Daniel Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, outlined to delegates why such events are crucial and what Adur & Worthing Councils are doing to build a more sustainable environment while combating climate change. He said the Councils had declared a climate emergency in July last year and had pledged £2 million over the next few years to build on their carbon reduction plans. They also committed to moving towards zero carbon energy use across Adur and Worthing by 2050, and within the Councils by 2030. Their SustainableAW framework had also been updated. Over 300 local people, including local residents and representatives from local businesses, community and civic groups, attended the Councilssupported and community-led conference to discuss how to shape the local response to the climate emergency. Cllr Humphreys added: “This conference is about us working together to come up with some of the solutions and develop ideas for local action.” Speakers included Isabella Tree of the well-known rewilding project at Knepp Estate near Horsham and Matt Rooney of sustainability experts, Anthesis, which has been helping the Councils to look at how the 2050 carbon neutral target could be achieved across Adur and Worthing.
Isabella, a conservation pioneer, told the audience that creating corridors of rewilded areas was key in Sussex and across the country.They not only increased biodiversity by giving wildlife safe havens they can move between, but also had a key role in carbon reduction and in stopping flooding in lowland areas. Isabella said: “We are seeing birds on our land which we haven’t seen in 100 years, and our restored soils are capturing double the amount of carbon, as well as acting like a sponge, absorbing water.” Community groups were also given time at the conference to talk about the work they are already doing locally.They included the two key organisers of the conference, Transition Town Worthing (TTW) and Worthing Climate Action Network (Worthing CAN). Speaking afterwards, Michelle Furtado of Worthing CAN said: “We want people to feel inspired and positive about what can be done, and then we hope they take that back into their communities, their streets, their schools and their lives.” Students from Chatsmore Catholic High School, who are part of the FingerPrints climate action group also spoke at the conference, and other local groups and organisations set up stalls.They included Community Works, Surfers Against Sewage, Breathing Spaces, Sustrans, South East Climate Alliance, Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, Sompting Estate and Community Chest.
SustainableAW asked Isabella our top 5 questions
© Anthony Cullen
The writer, who’s been published in National Geographic, Granta,The Sunday Times and The Observer, was the keynote speaker at the Zero 2030 Conference.To give those attending a flavour of her work, SustainableAW magazine sat down with Isabella to find out more.
advise on the ‘Knepp Oak’, a 500 year old tree beginning to split down the middle. Actually, he said this tree was in fine heart and would last another 500 years. It was the other oaks in the landscape that worried him.They had lost their ‘bloom’ and were becoming quite ‘staggy’ and skeletal. He told us it was what we were doing to the soil beneath them - endlessly ploughing, right up to the trunks, damaging their roots; killing off the mycorrhizal fungi and life in the soil with chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides. We were killing off the trees’ life support systems. Suddenly, we began to look at what we were doing to our soil in a totally different way. Originally we hoped if we could improve conditions for nature, even a little, it would be worth it. But the results have been beyond our wildest dreams. And we’ve discovered that it’s not just biodiversity - and our oaks - that have recovered.We’re also purifying the water that runs onto us from surrounding roads and farms, our floodplains are now storing water safely in big rains so we’re mitigating against floods downstream from us, we’re restoring the soil and we’re sequestering carbon.
Zero 2030 Key Note Speaker Isabella Tree is an award-winning author, travel writer and environmentalist, and lives with her husband, Charlie Burrell, in the middle of a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex
What was the spark that ignited your passion with rewilding? Our farm was losing money - we were finding it impossible to make a profit with intensive arable and dairy farming on the heavy Sussex clay and we were £1.5 million in debt. We knew we had to stop.We wanted to find something that worked with the land, rather than battling against it all the time. We met Ted Green, a remarkable man, in his 70s, who had been advisor to the Crown for the ancient oaks at Windsor.We asked him to come and
species in Britain, like turtle doves, nightingales and purple emperor butterflies. All this on land that, less than twenty years ago, was almost worthless in terms of wildlife.
© Neil Hulme
KNEPP ESTATE: PIONEERING REWILDING IN WEST SUSSEX
What do you think people would be surprised to learn about your work? That we’ve done so little work to create the rewilding project.That’s What rewilding accomplishment the difference between us and are you proudest of? conventional conservation. Nature Proving how sitting on your hands reserves tend to manage their land and letting nature take the driving to protect a specific species, or suite seat yields astonishing results. of species, or a habitat.That’s hugely Nature knows best. Allowing large important.Without conventional free-roaming herbivores creates a conservation we’d have lost many shifting kaleidoscope of habitats, from more species than we already have. thorny scrub to water meadows and They’re our Noah’s Arks.Their marshland, from groves of sallow to purpose is generally to lock nature grazing lawns and open wood pasture. down in stasis.What we’ve done at The knock-on effect of allowing these Knepp with rewilding, is the opposite. large grazing and browsing animals We’ve shown how ‘letting go’, allowing old English longhorn cattle, Exmoor natural boom and bust cycles, can ponies,Tamworth pigs and red and benefit species across the board, and fallow deer - has been absolutely have surprising results. Nightingales astonishing.We now have breeding and purple emperor butterflies, for populations of some of the rarest Continued on page 8 SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020 | 7
ZERO 2030 The Adur & Worthing Community Led Climate Conference © Knepp Castle Estate
Rewilding in action at Knepp Castle Estate
example, are conventionally classed as ‘woodland’ species because that’s where we tend to see them, clinging on to existence. But at Knepp they’re showing that they prefer our thorny scrub.That’s where they thrive. So, taking your hands off the steering wheel, and allowing species to express themselves, shows us what their real preferences are. It teaches us humility again.
Why do you think the Zero 2030 conference was important and why are events like it necessary now? We’re facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions and it’s affecting all life on this planet, including our own.We can talk and talk and talk about it, and theorise about where we went wrong and what we should be doing, but unless we act, nothing will change. Setting targets and acting on those targets is absolutely vital.
What common misconceptions do you encounter around climate change? I think methane emissions from cows is a big red herring.The planet evolved with infinitely larger populations of methane-emitting megafauna - all the large ruminants of the past, like aurochs and bison, many of which were hunted to extinction by us and it wasn’t a problem for the planet. Methane is part of the natural
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carbon cycle. It is relatively shortlived - it lasts about 10 years in the atmosphere - and then it breaks down into carbon and water and is taken up by vegetation again. Of course, industrial farming, feeding cattle grain and protein (grown on land that is often deforested for the purpose), creating methane-emitting slurry lagoons, with all the carbon cost involved in high-intensive, industrial systems is unethical and unsustainable.We have to put an end to industrial meat production. But grazing and browsing animals have a huge part to play in sequestering carbon. If managed correctly, not over-grazing, or under-grazing, the way that cattle stimulate vegetation growth above ground and mycorrhizal fungal root systems underground, and the way they help regenerate soil health with dung and urine, is one of the most powerful ways of sequestering carbon we have. The over-riding carbon problem is fossil fuels - all the additional carbon load that humans have been unleashing on the atmosphere by using fossil fuel for energy. We should not allow the fossil fuel industry to use methane emissions from cows as a smokescreen for what they are doing to the planet.
Zero 2030 was a true community-led climate conference, with more than 300 people discussing ways to help create a cleaner, greener, sustainable, resilient and connected Adur and Worthing. But where next for the movement?
The event was delivered in a truly collaborative way through close working between Worthing Climate Action Network, a group campaigning for action on climate change, and Transition Town Worthing, a Community Interest Company who share ideas and expertise on sustainability and bringing the community together; along with support from Adur & Worthing Councils. It was resourced with help from more than 50 volunteers with representatives from 125 organisations and £880 raised through crowdfunding to support the event. The next stage is for a series of community actions to be developed which can be incorporated into the SustainableAW programme. These will be discussed in an online forum event to be held later this year so there is community consensus. Zero 2030 outputs will be used to inform development of a Climate Emergency Plan for Adur and Worthing while findings will also support a Climate Assembly, which will be held later this year. Findings and recommendations will be fed into the process of developing a Climate Assembly for the area.
Q&A SustainableAW took the opportunity to catch up with Zero 2030 organisers Michelle Furtado from Worthing Climate Action Network and Pauline Cory from Transition Town Worthing Michelle, what difference can local events make to a global crisis? Central government is failing to take climate change seriously.They’re failing to communicate the urgency and failing to align policies to achieve decarbonisation.We believe by working together locally, our communities can initiate change and drive the agenda. What was your personal highlight of the Zero 2030 conference? The day was a culmination of many months of hard work and planning and to see it all come together on the day was a brilliant feeling. Everyone who attended was really positive and there was a real buzz to the conversations during the workshops and particularly in the breaks. What do you hope will happen next? We’ve been distilling the outputs from the workshops and will be framing these in a way that provides a steer for community organisations, business and individuals to take action. The coronavirus crisis has shown that communities can rally to support their most vulnerable members. We’ve seen an increase in volunteer numbers and want to harness this new energy to create real change and transformation to make all our lives cleaner and greener.
Climate strike at Worthing Town Hall
What common misconceptions are there around climate change? I think the main one is it’s not urgent. The science has been understood for at least 40 years. In that time, we’ve burned more fossil fuels than the whole of previous human history, despite knowing the terrible consequences. In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed the dramatic loss of British wildlife - the wealth of bugs, birds and mammals that have disappeared from our gardens - it breaks my heart.
new faces, open and willing to learn and share, thus creating a wonderful atmosphere and helping us to feel so supported in our efforts.
What has been your most significant personal accomplishment in tackling climate change? I’ve worked with many NHS trusts to tackle strategic sustainability and once ran after a neurosurgeon who was dismissive of attempts to deliver change. Once we had a longer conversation and really looked at the issues he faced - huge amounts of plastic during surgery to name one -we could work up an achievable plan to adjust hospital practice. I don’t give up easily!
Why is Zero 2030 necessary now? It’s been necessary for many years but as time goes on, it becomes more and more urgent. Personally I don’t even think we have 10 years to turn this around, probably more like five and if we don’t pull together on this, the game will be up.
Pauline, what was your personal highlight of Zero 2030? Looking out across the room from the stage (the thought of being up there had been terrifying beforehand) and seeing lots of smiling familiar faces - people I love and care about - but also very many
What do you hope will happen next? That we can now establish a truly sustainable way forward for Worthing and Adur, setting up new partnerships, getting the community on board much more, and taking all we shared at the Conference to the next level.
What was the spark that ignited your passion to work towards tackling climate change? The birth of my only grandchild and Drew Dellinger’s poem “Hieroglyphic Stairway”. What has been your proudest moment with Transition Town Worthing? Delivering a very successful Eco Open Houses event and seeing the utter magic of The Repair Cafe are running neck and neck for my number one. SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020 | 9
What is SustainableAW? SustainableAW is a framework for action across Adur and Worthing, dedicated to addressing the big challenges of our time, climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental sustainability. It is a shared plan between communities and the Councils - the focus is on delivering positive change not just creating a plan for its own sake SHARED LEADERSHIP Deepening engagement and capacity for sustainability
LAND USE & PLANNING Delivering sustainable land use and planning
CARBON REDUCTION Radically reducing carbon emissions
CLIMATE RESILIENCE Improving resilience to a changing climate
ENERGY Transitioning to clean, secure, affordable energy
FOOD Developing a fairer, more sustainable food system TRANSPORT Shifting to sustainable transport and improving air quality
WATER Improving water quality and reducing consumption
WASTE REDUCTION Reducing waste, increasing reuse, recycling and composting
BIODIVERSITY Rewilding to create more and better spaces for wildlife
First adopted by Adur & Worthing Councils in 2018, the framework originally focused on six action areas: carbon, biodiversity, transport, energy, waste and water. Lots of progress was made in the first year, such as: • taking the UK100 Cities pledge to achieve 100% clean energy across Adur and Worthing by 2050 • declaring Climate Emergency • committing to become carbon neutral across Council services by 2030 and adopting a Carbon Neutral Plan to achieve this • launching LEAP, the energy advice service helping local residents reduce energy bills and carbon emissions, and installing over 1,000 energy saving measures in local homes • installing a large 20kW solar photovoltaic array on Shoreham Centre roof 10 | SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020
• starting design work on two district heat systems for Shoreham Harbour and Worthing Civic site • developing a Plastic Free Council Plan, plastic free elections and meetings, and supporting community groups to launch Plastic Free Worthing and Refill schemes in Worthing, Shoreham and Lancing • lots of work on the transport agenda Recognising the remit needed broadening, in December 2019, four further action areas were added to SustainableAW: food, climate resilience, shared leadership and land use & planning. To achieve its aims, the Councils recognised the need to join forces with the local community, businesses and other partners. So a new tier of actions were invited from partners to create a more dynamic, shared programme.
At the climate conference, Zero 2030, participants were invited to propose their own actions for SustainableAW. These are now being drawn together to develop a truly shared plan. SustainableAW will drive momentum across Adur and Worthing to address our big environmental challenges, helping develop partnerships and forums, broadening the reach, supporting funding bids, increasing capacity, and deepening effectiveness through working together. Find out more about SustainableAW on the Councils’ website: www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/ sustainable-aw
The Carbon Neutral Plan The Carbon Neutral Plan is the pathway for Adur & Worthing Council to become Carbon Neutral by 2030. On 9th July 2019, Adur & Worthing Councils declared a Climate Emergency, committing to working towards being carbon neutral by 2030. Now, a science and evidence based Carbon Neutral Plan has been produced setting out how this achievement would be made working with partners and lobbying government for powers to accomplish this. The report sets out key actions and intervention measures required on the path to net zero carbon emissions. The fundamental steps required to deliver the net-zero target are clear and the report concludes these can be set into action now. See the Carbon Neutral Plan on the Councils’ website.
The key priority areas for action are: Buildings: reducing heat and power demands through fabric efficiency improvements and behavioural change. Future developments need to achieve a high standard of energy efficiency in order to minimise any increase in fuel consumption. In the long term, all buildings will need to switch from gas / fossil fuels to low and zero carbon heat sources. Uptake of Low and Zero Carbon Technologies: increasing use of zero and low carbon technologies and battery storage within the Councils will reduce reliance on fossil fuels, reduce pressure on existing utility infrastructure, improve security of supply, and protect against price fluctuations.
Photo: Brighton Energy Co-op installed a new 100kW PV array installed at Splashpoint in January. Project delivered by Worthing Borough Council and South Downs Leisure
Transport: transformation in the transport sector to low and zero emissions vehicles, behaviour change and increasing the uptake of walking and cycling, and reducing HGV mileage. Offsetting remaining carbon emissions: removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through sustainable woodland management or investing in large-scale renewable energy generation. It is important to note, however, carbon offsetting is not enough to achieve the net zero target on its own. A working group has been set up within the Councils to implement the Plan, with finance and resources allocated to help deliver the priority actions. Planning Policy are exploring how to embed within the policies in the Worthing Local Plan but also the strategic energy infrastructure needed to support the decarbonisation of the national grid within our Infrastructure Delivery Plans. SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020 | 11
LIVING THE GREEN DREAM
Warren Philips has carried out a range of eco-improvements to his home in Shoreham
The property in Juniper Walk is now 100% energy self-sufficient in the summer months
Warren’s daughter Senna is the inspiration behind the family making the changes to their home
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Eco Open Houses Worthing gives people the chance to share green tips on improving their properties. With this bi-annual event postponed due to COVID, SustainableAW met one homeowner to see what could be shared with others If you want to get your head around the latest green technology which can improve your home and reduce your bills,Warren Philips is your man. His philosophy is “make the future we want” and Warren and his wife Bairbre want to make their daughter Senna’s future as secure as possible by being ahead of the game regarding self-sufficiency. Warren, who works for global engineering firm Mott McDonald, loves technology and is passionate about solar PV, home batteries and electric cars. All three feature in his Shoreham home, which means it is now 100% energy self-sufficient in the summer months. Warren’s green dream started before he even bought the house. When looking for a property in 2015 he made it a priority to secure offstreet parking for an electric car and roof space for solar panels. The family moved into Juniper Walk in August and started the process to get energy efficient immediately. The first priority was to fit LED bulbs and a Nest Smart Thermostat to control the heating and hot water systems.
In September, the solar array was installed - a 22 panel, 6.27kW system, which is more than double the size needed for a house of his size. The electric car arrived four weeks later and a year on Warren was one of the first homeowners in the UK to install a Tesla PowerWall 2 battery.This has reduced bills, lowered the carbon output and guarantees electricity even if there’s an outage. Where possible, anything electrical is run when the sun is shining, including the washing machine, dishwasher, and even slow cookers on timers to cook, as the power is provided by the solar panels. With the battery, this is no longer a necessity - though Warren is keen to note this is the most efficient way to use power generated by solar. With new eco taps, upgraded flush systems and a water butt for the garden, the family have reduced water usage to around half the usage for a typical similar household. With all these upgrades, the Energy Performance Certificate rating for the home has gone from 62-D to 93-A a real tangible difference which shows what impact forward planning can have on a property!
Eco-upgrade for Sompting stream © Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust
Vibrant underwater aquatic plants and a flock of goldfinches feasting on seed heads are all in a day’s viewing at a new environmental project in Sompting Thanks to forward-thinking collaboration between a local landowner and the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust (OART), the Broadwater Brook is being re-routed from its urban underground course to a new clean water open stream away from contaminating sources. Not only will the new course of Broadwater Brook, a rare chalkstream crossing Sompting Estate’s Church Farm, become a wildlife haven, it will be incorporated into a new nature trail for the local community. The EPIC (Enhancing Places, Inspiring Communities) project has been awarded a £871,400 Heritage Lottery Fund grant and also involves improving the natural habitat and biodiversity in the area. Council staff have been amongst the local volunteers working with the OART to make it a reality.
Senior Planning Officer, Jennifer Ryan, said: “There is a great sense of accomplishment by all of those who take part. It is really evident that the project has brought the community together in a shared goal to improve their local environment.” The volunteers are involved in the creation of two ponds, the planting of approximately 1,000 trees and 2.5km of hedgerow, as well as wildflower seed planting, plastic and litter pick ups and archaeological field survey. For farmer and landowner, Mike Tristram, making land available for the project was a win-win situation for everyone: “I’m very glad to be involved in this project. It continues the work which the Sompting Estate has been doing since the 1980s to restore traditional habitats around farming, and it makes the area a valuable resource for the community too.”
Do you want to volunteer with the EPIC project? Find out more on their Facebook page and here: oart.org.uk/epic
[This] makes the area a valuable resource for the community
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LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN The COVID-19 pandemic meant huge changes for the way we all led our lives. Below are just some of the temporary adjustments which may well trigger longer-lasting impacts for the communities of Adur and Worthing
Home working personal level. Whilst I sometimes worked from home, I preferred the Head of Customer & Digital Services hustle and bustle of the office. Most of the time that 18 mile round trip at Adur & Worthing Councils was done by car. I now go into the office a few times a week. When I do, I cycle which is keeping me When lockdown was announced active and boosts my mental health. we entered uncharted territory for This means I have avoided 1,000 miles a largely office based organisation of car travel during lockdown. such as Adur & Worthing Councils. That has been repeated across Within three days more than 300 the organisation as seen by our staff moved to a home working 186-capacity staff car park being model while there were some radical empty most days. That’s 186 cars changes to our key frontline services. that aren’t stuck in traffic jams and It was a huge shift for me on a 186 drivers who have been given
back time at the start and end of their day. It’s not just the environment that is benefitting. We are currently conducting a staff survey, and early results suggest the vast majority of staff feel their work life balance has improved with home working while productivity has remained good, or even improved. The challenge now is to embed the good that has come out of this pandemic so that it continues to benefit our staff, customers and the environment.
Air pollution Nadeem Shad Environmental Health Team Leader at Adur & Worthing Councils
Did anyone else stand on the shoreline in recent weeks and notice the horizon was visibly clearer? If there was one major impact of lockdown it was a 60% drop in local road traffic which in turn led to clearer skies and cleaner air. This is clear by a drop in levels of Nitrogen Dioxide and particulate 14 | SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020
matter across Adur and Worthing while levels of low level Ozone increased significantly, particularly in our urban areas. There were the occasional spike with many likely to be the result of garden waste burning, industrial emissions blowing over from the continent on easterly winds and the warmer weather. But, on the whole, lockdown gave us a brief glimpse of what our local environment can be like if we change our driving habits. The Councils are continuing to promote home working and this has
significantly reduced car commuting to and from our offices. Not only does this result in cleaner air, it also brings the co-benefit of increased exercise. However I have already noticed an increase in traffic since lockdown was eased and fear that when the schools return traffic levels will increase further. So what we now need is this change in behaviour to become the ‘new normal’. The pop-up cycle schemes are a start and we hope there will be other alternatives to come forward in time.
Walking and cycling Francesca Iliffe Strategic Sustainability Manager at Adur & Worthing Councils
My usual cycle and train commute was cut short by the lockdown. I miss my morning and evening cycle but love having two extra hours for other things - including taking a walk on the Downs after working. The empty roads have transported us back to vehicle levels last seen in the early 1900s, and got more people
cycling, one of the positive impacts of the pandemic. By April 2020 daily global carbon emissions decreased by 17%. The Councils have been busy creating socially distanced space for pedestrians in our town centres. The government has released funding for pop up cycle lanes to help new cyclists stay safe and encourage people onto bikes and out of cars. Adur & Worthing Councils are working with the County who have received nearly £800,000 for seven pop up routes across West Sussex. Thanks to our work on the Adur
& Worthing Cycling and Walking Plan, two significant routes will be built here by October in Worthing the A24, and in Adur the A270, to join up with Hove’s pop up route. If all goes well, they’ll stay, and West Sussex will be able to bid for another £3 million for more routes.
By April 2020 daily global carbon emissions decreased by 17%
Food network Debs Butler FoodPioneers
FoodPioneers believes in the power of food to bring people together, create community and celebrate our natural environment. All of our projects have this at their heart. Personally I’ve missed cooking for and sharing meals with friends and family during Covid. We’ve seen empty supermarket shelves, panic
buying plus a rise in food poverty. But I think there’s opportunity too. FoodPioneers has launched ‘Waste Not Want Not’ which encourages the community to come together through food. BATCH is all about volunteers preparing, cooking and delivering nutritious fresh meals to those most in need in our community and COOK&SHARE is a buddy scheme matching volunteers to regularly cook and deliver an additional portion of food to a neighbour in need. Humans are adaptable, innovative and I believe if we work together
we’ll create much needed fast and positive change, which is why we are part of the new food partnership for Adur and Worthing. COVID has given the world a chance to breathe so now is the time for us all to work towards creating a more equitable, fairer and greener planet. If you’d like to hear more about our work, get involved and volunteer with us on any of our projects we’d be delighted to hear from you. Please contact us at www.foodpioneers.org.uk SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020 | 15
Lockdown, nature and a new normal
Tony Whitbread, President of Sussex Wildlife Trust, reflects on the impact of the COVID pandemic on our surrounding environment
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COVID-19 has been a huge shock, causing immense hardship and many personal tragedies. Nature, however, seemed to blossom while we were indoors. There seemed to be more butterflies on the Downs and our own garden birds seem to be singing louder. Perhaps COVID-19 made us press the pause button. Like naughty teenagers, we have been sent to our rooms to think about how we’ve behaved for the last few decades! Maybe we will behave better when we are let out. But did nature really recover while we are locked up, or is it just that we took the time to notice what was there all along? Whether looking out of the window, taking the time on an exercise walk or doing garden bird surveys with the Wildlife Trust, people did take the time to absorb the natural world around them. I certainly noticed that in normal conversations, with people I didn’t know just on their daily exercise, the subject very quickly turned to the wildlife that people were seeing and hearing.We noticed nature, there seemed to be more of it and people liked it.
However, we should not have to wait for a pandemic for nature to be able to recover, or for us to appreciate it.We may get over the virus, but the climate and ecological emergency is still with us. COVID-19 has reminded us about the good side of human nature. In a crisis we did not turn into savages, instead (with a few notable exceptions!) we discovered our better nature.We rediscovered our humanity, communities came together and there was a spontaneous outbreak of help and support. And whether on the coast, in urban greenspace or walking the Downs we cherished our local spaces. Indeed, with the crowds that formed on our coasts and parks as lockdown eased, one lesson we can learn is that we need far more access to wildlife rich local greenspaces. So, we need to learn from this tragedy.We are not the competitive, selfish, uncaring species we’ve been told we are. A new normal must be one where community, society and nature are cherished, rather than exploited.The big lesson from COVID is that what we consider unchangeable normality can be challenged, and a new normal can be better.
TREE-LINED AVENUE TAKES ROOT A new tree-lined avenue is starting to take root in Sompting thanks to Adur District Council Councillors, Council staff and representatives of the community joined to plant the first of 24 new Ornamental Pear saplings in Test Road in November. The Council-funded project is part of wider efforts to improve biodiversity, support the environment and make the area more attractive to residents. The first of these bee-friendly trees was put in place this week at a special ceremonial event led by Adur Chairman George Barton. Cllr Barton said: “It is a real honour to have been able to play such a prominent role in turning this long straight road into an attractive avenue bursting with colour and wildlife. “I look forward to seeing the rest of the project take shape over the next coming weeks and the trees grow and blossom for many years
to come. I hope this is the first of many green initiatives in Sompting and the rest of the district.” The scheme has been funded by Adur District Council with support from its parks and foreshore team. Special thanks go to local firm Gardner and Scardifield Ltd who donated a ceremonial spade while representatives from Adur Arbor, a district-wide tree planting initiative, also attended.
I hope this is the first of many green initiatives in Sompting and the rest of the district
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Recyling hits new high Adur and Worthing residents have been praised for their recycling verve as recent figures show the area-wide rate has hit a record monthly high of 45%
TONNES OF WASTE A MONTH SAVED VERSUS APR 2019
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A combination of alternate weekly collections, warmer weather and the coronavirus restrictions - which have seen people spend more time at home - has contributed to waste falling and recycling rising during April. Monthly figures show that the amount of general waste collected from Adur and Worthing households is down more than 150 tonnes compared to April 2019, the equivalent of 30 lorry loads. Meanwhile the amount of recycling has increased by 255 tonnes, or 50 lorry loads. Combined with a rise in garden waste being collected this has seen the monthly recycling rate in Adur increase to 41.4% while Worthing is now at 48.8%. This will put the area on track for an annual recycling rate of 42% - six percentage points higher than before alternate weekly collections were introduced in September. Residents were thanked for reducing the amount of waste and ensuring that only clean, dry and loose materials were placed in the bluelidded containers. Worthing councillor Ed Crouch said: “We may have reached a record level of recycling but we want to keep on going - which is why I encourage
people to keep on doing what they’re doing, reducing their refuse, increasing their recycling for the overall benefit of our environment.” Adur & Worthing Councils moved to alternate weekly waste and recycling collections in September 2019 following the lead of 75% of other UK councils who have shown it can reduce waste and increase recycling. The most common items which some residents are not recycling, but could, include: plastic bottles, tubs and trays (including black plastic), cardboard, paper and glass bottles and jars. Householders are also asked to crush down the waste in their bins so that larger objects, such as cardboard boxes, can fit into the blue lid bins. Find out what can be recycled at www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/recycling
We may have reached a record level of recycling but we want to keep on going
FIRST ELECTRIC VANS ON THE ROAD Adur & Worthing Councils have introduced three new electric vehicles to the road, representing some of the first steps in the Councils’ plan to become carbon neutral by 2030 The Councils are embarking on a programme of work under SustainableAW and the Carbon Neutral Plan to reduce emissions and transition to clean transport for all their services and operations. Since declaring Climate Emergency, the Councils have been investigating how and where change needs to be made. One third of the Councils’ carbon footprint is from transport and the use of fossil fuels to power vans, trucks and cars. To reduce these emissions the Councils will need to switch away from diesel and petrol towards ultra low emission vehicles like electric, hybrids and, for larger vehicles, hydrogen. This January, the Councils’ first electric vans were bought.The Peugoet Expert vehicles are deployed in Waste & Cleansing and Car Parks. They have a maximum speed of 68mph and a maximum range of 106 miles on a full charge. They are charged from electricity from the mains which is becoming lower and lower carbon.This is due to more and more renewable energy being fed into the national grid. The Councils are playing their part in increasing local renewable energy generation. In January Worthing
Borough Council assisted with the installation of a 100kW PV array at Splashpoint Leisure Centre with South Downs Leisure and Brighton Energy Co-op, offsetting 33 carbon tonnes a year. And last year Adur District Council installed a 20kW PV array at the Shoreham Centre. To transition to cleaner, low carbon transport the Councils changed their nine fleet cars used for business travel to hybrids. These provide a good low carbon alternative ahead of a change to full electric vehicles, once charge points are installed at the Worthing Civic site. The biggest challenge will be changing the large waste trucks to low carbon models. These are likely to be hydrogen fuelled vehicles, only possible when a local hydrogen distribution network can be developed. The Councils are working with partners across the Greater Brighton region to try to make this happen. Meanwhile the Councils have recently taken delivery of a hybrid 7.5 tonne tipper which significantly reduces the amount of fuel used on the household bulky collection service. Decarbonising transport is a crucial step to achieve carbon neutral targets. Lots of work has been delivered on
this under SustainableAW and a new Sustainable Staff Travel Plan, including: • launching easit Adur & Worthing, a scheme to provide public transport discounts, now offered to 25,000 local employees • creating with local stakeholders a new cycling and walking network plan • installing safe cycle storage at High Street Car Park,Worthing Station, and the waste depot • extending the Worthing Donkey Bikes scheme and offering staff the option to use Donkey Bikes for business journeys • working with West Sussex County Council to develop a countywide electric charging network fuelled purely by renewable energy
30% of the Councils’ carbon footprint is from transport. This needs to be reduced to zero by 2030
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PUTTING PEOPLE AT THE HEART OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS EXCITING PLANS TO BRING RESIDENTS TOGETHER TO DEVELOP A COMMUNITY-LED RESPONSE TO THE CLIMATE CRISIS ARE UNDERWAY, AS AMY NEWNHAM EXPLAINS When it comes to the environment, it is clear that a lot of people have different views. But when we’re faced with a climate crisis, decisions on how we as a community residents, government, charities, businesses - tackle it have to be made and made quickly. That can only be done by bringing people together so they can understand each other’s views, gain a collective understanding of climate change and agree on the action that needs to take place. That’s exactly what the Adur and Worthing Climate Assembly will do. Adur & Worthing Councils have commissioned an external organisation to bring residents from all walks of life together to discuss and deliberate what action we should take to tackle climate change. In the coming weeks, 40 people who represent the area in terms of age, gender, ethnicity
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and educational background will be asked to consider a range of questions. They include how can we collectively tackle climate change and support our places to thrive; and what does this mean for the way we live and our local environment. The Climate Assembly is not a consultation when people are asked for their views; those who take part in the climate assembly will hear from experts on a variety of topics related to the questions above. This might be information about how we use our open spaces, what it would take to shift to walking and cycling, our approach to local food production, the use of food waste, rewilding and the biodiversity of our local marine and estuarine ecosystems. Our plans for the Assembly have changed significantly with social
distancing in place. We had planned to hold the Assembly over three weekends but instead will be doing the work ‘online’ (with plenty of support for those less digitally confident). We hope that assembly members will be able to meet face-to-face as we move into the later stages of deliberation if/when social distancing restrictions decrease. Regardless, it is an opportunity for direct democratic involvement in guiding decisions that will impact us all moving forward.
For more details visit: www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/ climate-assembly
Photo: Euonymus grandiflorus salicifolius at Worthing’s Highdown Gardens
Highdown seeds preserved for future generations and ensure the survival of the many exotics the gardens’ founder Sir Frederick Stern brought from around the world to grow on the notoriously inhospitable chalk soil. Kew Team Supervisor, Sarah Gattiker, and Seed Curation Assistant, Experts from Kew Royal Botanic Gardens visited the Worthing gardens Lucy Taylor, showed the volunteers how to collect seeds from a variety to train volunteers in how to collect of specimens, including our two seeds which could be used for impressive Euonymus grandiflorus propagation at later stages. salicifolius. The Kew experts are part of the Sir Frederick obtained these Botanic Garden’s Millennium Seed Bank project at Wakehurst.They hold trees as two small cuttings in 1934. They can now be seen to the west of a growing collection of seeds from the bungalow where they stand over around the world, aiming to provide seven metres tall. Every autumn the a safety net for species at risk of trees are covered in fruit which Stern extinction. described as “very attractive when Saving the many exotic plants at the large light pink berries Highdown is part of the new project are open, showing the black seed funded by the National Lottery resting on a scarlet base”.The trees Heritage Fund which will see the received an Award of Garden Merit gardens undergo a transformation from the Royal Horticultural Society with the building of a new visitors’ centre, new more accessible walkways, in 1953. Sarah and Lucy showed the and a new sensory garden. volunteers how to dissect the seed to Our new Plant Heritage Officer, determine its viability and discovered Annelise Brilli, has been employed that the seed from the Euonymus under the project to help catalogue Seeds from an impressive specimen in our National Plant Collection at Highdown Gardens have been sent to a special bank to help preserve the species.
appears to be 100% viable. This seed will be cleaned, dried and stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, providing a safety net which will preserve the collection for future generations.
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Climate change position published by planning by Jennifer Ryan Senior Planning Officer
Beach House Park, Worthing
Cycling along Worthing Promenade
To have your say on the future of Worthing visit: www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/ worthing-local-plan 22 | SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020
Jennifer is a Senior Planning Officer at Adur & Worthing Councils. She works on a range of projects including preparation of the Worthing Local Plan which, when adopted, will guide future development in the borough My colleagues and I are giving greater focus to the climate change agenda and proactively considering how to step up planning policy to act on this defining issue of our time. The planning system can be one of many tools used to address climate change.The way in which we shape new and existing developments in Adur and Worthing can make a significant contribution to adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change through carbon reduction and sustainable design and construction. We want to demonstrate a clear commitment to addressing climate change and send out an effective and strong message regarding the use of the planning system to push for sustainability. I am pleased to announce, Planning Policy has published a Position Statement on ‘Planning & Climate Change’.This document provides guidance on the relevant planning policies (within the context of climate change) that must be taken into account when formulating development proposals. It will also be used as an aid to guide the decision-making process to ensure
development proposals contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in Adur and Worthing. This is a live document and will be regularly reviewed to ensure it is kept up-to-date. Other policies, plans and strategies will be prepared to support the overarching position established in this document. We still have a long way to go and much more work needs to be done and time is of the essence. We are having these conversations, we are reviewing best practice and more importantly, we are looking to pioneer new approaches for the emerging Worthing Local Plan and the review of the Adur Local Plan.We are currently exploring opportunities to embed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals within the Worthing Local Plan in order to enhance the sustainability credentials and to provide a more robust monitoring framework. My colleagues and I all recognise that climate change is at the crux of our work and as policy planners, we need to champion the way forward to sustainable development.
EVERY TREE COUNTS
By some estimations, each tree you plant will take in one tonne of carbon over its lifetime.This can help us tackle climate change in a very real and practical way. I want to quickly share with you the way it can bring communities and people together. Myself and the Ranger Team have worked with Shoreham Academy and Heene C of E First School, planting trees with students. It was great to see different school years working together for a common cause.They will personally see these trees grow up as they do.They will be able to walk past part of their local area that they have changed forever. We also do this with local groups. For me, it’s so nice to see people from all walks of life come together, share stories, experiences and work as one. This is not only good for the planet, but great to watch the area transform, the creation of a legacy that will be left, and see people sustaining wildlife and giving creatures a home. It is a project all ages can get involved in, and everyone can see the difference it makes over time. Your community could plant woodland, and create your own beautiful environment to be surrounded by nature, which you have been able to bring to a site or location.That to me is truly amazing, and something everyone should experience. If you wish to do such a community activity, such as a tree planting party etc, but have nowhere to start, then please contact the Ranger team. We are here to help you; it’s what we are meant for - to help local people improve their local spaces for the better of future generations and ourselves.
by Craig Ifield
Tree planting is so important, it’s a great way to fight back against climate change, but also ensure future generations have green areas to play in and use
Craig Ifield is a Park Ranger at Adur & Worthing Councils. His main role is to maintain our parks and open spaces, which includes working with green space volunteer community groups SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020 | 23
SUSTAINABLE ADUR AND WORTHING DIRECTORY If you’ve been inspired to get involved in protecting and improving the environment in Adur and Worthing please get in touch with any of these amazing local groups
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Arun & Adur Greenpeace
Bringing together people from across Arun and Adur to campaign for Greenpeace, with a meeting once a month at the Libertine in Worthing. www.facebook.com/ArunAdurGreenpeace @AdurGreenpeace
A Worthing-based social food enterprise working with local, regional and national partners to build community through shared food experiences. www.foodpioneers.org.uk www.facebook.com/wearefoodpioneers @foodpioneers on twitter
Friends of Brooklands Park
The Friends of Brooklands are a local community group, who hold planting, weeding and litter picks at Brooklands Park, helping protect wildlife and the local open space. www.facebook.com/FriendsBrooklands
Friends of Lancing Ring
Friends of Lancing Ring was set up as part of the Sussex Countryside Campaign.This community group is aimed at the local people of Adur, all those who use and/or care about Lancing Ring.This group survey, monitor and protect the wildlife on Lancing Ring, undertake conservation work, path maintenance and little clearance. www.facebook.com/friendslancingring
Keep Lancing Lovely
Lancing Beach litter picks, and plastic free beaches, and tidy up days in local parks this Lancing based community group is helping to protect our local beach and open spaces. keeplancinglovely.weebly.com www.facebook.com/KeepLancingLovely @klancinglovely on twitter
Knepp is a 3,500 acre estate just south of Horsham, West Sussex. Since 2001, the land - once intensively farmed - has been devoted to a pioneering rewilding project. Using grazing animals as the drivers of habitat creation, and with the restoration of dynamic, natural water courses, the project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife. Extremely rare species like turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies are now breeding here; and populations of more common species are rocketing. Camping, wildlife safaris and wild range meat are offered at Knepp. Knepp Castle,West Grinstead, Nr. Horsham, RH13 8LJ www.knepp.co.uk
Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust
The Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust (OART) is dedicated to the environmental protection and enhancement of the Sussex River Ouse, the River Adur, their tributaries and impoundments. OART was formed in 2011 from the amalgamation of the Sussex Ouse Conservation Society and the River Adur Conservation Society. It is a registered charity and a member of the national body now known as The Rivers Trust.
Highdown Gardens is situated between Ferring and Goring nestled on the South Downs. Entry into the gardens is free of charge.The whole garden has been deemed a National Collection.
www.facebook.com/OuseAndAdurRiversTrust @OuseAdurRT on twitter
A group aiming to help Worthing counter the dangers of plastic pollution by reducing dependency on singleuse and non essential plastics, while organising regular beach cleans.
Plastic Free Worthing
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Refill is a City to Sea campaign. City to Sea is a multiaward-winning organisation running campaigns to stop marine plastic pollution at source.Through solutionsfocused initiatives they aim to empower individuals to make a difference in their communities, working with corporates and retailers to help them tackle plastic pollution and reaching millions of people with our digital content and campaigns. Founded by Natalie Fee, environmental campaigner, in 2015. refill.org.uk www.facebook.com/RefillWorthing @RefillWorthing on twitter
Surfers Against Sewage
Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is a marine conservation & campaigning charity inspiring, uniting & empowering communities to protect oceans, waves, beaches and wildlife. www.sas.org.uk www.facebook.com/SurfersAgainstSewage @sascampaigns on twitter
Sussex Wildlife Trust
This charity manage over 30 nature reserves across Sussex, acting to protect the wildlife and the natural environment, while helping people of all ages to learn about nature. Sussex Wildlife Trust also conduct research supporting conservation in the county and engage with policy makers to encourage positive change. sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk www.facebook.com/SussexWildlifeTrust @SussexWildlife on twitter
TCV Growing Communities
A project to enable communities in Adur and Worthing improve their health and wellbeing through involve themselves and, ultimately, leading projects. growingcommunities.tcv.org.uk www.facebook.com/TheConservationVolunteers @TCVADURWORTHING on twitter
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Transition Town Worthing
Transition Town Worthing (TTW) is a Community Interest Company that very much works at a practical, grass roots level - creating solutions, sharing ideas, skills, knowledge and expertise with each other about climate change, saving energy and water, growing our own food, working toward zero waste, re-skilling and bringing the community together to support and enable each other to lead more sustainable lives. www.ttworthing.org www.facebook.com/TTWorthing @TTWorthing on twitter
TreeActionUK organises tree planting and maintenance programmes in schools with the help of experts and community volunteers working with environmental organisations for the supply of trees, enabling young people to re-connect with their environment. www.facebook.com/TreeActionUK
Worthing Climate Action Network
Worthing Climate Action Network (Worthing CAN) campaigns for action on climate change.They have concentrated efforts on asking West Sussex County Council to divest their pension funds from fossil fuels. They also have undertaken many public outreach events, including a climate cake stall, one of two UK events for the Global Climate Change Action Theatre and a successful Climate Conversations event.Worthing CAN launched Refill Worthing in 2018, which subsequently inspired Refill Shoreham, Refill Lancing and Plastic Free Worthing. www.facebook.com/worthingclimateaction @WorthingCan on twitter
UNLESS WE ACT, NOTHING WILL CHANGE. SETTING TARGETS AND ACTING ON THOSE IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL
ISABELLA TREE, ENVIRONMENTALIST
This magazine is created with full green credentials using carbon neutral production and FSC® certified paper which has been harvested in a responsible manner.This magazine has also helped finance the removal of plastic from the sea. SustainableAW Magazine - Summer 2020 | 27
CO2 emissions are offset through the Clean Oceans Plastic Bank in Haiti, Indonesia and the Philippines. Paper is from sustainably managed sources.