Stapleford Parish Council eco blog, Oct 2021

Stapleford Parish Council eco blog – Oct 2021

Stapleford Parish Councillors declared a climate and ecological emergency at their meeting on 7th October. We may not have as much influence as local and county councils, but we can be a positive force for change within the community, support others who are already implementing changes, and create opportunities for individuals who want to make a difference.

Such a declaration is not just a string of words or virtue signalling; it is a key step in effecting and inspiring change. It will force us to challenge our ways of working and our values, and make us more adaptive and responsible. We have also prepared a set of priorities for action, some of which will be rolled out over the next few months, whilst others fall into a longer, three-year plan.

Top of our list is rewilding certain verges around the village, leaving them unmown from March through to the autumn so wildflowers can grow and set seed. To this end, we have recently met with Cambridgeshire County Council highways network and ecology officers for input and advice. We will be looking to recruit community support for creating, monitoring and maintaining nature verges, whether that’s individuals or local groups. And if you are handy with tools and have some spare wood, we’d love residents to make bird, bat and bee boxes which we can place around the village. Let us know if you can help and we can email you with suitable design guides. We also plan to create a meadow at the north end of the new cemetery, together with a contemplation area where people can sit quietly in nature with thoughts of family now departed.

Councillor Gatward is keen to establish a ‘community fridge’ for everyone in the village to use and to stock with surplus fruit, vegetables, etc, which is still in-date but would otherwise go to waste. He has had discussions with local shops, which seem keen to understand more about how the scheme might work and how they might be able to support it.

We would like to run regular clothes and toy swaps, recycling items that would otherwise be put into landfill, and possibly a repair café to allow residents to have worn or broken items mended by local people with relevant skills rather than having to buy new replacements. It could also be a bit of a community social event, bringing people together and sharing skills. Other skills we would like people to share could include meat-free recipes posted on local Facebook groups and a dedicated page on the Parish Council website.

2022 will be a great opportunity to plant many more trees around Stapleford – in both public and private areas – as we participate in the Queen’s Green Canopy project. Two new trees will soon be planted along the verge of the Rec on Haverhill Road, courtesy of the local WI and a scheme run by South Cambs. District Council.

To spread the word about the Parish Council’s environmental work and to involve the community, we will be holding our first ‘eco event’ on 26th Nov from 6.30-9.00pm in the Jubilee Pavilion. We will talk about what our climate and ecology declaration means in general and our verge rewilding plan in particular. However, most time will be given over to Ashley Arbon, a superb local ecologist who will talk about our chalk streams and aquifers, and flora and fauna, and to Cambridge Past Present & Future to discuss its work on preserving and enhancing Wandlebury and wider local greenbelt for future generations. There will be opportunities to ask questions, to air your views and, if you wish, to volunteer your involvement in future community projects.

If you would like to attend – either as an individual or as a local interest group – please confirm approximate numbers by emailing

Cllr Michael Gatward