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The great Big Green Week

Date posted: 23 September 2022

Great Big Green Week 2022

Waverley Borough Council is supporting The Great Big Green Week which takes place between 24 September to 2 October and is the UK’s biggest celebration of communities coming together to tackle climate change and protect nature. 

Waverley Borough Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and are working towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2030. In fact, earlier this year, Waverley Borough Council was named as having developed the strongest plan for tackling the climate and ecological emergency of any council in Surrey and fifth in the UK, according to the data released by Climate Emergency UK in their Council Climate Plan Scorecards. 

So, what exactly have we been doing?

Promoting Active/Sustainable Travel

  • Guildford to Godalming Greenway project – we are currently working with a team of consultants to develop further proposals for walking and cycling networks across the borough, and are pushing for better public transport across Waverley. 
  • Bike shelters - as part of the council’s drive to promote active travel, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, four new bike shelters have recently been installed in council-owned car parks across the borough with the hope that it will encourage more of our residents to get on their bike.
  • EV charging - The council is also taking part in a major Surrey trial for on-street electrical vehicle (EV) charging points in three towns across Waverley. It means drivers with EVs can now use 10 EV charging points in car parks in Waverley including 3 in Farnham.  Another 9 twin 22kw chargers are due to be installed in the new Brightwell's car park in Farnham as well as further charging points in other car parks in Farnham. “

Our green spaces

  • Bee happy! -  Following the adoption of its Pesticide Policy and Action Plan in November 2020, the council has managed to achieve a 75% reduction in the use of Glyphosate since 2019/20.
  • Supported No Mow May – we listened to your feedback from previous years and we did make some changes this year. Instead of suspending mowing across all of Waverley’s parks and open spaces, housing sites, amenity areas and verges, this year, we  concentrated solely on highway verges and recreational areas.
  • Planting over 7000 new trees Waverley Borough Council received a grant of £45,000 from the Government’s Local Authority Treescapes Fund (LATF) which has been used to fund the planting of around 7,200 new trees in the borough.
  • Improved biodiversity – we enhanced a number of areas over the past year, including increasing meadow and wildflower areas to over 183,000 m2 in total since 2018/19 to improve biodiversity and help pollinators - that’s over 45 acres or 24 football pitches or 146 Olympic size swimming pools, it’s bigger than the grounds of Buckingham Palace and has the potential to be home to millions of insects.
  • ‘Greener’ grounds maintenance - Our grounds maintenance contractor Continental Landscapes Ltd uses three electric vehicles and a hybrid vehicle to help deliver the grounds maintenance contract for Waverley, meaning lower vehicle emissions and less noise when undertaking maintenance.  All grass cuttings and prunings collected by Continental is composted and used on council sites with the surplus offered to local allotments and community gardens. 

Home, business and community

  • Green home fundingwe encouraged Waverley residents to claim green home funding to improve home energy efficiency - one of the simplest ways of saving energy and combatting rising energy prices.
  • Sustainable homes -  we are translating our carbon neutrality action plan into houses by creating energy efficient, low carbon homes for the future such as those at Ockford Ridge, redeveloping and remodelling existing houses on the site, to create high-quality, modern homes that are fit for the future. We also worked on two new eco-homes of a Passivhaus standard that were ‘lifted in’ to help tenants who were homeless in Godalming, which feature an extensive range of features for 'green living'. 
  • Helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint  - Small Waverley businesses that want to reduce their carbon footprint were offered free carbon literacy training arranged by Waverley Borough Council and delivered by Inspiration Space -  just one of many council initiatives designed to support business growth after the pandemic. 
  • Take the Jump! – we asked residents to join us in  an initiative that asks people to make one or more of six shifts in their behaviour, to help protect the planet.
  • Climate Action WorkshopsIn June of this year, the council, once again, hosted climate sessions for local students run by local organisation WhatNext?, whose aim is to raise awareness of the climate and ecological emergency and to encourage residents to live more sustainably, consume responsibly and reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Memorial hall decarbonisation projectThe hall, which is home to The Brightwells Gostrey Centre, and Waverley Training Services, has been fitted with a new Air Source Heat Pump to provide heating and a PV array to supply electricity.  This aims to reduce carbon emissions by 25% year on year and forms part of the council’s move to harness solar energy in strategic locations.

Our environment

  • Improving Air Quality – the council is working with the Surrey Air Alliance on a successful bid project with funding from Defra to support the move to electric taxis and private hire vehicles. The council is also supporting Surrey County Council Trading Standards on a project to reduce air pollution from solid fuel burning as well as currently updating its Air Quality Action Plan, introducing a new Clean Air Strategy for the borough.
  • New free kerbside textile and small electrical service – we started a  free service to residents which will allow you to recycle even more items from your homes to help improve recycling rates, something that we know is important to people across the borough.
  • Cracking down on Environmental Crime - To combat the rise in flytipping, we are cracking down on perpetrators by putting preventative measures in place such as additional CCTV usage and increasing investment in our Environment Enforcement team. We are also taking a “Zero-tolerance approach” and are committed to investigate, clear and where possible prosecute every case.

Councillor Steve Williams, Waverley Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability said,

“The Great Big Green Week is a fantastic way to bring people and communities together to get involved in an issue that is of vital importance for all of us today and, most importantly, for future generations.

In 2019 we declared a Climate Emergency and made a commitment to become net-zero carbon by 2030. Whilst we should not be complacent, we are now well on our way to achieving our goals, working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions encouraging more sustainable travel and developing our programme to decarbonise our buildings and our own transport fleet.”

To view Waverley Borough Council’s Climate Change Strategy and Carbon Neutrality Action Plan, visit

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