Environment Plymouth Green Recovery Plan

Current stage: Being rated

Collaborators

• Environment Plymouth
• Plymouth Tree Partnership
• Climate Action Plymouth
• Hoe Neighbourhood Forum
• Plymouth Open Spaces Network
• Friends of Efford Marsh

 

Collective’s aims and ideas

Lockdown in Plymouth inspired an unprecedented desire from local people to ensure a greener future for the city; a desire which will be supported by the delivery of Environment Plymouth’s Green Recovery Plan 2020/2022. During 2020 we used the lockdown to ask our members, and others, what changes they would like to see as we emerge from the Covid pandemic. Our Green Recovery Plan was agreed in July and our key aim is to kick start its delivery. The delivery of some of the actions has already begun (for example a meeting on the future impact of pesticides and their alternatives . Although some of the actions will require bigger funding pots (something we are already following up), many of the ‘actions’ identified represent the small, single steps that anyone can take. To deliver the inspiration for these we need a little funding to enable the network and our collective partners to lead by example and provide the resources that will underpin local action. Our members have told us that the unexpected benefits of the lockdown (cleaner air, birdsong etc) were matched by visible increases in local problems such as litter and ‘weeds’ but this, in turn, inspired members to want to do more of the simple things to protect and enhance their environment – bee corridors, wildlife gardening, learning more and preparing for a green recovery. Most of they wanted to know ‘how’? This funding will underpin the work required to share the specialist skills of Environment Plymouth’s members,. Simple actions, such as the provision of wildflower seeds and instructions on their use, the inspiration to recognise and tackle street weeds (the Hoe Your Own campaign) and the creation of bee corridors, the provision of advice on single use plastics and the reduction of personal carbon footprints all need a little funding to ensure their successful delivery. The Green Recovery Plan is available to anyone wishing to read it but our simple wish is to deliver as many of the listed actions in 2021/22 as possible and to keep Environment Plymouth going as the city’s leading strategic green group so that an increasing range of green projects can be extended to the city’s neighbourhoods and communities. Many of the actions can be completed simply and within social distancing; with no threat to health. A guide to undertaking activities within the restrictions has also been prepared and online meetings and workshops are now available for support. This small amount of funding will ensure that we can sustain the support and enthusiasm to help people cope, to deliver these green aspirations and to support the wider green recovery plans that will prepare us for Plymouth post-COVID.

The Plymouth Pots project for flowers on balconies will raise spirits and make people smile. Another very poignant proposal that needs support is the creation of a community arboretum where we hope to plant a tree for every person who has lost their life to Covid. This ‘Covid Grove’ could be supplied with saplings from examples brought on in local urban gardens and will engage the community in providing the trees we need to combat climate change. Despite the current lockdown we feel we can take local action on a number of concerns that needn’t wait for restrictions to lift. In delivering our Recovery Plan we will be preparing Plymouth for a greener future, improved health and mental well-being.Thank you for your support.

How will they work together to achieve this?

The strengths we can offer vary from experience in networking, communication, training and skills enhancement (all of which can be delivered on line if needed) to specialist advice. The collective partners all bring a different but complementary set of skills and knowledge to the partnership – something we have been building for the last four years and something that, in Plymouth, has a heritage of encouraging wider community action. We have worked together before – on planning applications, citywide projects, meetings, workshops and improvement initiatives and we have a reputation for delivering high quality advice and support. We are trusted ‘leaders’ with close links to the Council and other local networks including the Chamber, CIWM, Surfers Against Sewage and the Devon Wildlife Trust. All of the lead contacts for the collective partners can be easily contacted for specific advice in their own field and, through them, we have an extensive network of expertise so no question will go unanswered. Our strengths include biodiversity and wildlife, tree management, carbon management, environmental management, teaching and knowledge exchange, communication, admin and networking, sustainability, community development, open space management, climate impacts and more specific academic expertise that can enhance practical action on the ground.

During the first round, POP members were asked to advise you. Tell us what happened. What are your reflections? Have you gained new insight? New partners?

Although there were few external advisors at the meeting, the input from Ellen Sims was really appreciated. It helped us to consolidate some of the ideas and the delivery mechanisms, provide some inspired names (Plymouth Pots and the Covid Grove) and opened the potential for working with further networks as the projects develop. It also gave the option of working with specific neighbourhoods to develop case studies that can be replicated elsewhere.