#sustainablemarlow projects Updated: 22.07.2109
Drawing on advice from the MTC environmental advisory group, these are the initial projects being developed under the banner of #sustainablemarlow:
The Marlow environmental performance index (Click to read)
A starting point for environmental action is to have a strong understanding of current environmental and sustainability factors and to be able to track progress over time. Based on the same approach as national environmental accounts, the council is aiming to the first small town in the UK to create its own simplified environmental performance index.
Year by year the index will track trends in important indicators, including air quality, the CO2 emissions rating of cars registered in Marlow, the share of Marlow’s municipal waste recycled, and the number of street trees in Marlow.
Tackling nitrogen dioxide air pollution
Marlow town centre was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in 2017 after monitoring showed illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution. Working with Wycombe District Council and Bucks County Council, the council is taking actions of its own and strongly promoting wider changes to bring NO2 levels back within the legal limit as soon as possible.
Actions will include signage raising awareness of drivers about the AQMA, encouraging smoother driving behaviour, and discouraging engine-idling when stopped. The council is lobbying higher government tiers to take further actions.
Marlow eco-schools initiative
Through the environmental advisory group, the council is working with all Marlow schools to identify and share good environmental practice. The first (audit) step is almost complete and we have information on what the schools have already done and their aspirations for the future. The next step is to share this information and for the schools community to decide how it wants to use the audit findings to improve environmental awareness and performance.
Eliminating single-use plastic bottles
The council is taking actions to help visitors to the town centre avoid having to use single-use plastic bottles. A new public drinking water fountain will be installed on The Causeway. The environmental advisory group has registered the town with the national “Refill” campaign (run by City to Sea, a community interest company) and will, shortly, launch a local scheme and encourage local restaurants and cafes to sign up to providing free tap water refills. Window stickers and sign-up to the Refill app will raise awareness and help residents and visitors alike to buy fewer single-use plastic bottles. It has also signed up to the Plastic Free Communities initiative.
Encouraging food sharing
According to the waste expert group WRAP, fully one-third of food world-wide ends up being wasted, and food waste contributes 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The council is encouraging greater food sharing in Marlow via the Olio app.
Increasing the number of trees in and around Marlow
Trees are an essential part of a healthy environment, support wildlife, and absorb carbon dioxide from the air, helping to limit climate change. Marlow has good tree numbers in certain streets, but there is a lot of scope to increase the numbers of street trees, and many hedgerows in the countryside around Marlow that are treeless. The council will work with partners to increase the number of trees in and around Marlow.