MAY 2024

water vole feeding on river bank

Saving space for wildlife

Love wildlife and want to learn more about protecting local habitat? Then come to our latest free talk, at 7pm on Friday 24 May at the Meeting Place in North Street.
Our wildlife is threatened by development, intensive farming, pollution and climate change.
That’s why we need to protect remaining habitats, and make sure they are joined up, so animals can move around, migrate and thrive.
Chichester District Council has agreed a £665,000 plan with this aim. It’s designed to safeguard and enhance a series of “wildlife corridors” that link the South Downs National Park and the coast. Our local corridor broadly follows the lower part of the River Ems.
Such corridors, including woods and hedgerows, also allow species to adapt to changes, both natural and man-made, helping to ensure their survival.
Westbourne wildlife expert Sarah Hughes, who has extensive experience of working with the council and the Arun and Rother Rivers Trust, will be our special guest speaker.

 

Greening's Richard Hitchcock at the orchard

Message from our chair, Richard Hitchcock

We have our annual general meeting on Tuesday 14 May, at 7.30pm at the Meeting Place.
I want to remind you about this and take the opportunity to say thank you for being a supporter of Greening Westbourne. 
I’m very grateful for your support. It would be wonderful to see you at the annual meeting and chat over a glass of wine.
I would also like to ask you think seriously about how you can help more as we face a climate emergency and a crisis in the natural world. 
We have hundreds of supporters but only a small handful of people, mostly older, turn up to meetings or get involved in what we do. This situation can’t continue much longer. 
Please – if you’re concerned about local wildlife or the state of our river, then we need a bit of your time and energy. If you would like to help boost recycling, home insulation, heat pumps or sustainable travel, we need some of your enthusiasm and commitment. 
If you can make cups of tea and put chairs out in a meeting hall, or put leaflets through doors, we’d love to have your help. 
We’re not obsessed with meetings and rules. We welcome people with their own ideas and who want to put them into action. We have a laugh in the process. 
Please come to the meeting or drop us a line. We need you.

 

thermal image of house

How to save energy and carbon at home

With energy bills so high, it’s even more important to make sure our homes are energy-efficient.

A major problem is too much heat leaking out, pushing up our energy costs.

Reducing draughts, adding insulation and making other energy-efficiency improvements can help us save money and cut our share of the carbon emissions that cause climate change. And in many cases there are grants available that can make a big difference if you're undecided.

Greening Westbourne held an advice event last month with speakers from the national Greening Campaign, the Sustainability Centre and the Petersfield Climate Action Network (PCAN). Their activities are mainly in Hampshire at present, but nearly all of their references to Hampshire apply to West Sussex too.

You can see information presented at the the event here: 

Sustainability Centre - home_hacks

PCAN - Making Westbourne's homes more energy efficient

Here are some other sources of information, covering DIY jobs, bigger home projects, grants and lots more.

Local info:

General info, much of it applicable to our area:

More specialist info:

 

 

APRIL 2024

plastic bottles crushed for recycling

Recycling - your questions answered

How can we do our bit to reduce waste? What should go in our recycling? What about re-using and repairing?
Get questions like these answered at Greening Westbourne's FREE event at 10am on Saturday 13 April at the Meeting Place in North Street, Westbourne, with a member of West Sussex County Council’s waste prevention team.
Topics will include what can and can’t be recycled in West Sussex, and what happens to recycling and waste in the county.
Refreshments provided!

 

infra-red image of house showing heat loss

Saving energy at home

On Friday 26 April, Greening Westbourne will be hosting a FREE event for anyone who wants to cut their energy bills and reduce their carbon emissions.

Experts from the Greening Campaign and the Petersfield Climate Action Network will discuss ways of making our homes more energy-efficient, from simple hacks like draught excluders to bigger upgrades such as insulation and heat pumps.

There will also be information about grants and subsidies from local and national sources that can make a big financial difference.

The event will be of special interest to residents who took up our recent offer of a free thermal image of their home. They’ll get help with interpreting the images and thinking about their next steps.

The event starts at 7pm at the Meeting Place, North Street, Westbourne. Refreshments provided.

 

More Greening events

Community orchard maintenance: usually first Saturday of the month, 10am to 12pm, Hampshire Farm Meadows. Weather permitting. Volunteers welcome - bring gloves. Email us for more info, and check our Facebook page for updates.

Spring clean day - parish litter-pick: Sunday 7 April, 2pm to 4pm.
Meet us in The Square at 2pm where you will be given a section of the village to litter pick, along with equipment. The event is run by Westbourne Parish Council in partnership with Greening Westbourne and the Final Straw Foundation. Refreshments afterwards at 4pm at The Meeting Place, North Street, Westbourne. If you're able to come along, please let us know.  See the parish council page for more details.

Greening meeting: 16 April, 7.30pm to 9pm, Meeting Place, North Street. (May be moved to Zoom - check our Facebook page).

Greening Westbourne AGM: 14 May, 7.30pm to 9pm, Meeting Place, North Street. Find out what we've been doing over the last year and get to know us. Plus, election of officers.

 

 

DECEMBER 2023

Thermal image of a house showing heat escaping

Saving energy in our homes

In the new year we're launching a campaign to help make local homes more energy-efficient.
You could get a free image of your home, taken by Greening Westbourne with a special camera that detects where heat is escaping.
The image would be a great starting point for thinking about insulation, draught reduction and other energy-saving improvements.
Greening Westbourne volunteers are planning to visit homes in the parish with the camera soon.
If you’re interested in getting an image, please email us and let us know ASAP.
We also need volunteers to help with this. If you're interested in helping with the campaign, again please email us and let us know. Maybe you can make our a camera training session on 10 January. Email us for more details.
If you're interested in retro-fitting your home to make it more energy-efficient, cutting your bills and CO2 emissions, then check out these sources of advice:

 

 

Christmas tree recycling event

illustration showing stylized Christmas trees

Greening Westbourne’s popular Christmas tree recycling event is planned for Sunday 7 January. See you in The Square from 11am to 1pm.
Michael Reed & Co tree works specialists have again kindly agreed to turn the trees into chippings that can be used as mulch. 
After dropping off your tree, stop for a chat and look out for refreshments including mulled wine. 
It’s a free service but donations, to help us run events and campaigns, will be very welcome. 
Please drag or carry your tree to the Square, or put it in a wheelbarrow, if you can. Try not to use a car if you can please, as we want to avoid congestion and safety problems. Plus, using a car for a short journey is not usually a green option.

 

SEPTEMBER 2023

water vole feeding on river bank

Major chalk stream campaign - join the call for action

Just when we needed some fresh hope in our fight to save the River Ems, a major national campaign on chalk streams has been launched. 

And it's easy for you to add your voice!

The government says chalk streams like the Ems will not be clean and back to full health until 2063. That's too late. We can't wait 40 years to clean them up. We need our MPs to step up and take action now.

So the Hampshire and IoW Wildlife Trust is calling for proper legal protections for every chalk stream, instead of the situation now, where only 11 are protected. We need new, pioneering, bespoke protections for all chalk streams, including the River Ems, to make polluters pay and hold water companies to account.

This is how you can help

1. Send an email to your local MP. The trust's campaign has made this very quick and easy. Just go to: wtru.st/SaveChalkstreams 

2. Spread the word by sharing campaign messages on your social media. Keep an eye on our Facebook but also follow @Hantsiwwildlife on Instagram, @HantsIWWildlife on Twitter/X or the trust's Facebook page

3. You can film or photograph yourself for the campaign, highlighting your age in 2063 and demonstrating the ridiculousness of waiting 40 years for our rivers to be healthy. Taking part in this way has been made easy too. Just go to https://hiwwt.typeform.com/to/gPnSeEQC  

See more info on the trust's campaign and get the background on the River Ems.

  

 

DECEMBER 2022

 

illustration of Christmas trees

Christmas tree recycling event

Our free Christmas tree recycling event is planned for Sunday 8 January, from 11am to 1pm in The Square. 

Michael Reed & Co tree works specialists have again kindly agreed to turn the trees into chippings that can be used as mulch. 

After dropping off your tree, stop for a chat and look out for refreshments along the lines of mulled wine and mince pies. 

It’s a free service but donations, to help us run events and campaigns, will be very welcome. 

Please drag or carry your tree to The Square, or put it in a wheelbarrow, if you can. Try not to use a car if you can please, as we want to avoid congestion and safety problems. Plus, using a car for a short journey is not usually a green option.

 

Fancy a bit of wassailing?

cider bottle on bench

Join us in a traditional winter celebration of our community orchard at Hampshire Farm Meadows on Saturday 7 January at 12pm, quickly followed by a cosy drink in the White Horse. (The pub will be the venue if the weather's bad.)

Wassailing is a custom in many cider-producing areas, and is all about encouraging the trees to thrive and be productive in the coming year by singing to them and drinking to their health. 

The ceremonies of each wassail vary from area to area but they generally all have the same core elements. Core elements - see what we did there?

 

How long have our trout got?

brown trout

Have you spotted a beautiful trout in the Ems? These fish need well-oxygenated, cool, unpolluted water – exactly the conditions in a healthy chalk stream. 

But although the river looks healthy at the moment, we believe it has reached a tipping point for the survival of trout. Recent years have seen low and unreliable flows in the Ems, with harmful warmer water. And this year, of course, we suffered an extreme drought. Find out more about how trout are affected by such conditions in this blog post from the Wild Trout Trust

Join Friends of the Ems in their campaign to save our river. 

 

Free retro-fit event on 11 Feb

solar panels on house

We've teamed up with Petersfield Climate Action Network, an environmental charityto hold a free event about making your home more energy-efficient.

We've all heard about insulation, solar panels, heat pumps and other retro-fit improvements.

But where do you start, what measures are right for you and your home, and how do you handle potentially pushy installers?

Find out at The Meeting Place, North Street, Westbourne at 10am on Saturday 11 February.

Learn more about retro-fitting at petersfieldcan.org

 

 

 

AUGUST 2022

dry stretch of river Ems

 

River Ems crisis hits the headlines

The plight of the River Ems became a high-profile issue this month. It hit the headlines in local and regional media, and prompted a demand from our local MP for immediate government action.

In mid-August, as fish died and stretches of the river dried up, falling victim to heatwaves and drought, Greening Westbourne and Westbourne Parish Council decided they had to go public with their concerns.

Both wrote to Portsmouth Water (PW) demanding a local hosepipe ban to help save the river, and alerted the media to their plea. The result was coverage in media including Portsmouth’s daily paper The News, BBC TV’s South Today, BBC Radio Sussex and Wave 105.  

PW said conditions for a ban had not been reached.

But pressure grew for a solution to the Ems's problems last week, when Chichester MP Gillian Keegan demanded the government step in.

So what was PW boss Bob Taylor’s response to all this furore? According to the Chichester Observer, his statement included this gem: “Just to be clear, we do not take water from the River Ems.”

The Friends of the Ems, part of Greening Westbourne, couldn't let that one go without comment. They launched another media broadside, pointing out that while the company doesn’t take water directly out of the river, it does take huge amounts from the Ems's sources underground. And the amount taken means much more of the river dries up in the summer than is natural.

PW’s original licence meant they could take a maximum of 10,000,000 litres a day, but they lobbied hard to almost triple this amount. So much is taken that this summer, the springs supplying more than half of the river have dried up.

Mr Taylor also pointed out that PW pumps water into the river when it gets low. But it has to do this under the terms of its licence. This top-up water is only needed because of the company’s activities in the first place. And it’s not enough to provide an acceptable flow.

The Friends of the Ems have been in regular discussions with PW and the Environment Agency for two years following the last catastrophic drying-out of the river, in 2020. But PW and the EA have not produced a sustainable long-term proposal to protect the river, despite continuing environmental damage.

PW says it is dedicating a borehole to supplying water to the River Ems. But this is not as impressive as it sounds. The borehole has not been used to supply drinking water ever since quality issues were raised.

PW also says the planned new reservoir at Havant Thicket could help the Ems. But this will not be completed and commissioned for at least nine to 10 years. PW, the EA and Ofwat (the industry regulator) have not been able to outline how much water might be available.

The Friends of the Ems back Gillian Keegan’s call for PW to pump chlorinated drinking water into the river as an emergency measure, on the basis that some water – even if treated – is better than none.  Although not ideal, this was done for many years without apparently harming the river. However, the EA will not allow this to happen. 

 

RSPB highlights our work

Meanwhile, Friends of the Ems have had wonderful coverage from the RSPB, who are running articles on local groups in the lead-up to the global biodiversity conference CBD COP15 at the end of this year. They are highlighting campaigns that show anyone can take action and that all hope is not lost when it comes to battling the nature crisis. See their feature here.
 

Water-saving tips 

Greening Westbourne and the parish council are urging residents to save water. Tips on doing this are promoted by Portsmouth Water.

They include:  

  • watering plants in the early morning or later in the evening 
  • collecting rainwater in a water butt 
  • letting lawns go brown – they will bounce back 
  • cutting down on washing the car 
  • avoiding letting taps run 
  • collecting running water while you wait for it to heat up, and using it to water plants or flush the loo 
  • making sure your washing machine has a full load 
  • having a short shower rather than a bath 

 

 

 

JULY 2022

SEWING.jpg

We're hoping to end the use of plastic bags by local businesses.

Can you help, by sewing reusable bags that people can take shopping?
The bags, promoted by local environmental charity the Final Straw Foundation, are called borrow bags.
The idea is that once you’ve used one for your shopping, you take it back to the shop, or to another participating business. That’s why they’re also called boomer or boomerang bags, because they keep coming back.
We’re hoping to get 100 bags sewn by local volunteers.
If you’re interested, please email greeningwestbourne@hotmail.co.uk
See Final Straw's sewing instructions

 

 

APRIL 2022

You can help save the planet... 

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, strategies which involve people changing their behaviour could cut emissions by 40 to 70 per cent by 2050...

So please take a look at our new flier, below, with 10 ideas for how we can all make a real difference.

On Earth Day, 22 April, we were outside the Co-op in Westbourne giving out the flier, and talking to people about how they can help combat climate change and environmental damage.

 

flier1.png

 

 

 

Next Greening meeting

Want to get more involved in Greening? Now's your chance to take up a role in the group. Find out more on Tuesday 17 May at 7.30pm on Zoom, when we hold our AGM. Please email us at greeningwestbourne@hotmail.co.uk for an invite.

 

 

 

DECEMBER 2021

 earth with rising sun

 

New Year’s green resolutions 

 

The climate emergency the planet is facing sometimes seems overwhelming and the individual is often at a loss to know what to do to help. Why not consider the following? 

 

Plastics 

Supermarkets don’t make it easy to go totally plastic-free, but every piece of plastic avoided sends a signal. Remember, we can collectively make a difference by changing our shopping habits. Keep plastic packaging out of circulation by championing reuse and refill methods over recycling. That means using zero waste shops that let you refill your own containers rather than buying items in single-use packaging. Try Eco Freaks Emporium at 5 West Street, Havant or Refilled, 30 North Street, Chichester. 

 

Eco-friendly products in the bathroom 

These include non-disposable razors, eco-friendly floss, toothpaste tablets, bamboo toothbrushes and loo roll brands that use recycled paper. Avoid single-use cotton wool pads and face wipes. 

 

Energy use 

Save money and energy by simply turning down the thermostat a few degrees, 

or putting on slippers and an extra jumper. Use LED bulbs and consider switching to a renewable energy provider. If you have a gas combi boiler, Octopus Energy recommend setting your flow temperature to 50°C for hot water and 55°C for heating. (If you have a gas boiler and a hot water cylinder, they recommend setting the flow temperature on your boiler to a few degrees over 60°C for heating and hot water, and setting your hot water cylinder to 60°C also. 60 degrees will stop bacteria like legionella from multiplying.) See their gas-saving tips.

 
Biodiversity 

Set aside or manage one fifth of your garden for the benefit of wildlife to increase biodiversity and reduce species loss. Let part of your garden grow wild by either not cutting the grass or growing a patch of wildflowers. Long grass provides a safe haven for insects and wildflowers are a great food source for bees.

 

Greening your home 

See the advice at nef.org.uk and energysavingtrust.org.uk on saving money and CO2 at home, including by using heat pumps, solar panels, draught-proofing and insulation. See westsussexenergy.co.uk for more information. You can get advice on whether you are eligible for a grant for energy-saving improvements by calling Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice on 01243 974063 or emailing energy@arunchichestercab.org.uk

 

Campaign 

Join a campaigning group whose aims you support or admire and take part in their activities. For example:  Extinction Rebellion, Sussex Wildlife Trust or Save Our South Coast Alliance. 

 

Lobby 

Lobby local government (Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council) to ensure that they meet their climate change targets. 

 

Own your impact 

Using the United Nations lifestyle calculator couldn’t be easier. Just a series of simple to answer questions that quickly build a clear picture of your climate footprint, allowing you to take decisive steps – today.

 

Support 

...Greening Westbourne! 

                                  

 

                                                                                     

hazel dormouse

Dormice in our midst

Our wildlife team have discovered that hazel dormice, one of our most beautiful and rare native animals, are living in the area.

This was confirmed by experts who examined a picture of a nest we found. It was in one of our dormouse nesting boxes, which we check regularly, in a local hedge.  

The Woodland Trust says: “The (hazel) dormouse population is in serious danger, with numbers estimated to have fallen by 52% since 1995. The loss of ancient woodland and hedgerows across the UK is thought to be a major reason for this decline, as dormice will not leave the safety of trees to cross large, open spaces. This means populations become isolated, lose genetic diversity and are therefore more vulnerable to extinction.

“Climate change is another big threat to the hazel dormouse. As the winters become milder, they disrupt the species’ hibernation cycle, meaning dormice wake early when sufficient food isn’t available. 

“A reduction in traditional forestry methods, such as coppicing, has also impacted the species’ numbers.” 

 

Picture of hazel dormouse by saguaro from Pixabay 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 2021

 

millstream September 2021

Pumping licence review is good news for Ems

 

Friends of the Ems, which campaigns to preserve our local river, has welcomed plans to review the local water company’s pumping licence.

The review of Portsmouth Water’s licence is planned by the Environment Agency (EA), the national environmental watchdog, to see if it needs changing.
 
The licence, dating back to the 1960s, governs how much the company can remove from the river’s underground sources – a process called abstraction. It also governs how much it should pump into the river at times of low flow – a process known as augmentation. 
 
Friends of the Ems (FOTE) was formed in August last year to campaign for the river, a rare chalk stream that supports threatened wildlife. In September last year, a failure of Portsmouth Water’s augmentation system left large sections of the river dry, with fish stranded and dying. 
 
FOTE believes the licence is totally inappropriate for the Ems, which has such a variable flow. In February, when the river is usually at its peak, there can be 700 times as much water flowing as in a typical September. But the company's licence allows it to remove the same amount of water every day of the year.
 
Now, in a meeting with FOTE, the EA has said it wants to review the licence in two phases – the first looking at better augmentation and the second looking at longer-term changes to make the licence more sustainable. However, the agency has warned that the work depends on resources being available.
 
Simon Moody, area director for the agency, said he would like to see better augmentation in place before next summer, when the river is at greatest risk. 
 
A FOTE spokesperson said: “This is a very encouraging pledge from the EA. We are still cautious and will wait and see what actually happens. But after only a year of campaigning for our beautiful river, which is on a cliff edge, this is a major piece of good news.
 
“Local people have joined us in our fight for the Ems, as have our local councillors and MP, and it seems our voices are being heard.
 
“It is still important to remember that while water flow is crucial – otherwise there would be no river – we also need improvements to the Ems as a wildlife habitat and to the quality of the water.”
 
Portsmouth Water says it is also looking at sustainability and to make changes, but has a primary legal responsibility to supply water. 
 
The company is running an experiment over a few days, with the help of FOTE, to see what happens to the river when the amount of water it abstracts is reduced (while ensuring customers’ supply).
 
FOTE is part of Greening Westbourne. Local people who want to join FOTE can get involved by signing up as supporters. They should email greeningwestbourne@hotmail.co.uk

 


JUNE 2021

community grass verge westbourne

 

Roadside verge to become wildlife haven

 

A large grass verge in the village is to become a haven for wildlife, after local residents offered to help look after it.

The area, on the corner of Whitechimney Row and Old Farm Lane, is now being cared for by Greening Westbourne as part of a West Sussex County Council scheme.
The area will no longer be mown at frequent intervals. Instead, WSCC will cut it only once a year, in late summer. Greening Westbourne will help wild flowers to flourish by removing the cuttings. We also hope to restore a hedge.
A strip along the roadside will still be cut by WSCC as before, to preserve sight lines for drivers.
The area is now a 'community road verge' – part of a WSCC scheme to encourage wild flowers, pollinators such as bees and other wildlife. Greening Westbourne applied for the area to be included in the scheme, at the suggestion of Chichester District Council. The project also has the backing of Westbourne Parish Council.
Greening Westbourne chair Richard Hitchcock said: "The area will look different, but it isn't being neglected. It's being carefully managed for the benefit of wildlife, especially bees and other pollinators, many of which are in decline. In time we hope to see many beautiful wild flowers flourish.
"Manicured grass verges aren’t very useful to wildlife. But wilder areas can provide vital food, shelter and nesting areas. I'm sure residents will appreciate a more natural look, and the value it will have for the environment."
Cutting the grass late in the year means wild flowers can bloom for a longer period. By removing the cuttings, Greening Westbourne volunteers will be helping to ensure that the soil isn’t too fertile, enabling native wildflowers to thrive.
The verge is part of a 'wildlife corridor' proposed by Chichester District Council, which would help connect the South Downs National Park to the coast.
Contact us if you would like to help look after the verge.
 

 

Save the Ems - watch our video

You can watch a presentation by two of the founder members of Friends of the Ems, outlining why the river is in trouble and how it could be saved. 

Watch on YouTube here. 

 


 MARCH 2021

millstream westbourne march 2021

The Ems: watchdogs must take action

The Friends of the Ems group, part of Greening Westbourne, is calling on the authorities to step up and protect our river from local water companies’ plans.
The Ems, a rare chalk stream, is threatened by the amount of water taken from its underground sources by Portsmouth Water (PW).
Friends of the Ems (FOTE) sees the planned Havant Thicket reservoir as an opportunity for PW to help the river regain a proper flow.
But the company has done a deal which would mean that supplies would be piped out of the local area and used by Southern Water (SW) instead.
Now FOTE is calling on the national water industry regulator Ofwat and the Environment Agency to act.
A FOTE spokesperson said: “The proposal for a reservoir at Havant Thicket gave us hope that the ability to capture and store new water would enable a reduction in the amount taken from the sources of the Ems.
“But it looks like none of the reservoir supply will be used to help our river. Instead, PW and SW have signed an agreement proposing a transfer of 60m litres per day from the local area. There is a proposal to convert seawater to drinking water using a plant at Fawley, which we support. But if this does not go ahead, the amount transferred could increase to 115m litres per day.
“The Ems, with its trout and water voles and kingfishers, is in crisis. The effects of the water being taken by PW are becoming more and more apparent in the summer and early autumn, when flows drop and sections dry up altogether.
“The evidence of damage to the Ems, which has been known for years, should be acted upon. This transfer of water out of this area should not be allowed until steps have been taken to ensure proper flow in the Ems. And Havant Thicket should not be a missed opportunity. Further progress of the reservoir plan should only be permitted on condition that watercourses like the Ems are protected and restored.
“We acknowledge the need to maintain a public water supply in the face of population growth and climate change. But this cannot be at the further expense of fragile habitats, and the plants and animals they support.”
Local people who want to join FOTE can get involved by signing up as supporters. They should email greeningwestbourne@hotmail.co.uk
 
 
Wildlife Watch
Spring is here, so we’re relaunching our Westbourne Wildlife Watch campaign, which is all about protecting the local wildlife corridor.
This is the area between the South Downs national park and the sea which roughly follows the River Ems and includes Westbourne.
We have been supporting a proposal by Chichester District Council to make the area a designated wildlife corridor because of its environmental importance.
Wildlife Watch is a way of gathering evidence of the wildlife living locally. The more evidence we have, the more it will be protected from development.
So, please report your wildlife sightings online at www.brc.ac.uk/irecord  For tips on using iRecord and identifying animals, see our Wildlife watch pages.
Endangered creatures are the most crucial to report, but you can also report more common ones, as they’re also under threat.
 


 


NOVEMBER 2020

kingfisher 

 

 

Our Friends of the Ems campaign to save the river has got off to an amazing start.
 
Local MP Gillian Keegan is backing our fight to reduce the huge amount of water being taken from the river’s underground sources and to restore it as a thriving wildlife habitat.
 
So is our local district councillor Roy Briscoe and our county councillor Mike Magill.
 
You can follow Gillian’s work on behalf of the Ems online.

We’re also building links with other groups fighting for rare chalk streams like ours.
 
Already, the Friends have around 40 local households signed up as official supporters. Find out more about the plight of the river and see an email-writing guide to help you add your voice to the campaign.
 
FOTE had a meeting this month with representatives of Portsmouth Water, who pump out the water, and the Environment Agency, which monitors this process. Another meeting is due to happen next month.
 
We're pushing for a short-term plan to increase the amount that Portsmouth Water pumps into the river at times of low flow.
 
Another idea being discussed is to upgrade the distribution infrastructure so water from the Farlington treatment works can be used to fill our local reservoir at Racton. This could reduce the need to take water from the sources of the Ems.
 
More long-term, if the new Havant Thicket reservoir is built as planned, we believe it could remove the need to take water from the sources of the Ems altogether. This could not happen until about 2029.
 
Progress with the EA and PW is slow, and there is a lot of talk from both about further studies.
 
But we believe the evidence is clear. The Ems is suffering – from pollution as well as a lack of water – and action is well overdue.
 
If you want to join FOTE, please get involved by signing up as supporter. Just email greeningwestbourne@hotmail.co.uk
 
We are also keen to receive information, especially written or photographic evidence, that suggests the river once enjoyed better conditions and flows. We are also collecting evidence of how the community or river wildlife has been affected by low flows.
 
Please use water wisely, as the more we use, the more pressure on our fragile resources.
 
 
Meanwhile…

We’re hoping to hold our annual Christmas tree recycling event on 3 January in The Square, from 10.30am to 2.30pm. Whether it happens depends on what is possible given the coronavirus situation. Keep up to date by following the Greening Westbourne Campaign Facebook page or checking the events section of our website.

Our community orchard at Hampshire Farm Meadows had a good year and is thriving. We’ve sown some wildflower seeds in the area, with more to be sown next year.

We plan to increase our activity on climate change, which was the original focus of Greening Westbourne when we started more than 10 years ago. We’ve submitted a response to the district council’s draft climate emergency action plan, and are liaising with other groups in the South East Climate Alliance.

We’re also working on a project to help us all reduce our use of plastic and lessen its impact on the environment.

 

 

                                                                                                                            

In the new year we're launching a campaign to help make local homes more energy-efficient.
You could get a free image of your home, taken by Greening Westbourne with a special camera that detects where heat is escaping.
The image would be a great starting point for thinking about insulation, draught reduction and other energy-saving improvements.
Greening Westbourne volunteers are planning to visit homes in the parish with the camera soon.
If you’re interested in getting an image, please email us and let us know ASAP.
We also need volunteers to help with this. If you're interested in helping with the campaign, again please email us and let us know. Maybe you can make our a camera training session on 10 January. Email us for more details.
If you're interested in retro-fitting your home to make it more energy-efficient, cutting your bills and CO2 emissions, then check out these sources of advice: