New litter picking kits for Buckingham

Visitor and residents of Buckingham can now help tackle lazy littering by accessing community clean up kits for use in our parks and town centre. The community equipment is a way of supporting everyone who wants to do their bit to create a better environment on their doorstep.

As part of the Government’s Welcome Back Fund, Buckingham Town Council has received 30 x litter pickers, collection hoops and high vis jackets for community groups to borrow. The scheme encourages people to take pride in their surroundings and make it easier to access the right equipment for a litter pick. The litter picking equipment is made from 100% recycled polypropylene fishing gear. Using recycled tools reduces unnecessary plastic production and waste – making the positive environmental impact of litter picking with our kit a double whammy!Bags of collected rubbish

The equipment is stored at Buckingham Town Council’s depot and can be accessed via information on the Town Council’s website or calling the office on 01280 816426. Full guidance on how to access the equipment and tips on running a successful community litter pick can be found on the Town Council’s website.

Pupils from Buckingham Primary School were the first to have a go, organising a week of litter busting activities. The children managed to fill several bags of rubbish from the parks, paths and town centre.

Cllr. Anja Schaefer, Chair of Environment Committee said “This new equipment will be a great boost for members of the community to become involved. I would encourage everyone to make use of them and perhaps organise a group for a communal litter pick, which is great fun as well as helping keep Buckingham looking great”.

Litter remains a big problem across the country. Not only is it unsightly, but it devalues the local area, pollutes the environment, causes harm to residents and wildlife and is expensive to remove, which ultimately costs council taxpayers money. Each year Buckingham Town Council supports the Keep Britain Tidy campaigns through our annual River Rinses and #QuickLitterPick schemes. If you would like to organise a litter busting event then please contact the Town Council on 01280 816426 or email estates@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

Litter Picking equipment

Notes:

 

  1. For enquiries, please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, communications@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

 

Year of the Tree

Buckingham is a #lovetreezone

Buckingham Town Council have declared 2022 the ‘Year of the tree’ and affirmed the importance of trees and hedgerows in our lives and our town’s landscapes into the future. As part of the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan Councillors have pledged to organise a minimum of one tree planting event per year to help offset the town’s carbon emissions and improve the biodiversity of our greenspaces. The Town Council’s Greenspaces Team have been regularly watering the new trees to ensure they form healthy strong root systems and have the best chance of success during their first year and the Council encourages everyone with young trees to water them through the summer.

During January 2022, volunteers helped the Town Council and partners plant 250 saplings along the footpath in Heartland’s Park with clusters of Black Poplars (Populus nigra betulifolia), Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and many other native species. The Black Poplar is Britain’s rarest native timber tree and there are some beautiful examples of mature Black Poplar trees to be seen in Heartlands park.

In February 2022, the Town Council worked in partnership with the Buckinghamshire Community Board and Lace Hill Resident’s Association to plant a selection of 20 fruit trees at Lace Hill Academy and the nearby Community Centre.

An important aspect of healthy woodland and hedgerow development is their potential to provide is connectivity, keeping otherwise isolated sections of trees and other habitats linked into a wider ecosystem. Healthy, sections of trees, hedgerow and wildflower meadows can be a vital wildlife corridor for hedgehogs, birds and bees.

Buckingham Town Council’s Planning Committee pay great attention to tree applications, in particular those specifying the removal of protected trees. Applications are challenged to ensure the Planning Authority is fully aware of the Council’s opposition to unnecessarily felling trees in Buckingham.

As the tree planting season has come to an end for the 21/22 year, we look forward to the winter where the Town Council has plans to plant 450 hedgerow trees at the Brackley Road Cemetery’s new garden of rest. Many thanks go out to our dedicated band of volunteers who have contributed to our previous efforts.

To find out more about our native trees, visit the Woodland Trust for everything you need to know from identification, folklore and history to pests and diseases that threaten the trees of our town.

Mayor of Buckingham, Cllr Margaret Gateley, said: “It has been great to be part of the Queen’s Green Canopy tree-planting team during the last few months.  This is a wonderful initiative, ensuring a lasting legacy from the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. It is vital for our planet that we not only plant new trees, but also protect our existing mature trees, as they store carbon. The Year of the Tree designation emphasises Buckingham Town Council’s commitment to stem the loss of our trees linked to the burgeoning housing developments as well as applications to fell healthy trees.”

 

Don’t mind the weeds, we’re feeding the bees!

In support of Plantlife’s No Mow May campaign, Buckingham Town Council will be leaving large sections of the town’s greenspaces uncut throughout May and beyond. Housing estates’ verges and safety sight lines along the town’s roads, play facilities and footpaths paths will, however, still be cut.

Ever wondered who is responsible for cutting the grass near you? Visit Buckinghamshire Council’s useful map, linked below:
http://ow.ly/jKBp50Jb62C

Throughout May visitors to the town’s parks and greenspaces will see areas of grass left to grow and wildflowers allowed to bloom. A perfect example is within Bourton Park, where grassy paddocks are covered in a sea of wild grasses and frothy white Cow Parsley.

The campaign, which is organised by wild plant conservation charity Plantlife, encourages people to support wildlife and boost pollination by leaving some of its greenspaces to grow across the town throughout May. The Town Council is also encouraging residents, where possible, to do similar with their lawns.

Buckingham Town Council is working towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2030 and one target is to review grass cutting regimes and promote biodiversity. Hopefully, by reducing the schedule of cuts in our greenspaces, it will give some of our open spaces time to flourish and boost the numbers of wild flowers that provide valuable food for pollinators.

Buckingham Town Council has already enhanced a number of areas over the past few year, including increasing meadow and wildflower areas to over 10,250 m2 in total since 2017/18 to improve biodiversity and help pollinators – that’s over 2.5 acres or 14 tennis courts and has the potential to be home to millions of insects.

In addition, the Council’s Green Spaces Team uses a fully electric van meaning lower vehicle emissions and less noise when undertaking maintenance.  All grass cuttings and prunings collected by the team are composted and used on council sites.

BBQs not permitted in Buckingham’s Parks

As the warmer weather returns, the Town Council is reminding visitors to its parks that barbecues are not permitted in Buckingham’s parks and green spaces. Unfortunately, in recent years, our team and the local Fire Brigade have had to deal with the damage that resulted from discarded or uncontrolled BBQs.

Barbecues have a negative impact on the local and global environment as they emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and regularly leave behind scorched patches of burned grass that take months to recover and damage our beautiful surroundings.

Everyone who visits Buckingham’s parks and green spaces should also make sure they bag up their rubbish and take it home where it can be recycled or disposed of responsibly. This will help to reduce litter and protect wild animals who can become trapped and entangled in dumped items.

We want everyone to enjoy themselves during the warmer months in our parks and greenspaces. So please, pack up a picnic and fill up a cool-bag for a day in the park – but please dispose of your litter properly and leave your barbecues at home.

For enquiries, please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, communications@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make Buckingham more bee friendly

Wildflowers add a wonderful variety of colour to any garden or community space. But more importantly, they provide bumblebees and other insects with food, shelter and habitat..

In the past 80 years large areas of wildflower habitat have disappeared from the countryside. This has left bumblebees with little to feed on, and is strongly linked with bumblebee numbers declining in many places..

However, you can ‘Bee the Change’! Wildflowers can happily grow outside in pots, plots or planters. If you don’t have access to a patch of soil, it’s a great place to start, especially for balconies or a paved area.

How to sow your wildflower seeds

1. Sow in Spring or Autumn, ideally in grass free soil. Make sure the soil is not too
wet or dry and avoid that urge to add topsoil, as native wildflowers do well on
low nutrient soil!

2. Give the soil a good rake over and sprinkle the seeds by hand. Grass can grow quickly and strongly and can stop the wildflowers from growing. You don’t want any competition for the wildflowers!

3. Rake the soil again to cover the seeds, but don’t bury them! Remember, seeds need sunlight to germinate. 

4. Carefully water the area and relax!

If you are using a pot or planter, then make sure there are holes in the bottom for drainage.

Remember to share photographs of your wildflower patches with us @buckingham-tc

For more fantastic information and fascinating wildflower based activities, visit Buzzing Bucks

Climate Conversations in Buckingham

Climate Conversations in Buckingham

On the 24th March 2022 people from the community of Buckingham attended the Annual Town Meeting which this year focussed on the climate emergency. People gathered together to express their views of Climate Change and to share ideas and suggestions on how to respond to climate change as a whole community. The public meeting brought together representatives from local environmental organisations and over 65 participants, including Buckingham’s MP Greg Smith and Town and Buckinghamshire Councillors.

Residents discussing electric car use

Attendees had the opportunity to visit information stands from the Electric Vehicle Centre, Planet Refill, Buckinghamshire Recycles, The Buckingham & Villages Community Board and Canal Society. There was also a small exhibition of artwork from Buckingham School pupils, made from recycled materials that is now on public display in the Tourist Information Centre.

The Mayor of Buckingham, Councillor Margaret Gateley, opened the meeting, giving a brief on how Buckingham Town Council has declared a Climate Emergency and developed its own Action Plan to drive the organisation toward carbon neutrality by 2030. The meeting had six tables, each with different discussion topic, with people moving around each table.

Participants were asked to share their ideas and consider the creation of a Community Climate Action Group to investigate ways of building a strong and resilient community to tackle the threat of the climate crisis in Buckingham. A full feedback report will be prepared and published within the next few weeks.

The new  Buckingham Community Climate Action Group needs more members.  Everyone is welcome.  You can register your interest and share your views at: https://forms.office.com/r/HrYdp4xvPV or scan the Qr code

Notes

 

  1. For enquiries about the Town Council, please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, communications@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

 

 

Nest Boxes in Bourton Park

Sharp-eyed residents may have noticed some new nest boxes gracing the Willow trees in Bourton Park. The boxes have been built and installed by Buckingham’s wildlife volunteer Michael Hunt, who has worked for years alongside the Railway Walk Conservation group and an active member of the Buckingham Tree Wardens. The three new boxes contribute to bird conservation by providing additional nesting sites for wild birds such as blue tits, great tits and nuthatches.Volunteer Michael hunt installing nest boxes

All year-round volunteers, such as Michael, keep an eye on the birds at Railway Walk – monitoring them so we can find out which birds visit, which are resident, and which breed on the site. As well as telling us the health of the local bird population, the data also contributes to national bird recording schemes and helps the site to be managed for conservation. Every year, hundreds of volunteers across the UK submit observations of nests they have monitored.  The data is used to assess the impacts that changes in the environment, such as habitat loss and global warming, have on the number of fledglings that birds can rear. (A fledgling is a young bird who is ready to leave the nest). It is hoped that the new nest boxes in Bourton Park, that carry individual reference numbers, will contribute to the growing numbers of the UK’s bird populations.

Chair of Environment Committee, Cllr. Warren Whyte said: We are very grateful for the public spiritedness of Michael Hunt in making these wonderful nest boxes and making a really positive contribution to the town council’s climate action plan to protect and enhance our native species and habitats

For some top tips on putting up your own bird box, visit the British Trust for Ornithology.

 

 

 

Notes

 

  1. For enquiries, please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, communications@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

 

 

Bee-Friendly Buckingham

Buckingham Town Council is looking at ways of protecting and enhancing native  wildflowers species in order to support our declining bee population. We know that bees are vital to pollinate the food we need to survive and these hard workers need regular ‘snack-stops’ to provide enough energy to fly from their home to fields and gardens where they collect nectar, and pollinate plants in the process. Modern, manicured gardens, frequently lack the diversity of flowering plants that needed to help re-fuel these busy bees.

Buckingham Town Council has already turned over large swathes of its parkland to wildflower meadows and reviews its grass cutting schedule to ensure verges and hedges are trimmed less and later in the year to support more wildflowers and insectsbut this is not enough. Buckingham Town Council’s vision is, eventually, to have a network of bee corridors (which are planting schemes that link up different areas) so bees and other pollinators can travel easily from one area of wildflower planting to another. In order to start on the road toward a more Bee-Friendly town, we are encouraging residents to plant small sections of native wildflowers across Buckingham’s gardens, creating regular nectar ‘pit stops’ for our hard-working pollinators.

Councillors will be handing out free packets of native wildflower seeds at this year’s Celebrate Buckingham event on Thursday 2nd June 2022 from 11-2pm, in Buckingham’s Bourton Park.

The Town Council’s new initiative, Bee-Friendly Buckingham aims encourage the development of Bee-Friendly corridors by handing out free packets of wildflower seeds with instructions on how to create your own Bee-Friendly pot, plot or planter!

Cllr. Schaefer, Vice Chair of Environment Committee said: Pollinating insects, such as bees, are so important for a healthy environment and also for our own food security, yet they are in serious decline. We can all do a little bit to help them by sowing a small area of insect friendly, native wildflowers in our gardens or even on a windowsill.”

You can access more information and resources on how to support our insect pollinators at Buzzing Buck’s fantastic website. They have lots of advice from Creating Wilder Spaces in our communities to resources for helping each of us to get our homes and workplaces buzzing with wildlife.

Climate talks in Buckingham

This year’s Annual Town Meeting will be themed on Climate Change and is open to EVERYONE to attend and share ideas on how Buckingham can respond, as a community, to the Climate Crisis. It is hoped the meeting will identify Buckingham’s key themes for the initiation of a community led Climate Action Group. The meeting will have a series of information stall and six tables, each with different discussion topics on possible actions the community can undertake to accelerate their own response and resilience to ongoing climate impacts.

series of pictures themed on climate change

  • Energy & Housing
  • Transport
  • Waste
  • Food & Land
  • Community & Change for the Future
  • Other Issues within Buckingham

Buckingham Town Council has already declared a Climate Emergency and developed its own Action Plan to drive the organisation toward carbon neutrality by 2030 but how can the town’s population, organisations and businesses to work with us in that aim. This public meeting will bring together stakeholders from the community, local Councils, businesses and residents to:

  • discuss what has been achieved so far
  • share ideas on how we can all take action to achieve net zero carbon Buckingham

All members of the public are invited to come along. Town and Unitary Councillors will be in attendance to answer your queries on any other matters relating to Buckingham. However, if you have a burning question or feel passionately about a local issue that doesn’t get the attention it deserves then come along to one of our weekly Committee meetings. For more information on what to expect from a Town Council meeting please visit our website at: https://www.buckingham-tc.gov.uk/your-town-council/committees/attending-council-meeting/

Notes

 

  1. For enquiries, please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, estates@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

 

Wildflower Information Boards

As part of the Town Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan it was agreed that the Council should protect and enhance native species and habitats, promoting and supporting opportunities for environmental enhancement and regeneration.

Since 2018 the Town Council has introduced 3 unique areas of wildflowers and, with the help of numerous local volunteers, planted swathes of native woodland bulbs across Bourton Park. All of the species have been carefully chosen by our knowledgeable Estates Manager to ensure they were native to the UK and well suited to the environment in which they were planted.

The wildflower meadows have proven extremely popular with visitors to the park, receiving lots of positive comments across social media and in the local newspaper.

Since the coronavirus pandemic led to restrictions on people’s movements and activities, many have learned to see their surroundings with fresh eyes, and have come to view the streets and parks where they live in a new light, discovering walks, trails and landmarks they had not realised were there before.

In 2020, in order to enhance visitors’ enjoyment of the park the Town Council’s Environment Committee agreed to install wildflower illustration boards, fixed at regular intervals, to the new fencing surrounding the junior play area in Bourton Park. Each board displays a watercolour illustration and short description of a native wildflower species, commonly found in Buckingham.

The panels provide further information or insight into the importance of wildflowers to our environment and entice visitor’s sense of curiosity and discovery and inform people as to the strong cultural bonds that exist with species such as:

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)
And where high grasses wave Shall great moon-daisies blink’ With rattle and sorrel sharp And Robin’s ragged pink’–    Robert Bridges, “The Idle Flowers”

Often used to create a bright yellow dye, Yellow Rattle’s striking bright yellow flowers with white lips are a sight to behold. When you brush through a wildflower meadow at the height of summer and you’ll hear the seeds of this flower rattling in their brown pods, this is why it is called Yellow Rattle.

Another excellent example of wildlife education boards can be found in Scott’s Lane, Maids Moreton, where the local conservation group have commissioned local artists to create 12 monthly illustrations raising awareness of the different kinds of wildlife in the environment where the panel is situated. One of the local artists, Fiona Hancock has created 9 beautiful watercolour images of our chosen flowers for use on the Bourton Park illustration boards.