Tackling climate change explored at networking event

Steps being taken to reduce climate change in South Staffordshire and the Shropshire/Staffordshire border were discussed at an event hosted by landowner Bradford Estates and run with South Staffordshire Council.

Alexander Newport and Councillor Len Bates
Alexander Newport and Councillor Len Bates

About 100 people representing businesses, local authorities, residents group and environmental campaigners attended the half day networking session at Woodlands Farm, Weston under Lizard, on November 3 to explore ways of cutting environmental impact.

It was organised by Bradford Estates as part of its 100-year plan to play a leading role on sustainability in the local area.

The landed estates business organised a line-up of speakers with South Staffordshire Council to give attendees the chance to hear about a range of local steps being taken to protect the environment.

The event highlighted how South Staffordshire Council, which was named a ‘net zero leader’ by Western Power Distribution earlier this year, Bradford Estates and their partners are working to protect local ecology.

Councillor Len Bates, the cabinet member for community services, provided an overview on the measures the council is taking to support local businesses, backed by leading representatives from the local authority.

Ryan Taylor, performance and envirocrime manager and climate lead at the council, updated the audience on the council’s drive to achieve net zero, its electric vehicle strategy, the local nature recovery plan and work with schools to engage young people on the environment.

The council’s enterprise team manager Wayne Dutton reported on the progress made with local businesses on reducing carbon impact and assisting on energy usage during the current utility cost crisis, before representatives from the South Staffordshire Council Aspire Group explained the local authority’s drive to reduce its own footprint.

Bradford Estates managing director Alexander Newport gave an overview of the steps being taken by his business as a long-term landowner in the area, responsible for 12,000 acres on the Shropshire and Staffordshire borders. Bradford Estates stewards its land with a responsibility to generations to come, driven by the principle of legacy through responsible and sustainable practices.

A full range of environmental and agricultural projects being delivered on the estates was outlined by farms director, Oliver Scott, including efforts to increase biodiversity, work to conserve water and steps being taken to use alternative energy sources.

Construction director, Alastair Hollands, gave insights on the use of reduced carbon building materials on the estates as well as the drive to adopt sustainable construction practices, before Wojtek Behnke, managing director of Aqualate Estate, and project partner Richard Maryniak explained the work of the Aqualate Mere Catchment Group, the local business and estates group which is exploring carbon credit opportunities with leading national brands.

Mr Newport said the event had been a success. He said: “It was a pleasure to host such a positive morning where attendees could hear about the practical work being carried out in the local community, both by the public sector bodies and leading local businesses like Bradford Estates.

“As a long term landowner we take our commitment to responsible and sustainable practices seriously and want to lead the way by bringing together partners in as many ways as possible including networking events.”

Councillor Bates said he was pleased with the progress made at the networking event.

“It has been a pleasure to speak to such an engaged audience to promote the steps being taken by South Staffordshire Council to tackle climate change. We recognise our efforts fit into a wider global picture so it is important as many people as possible know about the initiatives being taken in their local area.

“I was very impressed by the questions posed by the attendees in this forum as it gave us a chance to speak openly to discuss the way forward. We have been pleased to work with Bradford Estates and look forward to building upon this partnership," he said.

Bradford Estates also provided attendees with the chance to tour the newly renovated Woodlands Farm, Bradford Farming’s agricultural centre on the edge of Weston-under-Lizard, as well as machinery such as the autonomous Farmdroid to round off the event.

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