Climate Action Day in Alnwick drives home message that 'every single one of us has to do what we can’

A series of developing technologies and ideas to address climate change were highlighted at a Climate Action Day in Alnwick.

They included an 18-storey high rise building in Norway constructed using cross-grained, engineered wood; how nearly 100% of electricity in Scotland is now provided from renewable energy like wind; and the planting of Doddington forest, the largest example of commercial planting in the UK in the last 10 years.

The aims of the event, organised by the charity What A Wonderful World Trust, were to learn more about what can be done, what governments are doing, or not doing, and to encourage local community action.

The event in the Northumberland Hall was well attended with ‘full house’ notices going up several times.

Glendale Middle School students modelling their Trash Fashion.

Cllr Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council, opened the event and commented: “The key thing is to make it clear that every single one of us has to do what we can. .. we are passionate about it.”

Paul Brannen, director of public affairs for the Woodworking and Sawmills Industry, said 40% of climate emissions come from the building industry and how we heat and cool our homes.

Concrete is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions. Building more in wood could make a significant contribution to reducing emissions.

“We should double forest cover - at least 50% of this should be commercial,” he said.

Cllr Geoff Watson, Cllr Gordon Castle, Cllr Glen Sanderson and Cllr Martin Swinbank.

Cllr Martin Swinbank, Green Party member for Alnwick on Northumberland County Council, said there has been a 20% increase of miles driven in Northumberland over last 10 years. Half of the journeys made by cars are less than two miles. He advocated the health and other benefits of better public transport and more active travel like walking and cycling.

School children from the area provided wrote and performed songs for the event, advocated top tips for change and ran a lively ‘Trash Fashion’ show highlighting the millions of tonnes of unnecessary textile waste each year and the important of ‘slow fashion’.

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan spoke about her work as the UK International caption for Adaptation and Resilience for COP 26 and of how receding the devastating impacts of climate change is vital to preventing large migration of displaced people, and how she herself stopped being a climate-change denier. She urged everyone in the North East and beyond to play their part in reducing the impact of climate change.

“It can’t be done by government alone,” she said. “Every single one of us has to think about which part of this puzzle we can help with.”

Simon Bowens from Friends of the Earth.

Tessa Sayers, community energy adviser for Community Action Northumberland, spoke about fuel poverty. She explained that a Green Homes Grant is still available at the moment for people in poorly insulated homes if householder income is less that £30,000 a year.

Simon Bowers from Friends of the Earth said that Northumberland needed to double its public transport use, install nearly 1400 EV charging points, plant 70,000 hectares of new woodland, commission about 1000GW hours of renewable energy and insulate 9300 homes a year.

Liz Anderson, co-organiser, said: “We were thrilled that so many people young and old took part in the Climate Action Day. It just shows how much people in Northumberland are willing to listen, learn and get inspired to take action.”

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Cllr Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council.
Rosemary Hartill, What a Wonderful World trustee, sums up the day.
Jolly Roger, the Town Crier, with Sue Patience of What a Wonderful World.
Cllrs Peter Edge and Geoff Watson at the Alnwick Town Council stall.
Stallholder Angela Ramsay from the Alnwick Community Orchard project.
The event at the Northumberland Hall was well attended.
Stella Fenwick, slow-fashion activist.
Glendale Middle School Ceilidh Band.
Paul Brannen speaking on uses of wood to replace concrete and steel in construction.
Students from Duchess's Community High School.