Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

Monday 2 June 2020, 10:30am, via Zoom

Present: Joe Taylor, David Shallcross, Glenys McClennan, Julie Hotchkiss, Ian Bowler, Richard McDonald, Peter Taylor, Neil Harris (for Alex Miller), Kerrell Walley

While Joe helped others into Zoom meeting, David took the chair. There was no formal agenda.

Agreed that the previously circulated notes of the last meeting were correct.

Climate Change – Wigan Council

Kerrell Walley, the new Climate Change Programme Manager at Wigan Council described her role. Her background is environmental consultancy, particularly in relation to water drainage. Feels the climate emergency work is somewhat thwarted at the moment because COVID-19 work is taking precedence. Although people learning to be resilient in the pandemic has prepared people for adaptation in other ways. She wants Wigan to be a leader in the field. Recent feedback from Greater Manchester was that not much is being driven forward elsewhere.

Her initial work will be on adaptation and resilience, with a particular focus on extreme weather events, as people know February was the wettest ever and expecting this summer to be a repeat of 2018.

Wigan Climate Strategy/Plan is being developed and she acknowledge and thanked the 3 members present who had submitted early feedback. They were now planning the engagement plan. Partners such as the Environment Agency and United Utilities are key, e.g. homes losing power is a real threat. Data sharing will be important.

Heritage / culture update

Richard McDonald reported that the Heritage Strategy would be going out to formal consultation in the next few months.

Embargoed (but past now) – King Street area has secured substantial funding as part of “High Street regeneration.

Construction work has resumed on the Leigh Heritage site, but timetable unsure at moment. Installations being planned, and the content looks good.

Sadly reported that there had been some fires lit on the Pagefield campus – it is a very large site and impossible to keep 100% secure.

Members also reported that there had been a lot of trespass and some setting fires at Pennington Flash

Round table updates

David Shallcross reported that Leigh Ornithological Society had been awarded a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, after 49 years activity protecting the local environment.

Glenys McClennan reported that Leigh Family History Society had cancelled all meetings for the year as the Derby Room and Library were closed, but keeping in touch on the Forum, Facebook pages, and with a Whatsapp group for the volunteers.

Peter Taylor reported that the Society meetings and committee meetings had also been cancelled, just keeping things up-to-date on the website and social media.

Glenys asked about Avis – she is self-isolating and cannot use Zoom.

Neil reported that Wigan Council was following the government roadmap about re-opening libraries and cultural estates, probably in July, currently doing risk assessment.

Ian reported that he was working with Friends of the Earth to set up Wigan and Leigh Climate Action and that they had had their first meeting on 6th May, next one planned for the 10th June.

Julie asked Kerrell that following the announcement of more money to be put into cycling and walking what would be the process for deciding how that would be spent in Wigan. Her experience was that these decisions were taken at Greater Manchester level and Wigan always lost out, e.g. no tram station, apparently Leigh Guided Busway not very quick, no new bus routes in the GM Bus Strategy to 2030, etc. Kerrell said that Wigan was embedded in the GM discussions and will update this group on the process and actions (to circulate).

Joe will meet with Kerrell separately.

David agreed to prepare an agenda for the next meeting.

Topic brought forward from previous meeting – education – David to discuss with Adrian ?

Meetings – agreed to continue meeting first Monday of the month.

Next meeting – 6th July 2020, 10:30am via Zoom