Wigan Borough Environment & Heritage Network

Meeting minutes

10.30 am 2nd November 2020 via Zoom

Joe Taylor (JT), Billinge Historic Society, (Chair)
Julie Hotchkiss (JH), Extinction Rebellion, Wigan
Peter Taylor (PT), Wigan Civic Trust
Lydia Helsby (LH), Wigan Civic Trust
Kerrell Walley (KW) Climate Change Programme Manager, Wigan Council
Adrian D’Arcy (AD) CRESS
Neil Forshaw (NF) George Formby Society
Paul Costello (PC) Tyldesley Pelican Centre
Tony Bishop (TB), Leigh Ornithological Society
Glenys McClellan (GM), Leigh Family History Society

Julie Clarke, Communities (JC), Wigan Council
Alex Miller (AM) Wigan Council
Avis Freeman (AF) Leigh Soroptomists

Update from Climate Change Manager

MW reported on four points:

  1. Climate Change
  2. Air Quality
  3. Retrofitting
  4. Biodiversity

(i) She reported that reviews had been adopted by Wigan Council and would now move forward to inform businesses and residents of the future strategy. External consultants have been appointed to look at the framework to be adopted in the future. Local Government is leading from the front and reviews with be carried out every five years to aim at a ‘zero’ result by 2038.

(ii) A new Air Quality officer has been appointed and will update the network at the next meeting. The Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan consultation is now open until 3rd December 2020 for all residents to give feedback.

(iii) KW reported good support from other service managers within the Council for the retro fitting of property and fuel poverty. There is grant available from the Central Government and Wigan Council are considering all public sector buildings.

Residents will need to be educated on the use of other methods of house warming in the future with a move away from gas boilers.

In the interests of biodiversity, management of verges and grass has meant that there has been a reduction in the number of times they have been cut throughout the year. Wigan Council is hoping to plant 1 million trees by 2030.

(iv) A Biodiversity Officer has been appointed and will report at the next meeting.

JH pointed out that it was important that footpaths were kept tidy and residents need to be informed that the grass cutting reduction was in order to help with the biodiversity scheme.

TB reported that it was important that the Planning Department take biodiversity in account when looking at the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework Plan as there are huge areas around Leigh that are being allocated for more house building.

GM also pointed out that a few remaining green areas of Lowton have also received planning permission for more house building with very little consideration for the infrastructure or air pollution.

JW felt that the Planning Department should encourage housing developers to consider alternative methods of heating with a view to the elimination of gas heating in the future.

PT added that he had heard that the gas suppliers were now changing the makeup of gas to produce a greener product.

Climate Change Presentation

JH then gave a power point presentation of Climate Change and suggested a book by David Wallace Wells entitled “The Uninhabitable Earth”. She pointed out how greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuels were heating the earth with detrimental effects including flooding and fires. The graphs show that natural gas is still being used and the Climate Change agreements were not working.

Wigan Historic Environment Strategy

As Richard McDonald had been unable to attend the meeting, this was not discussed.

However, GM pointed out that the Strategy consultation would close on Wednesday next. The link is www.wigan.gov.uk/consultation

There were no updates from any of the other organisations.

TB requested that a Planning Officer be invited to the next meeting.

Next Meeting: 7th December 2020 at 10.30 a.m. via Zoom