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Climate Change

Climate change refers simply to the changes in our average weather patterns over many years. Unfortunately, during the last 100 years, the earth’s temperature has increased faster than ever and scientists believe this global warming is chiefly driven by human activity, primarily the use of fossil fuels like coal oil and gas. Burning these fuels generates gasses such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, that act like a blanket covering the earth, which traps the sun’s heat and raises temperatures like a greenhouse. Key sectors increasing these greenhouse gases are energy, industry, transport, buildings and agriculture. The impact is intensified by deforestation, as the trees absorb the carbon dioxide that can be so harmful to us.

The potential impact on Witham of climate change could be increased flooding due to heavier rain fall and in summer extreme heat with potential water shortages. Additionally, there are wider implications with a rise in respiratory disease due to poor air quality, the cost of food increasing due to challenging farming conditions and the impact on nature is likely to be devastating with a reduction in the biodiversity of our wonderful River Walk both in the water and on land.


Climate emergency declarations have been made by Essex County Council and Braintree District Council with a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030.  Witham Town Council support these declarations and are committed to reducing its environmental impact and considering climate change while delivering its services, carrying out its duties and when considering all strategic decisions.

Every little helps but doing nothing is not an option.

Our impact can be measured by our Carbon footprint, which is basically the amount of CO2 emissions we put into the atmosphere. Just like leaving a footprint in wet sand on the beach, every action, even breathing, leaves a footprint in the air, but unlike wet sand it can stay in the air for hundreds of years creating the problems we are seeing today.

We do not advocate trying to stop breathing, however there are some simple things that we can all do to help:

  • Walk rather than drive as often as you can. If it is a 10-minute walk or less, ditch the car and walk, not only will it help the environment, it can improve our mental health and our physical fitness.

  • Going to Chelmsford, Colchester or Braintree? Catch the train or take advantage of the £2 single bus fares. (don’t forget the cost of fuel, wear and tear on your car and parking in your thought processes)

  • Going to the beach at Frinton, Walton or Clacton? Take the train and avoid the traffic mayhem on sunny days, it is an additional adventure for the children too.

  • Stop buying single use items (the more you reuse something the lower the carbon footprint)

  • Ditch the clingfilm and use old take-away containers, reusable beeswax wraps or reusable silicone lids

  • Eat locally grown food if you can (food transport has a big carbon footprint)

  • Try and eat at least one vegetarian meal a week (our animals have a carbon footprint just like us)

  • Turn off plug sockets in the wall when not in use (helps the environment and cuts your bills)

  • Embrace Witham’s charity shops. Reduce the amount of fast fashion items you buy this season (there is a massive carbon footprint to this) and dig out those bargains on our high-street. We have found some amazing high-end branded clothing items at a snip of a price.

Changing our mind-sets is not easy but Essex County Council has just launched the Carbon Cutting Essex app to help.  The app is a fun way for us to keep track of our carbon footprint and it suggests many small and cost-effective changes which we can make to reduce it. It will also motivate through providing points and rewards when we take action. These can be used to enter fantastic prize draws or donated to good local causes. The app is free and can be downloaded from:

What is Witham Town Council Doing?

Witham Town Council’s Climate Change Working Group meet quarterly to discuss how Witham can do their bit to stop climate change and reduce carbon emissions.  The group considers initiatives that help Witham reduce, reuse, refill, recycle, lower carbon emissions and increase the biodiversity for the benefit of wildlife and people. We want to create a sustainable community for today’s residents and future generations.

If you have any ideas on initiatives we should be considering, please contact

Saving Energy

  • All 75 Witham Town Council lamp columns were replaced with LED bulbs during 2019/2020 which have a longer life span and so lower carbon emissions as well as save money.

  • Going forward the council are replacing our redundant petrol / diesel powered open spaces equipment with electric versions.

  • When the Open Spaces fleet reach their end of life, we will look at replacing them with electric versions to reduce pollution and our carbon footprint.

Encouraging Bio-Diversity

  • The beautiful River Walk, through the heart of Witham, offers a mosaic of habitat types and is closely managed by our Open Space Team to encourage wildlife as well as providing a recreational green space for all to enjoy.

  • James Cooke Wood, previously farmland, was purchased by the town council in 1993, and is now a community woodland planted with British trees, local to the area, to provide maximum benefit for wildlife and a quiet relaxing space for residents.

  • Whetmead Nature Reserve, a former landfill site, is now an area of woodland, meadow and open space where the river Brain and Blackwater merge. A wonderful wildlife haven and a perfect place for a walk to enjoy the flora and fauna

  • We are currently trialling wildflower planting in a corner of the Closed Churchyard to attract vitally important bees and butterflies as well as providing a welcome palate of colour for us all. If successful, we will look for other appropriate sites for wildflower planting.

  • We are proud to support Witham Tree Group, whose aim is to protect and increase the tree cover in the town (Witham Tree Group | For a greener future)

  • Every year, Witham Information Centre co-ordinates a seed exchange fortnight. Local residents can donate or swap their left-over seeds to reduce waste and allowing new and seasoned gardeners the opportunity to grow their own flowers and vegetables

Saying No to Single Use Plastic


  • Every 500ml plastic bottle uses almost 83g of CO2 emissions. In the hot summer months, the Information Centre provide a water refill station for residents to top up their drinking bottles.

Water refill station in Witham Information Centre
New picnic benches made from recycled materials

How Witham Town Council Supports Recycling


  • The information Centre offers a drop off point for you to recycle your ink jet cartridges and batteries. You can also pick up a roll of clear recycling sacks for your fortnightly curb-side recycled waste collection, if you have run out.

  • Community Coat Rack. If you need a coat and can’t afford it or if you have unwanted coats you would like to donate, there is a coat rail outside the Town Hall Monday to Friday.

  • The Witham Town Christmas tree, as well as the trees our Operations Team collected from St. George’s and Park View care homes, were donated to a local farm for their goats to munch.

  • The hay bales from the Witham Dog Show were donated to a local stable for their horses to enjoy.

  • In 2023 we purchased two new recycled plastic heavy duty picnic tables for Guithavon Valley Green, saving 5,508 2 pint milk cartons from landfill and our oceans

Keeping It Local


  • The information Centre showcases local gifts and produce by Witham’s independent businesses and has initiated Witham Gift Vouchers to encourage residents to shop within the town and reduce their shopping mileage and carbon emissions.

  • The Town Council make a point of researching and buying products and services, as required, from local suppliers as often as possible.

Witham Cut Throat lane Allotment site

Going Organic


  • Witham Town Council took over the Cut Throat Lane Allotments in 2021 and have updated and extended the communal composting area. Additional allotment plots are being introduced at Rivenhall Park in 2023 and more are planned for 2025 to meet the increasing demand. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a tastier alternative to shop bought produce and helps limit the disposal of food packaging. Apply for an allotment.

  • Witham Town Council do not use pesticides in any of their open spaces and discourage the use in their allotments.

The Council will ensure compliance with all environmental regulations, laws and codes of practice including The Water Act 2003, The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006, Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, Duty of Care (Waste), Water Framework Directive.

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