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How a South Downs town is taking action for nature and climate

How a South Downs town is taking action for nature and climate

November 3, 2023

We chat to Katrina Murray (pictured above right), Chair of Greening Arundel, to find out more about how the community is coming together to help their local environment.

Why have you formed Greening Arundel?

Greening Arundel is an alliance of like-minded organisations that came together in 2023 to share knowledge, experience, resources, networks, ideas and workloads. It was inspired by our shared concern about the impact of climate change in our community. The idea behind the alliance was that, by working together, we could move faster and more sustainably towards our common goal of making Arundel “greener”.

One of our first and most important steps was to form the Green Team – a band of community volunteers. Thirty locals answered the call and devoted an average of 100 hours per month to greening projects between April and August.

What’s the long-term vision?

During the summer, the members of Greening Arundel developed a strategy and action plan to guide our activities over the next few years. We’ll focus on three pillars: protect and nurture the environment; mobilise residents and the business community; and strive for sustainability in all that we do.

In order to improve the environmental value of Arundel’s green spaces, we want to increase biodiversity and bio-abundance; help make Arundel a haven for wildlife; while reducing environmental harm. We recognise that broad-based public buy-in will be critical to our success and we are determined to become as sustainable as possible.

What have you achieved so far?

Greening Arundel has now grown to a membership of 15. As a group, we have successfully applied for funding from Arundel Town Council, the Royal Horticultural Society and the South Downs Trust. That funding has enabled us to obtain an allotment and greenhouse, where we can propagate and grow our own plants and trees.

However, the most visible achievements have resulted from the work of the Green Team.  Both sides of the 120m pathway from the train station have been transformed with native hedgerow plants and wildflowers. The Pollinator Garden has been lovingly tended, while herbs and edible flowers have been planted in the Quayside bed and in a series of upcycled troughs, which are tended by neighbouring businesses and residents.

What is Greening Arundel planning to do?

We have just launched a Bring Back Our Birds campaign to engage the community in helping restore local populations of swifts, swallows and house martins by sponsoring nest boxes and cups. We will also install a house martin tower in the Community Orchard before turning our attention to hedgehogs and bats.

We will expand the pollinator corridor by planting 12 more upcycled troughs, as well as transforming the area in front of the train station. We’re working with Arun District Council to redesign the Memorial beds and Jubilee Gardens and we’re advising Arundel Town Council on developing plans for roundabouts and verges.

We also hope to pilot a food waste composting scheme and to move towards a significant reduction in the use of harmful chemical pesticides and herbicides.

How do people get involved?

We are keen to mobilise as many residents and business owners as possible. Of course we’re always seeking volunteers for the Green Team. Beyond that, we plan to do more work with schools and youth groups; to support local businesses in achieving Green Tourism Certification; and to expand our partnership with charities, such as the Aldingbourne Trust and Brent Lodge Bird and Wildlife Trust.  For more information or to get involved, contact: greenteam.arundel@gmail.com