SCULPTORS will create a family of penguins out of frozen water in Woking today, to raise awareness of the melting of Earth’s polar ice caps.

The birds will emerge from blocks of ice in Jubilee Square between 10am and 1pm – and they will then be left to melt naturally, further heightening the ecological message.

A professional sculptor puts the finishing touches to the ice polar bear displayed in the town centre last month

The event is part of Woking Shopping’s “Eco Christmas” initiative, which is highlighting a variety of ecological issues as well as giving shoppers suggestions for an eco-friendly festive season.

It follows the sculpting of a polar bear in the square on Saturday 23 November.

“The bear ice sculpture was stunning, and it was mesmerising watching it emerge from the ice as the sculptors worked away,” said Woking Shopping customer experience manager Rowen de Grauw. “We can’t wait to see the family of penguins come to life.”

SEVERAL Woking residents attended demonstrations in London by Extinction Rebellion calling for the government to declare a climate and ecological emergency.

Lizzy Harley, a science journalist who lives in St John’s, was at the protest last week, having attended in April.

Lizzy Harley and her son near Whitehall during the demonstration.
Picture by Gemma Bradshaw

Lizzy, who took her two-year-old son to the demonstration, said she was involved with Extinction Rebellion because she believes that climate change and environmental damage is a symptom of a society that is fundamentally broken, that thrives on inequality.

“I want to empower myself and my child to change that. I was genuinely impressed by how family-friendly the April Rebellion was.

“My son enjoyed running up and down Waterloo Bridge, in and out of the temporary trees.”

Alix Goldring, from Brookwood, was also at the demonstrations, attending on a day off from her work as an administrator and when she could get childcare for her three-year-old son.

Alix, who stood as a Green Party candidate for Knaphill in elections for Woking Borough Council earlier this year, said having a young child made her particularly aware of environmental issues.

“I have an interest in the future beyond my own life and want my child to have a healthy planet to live in,” Alix said.

She said that, contrary to some reports in the national media, the demonstration was peaceful and respectful.

“The political system is broken and this sort of peaceful civil disobedience raises the awareness of that. Pressure needs to be put on the government so that drastic changes are made,” Alix said.

Lizzy, who has a PhD in evolutionary biology, said the attitude of the Prime Minister, who called the protesters “uncooperative crusties” and the government was not surprising but still disappointing.

Alix and Lizzy and the other Woking participants were among thousands of people around the world who set out to disrupt capital cities around the world, by blocking roads, bridges and transport links.

Earlier this year Woking Borough Council was one of several in Surrey to declare a climate emergency, and made a pledge to make their wholly-owned companies carbon neutral by 2030.

For the full story get the 17 October edition of the News & Mail

A WOKING woman has won a Wildlife Garden Award in an annual competition run by Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Liz Hales landed the small garden category in the event, which is supported by Squire’s Garden Centres.

GIVING NATURE A HELPING HAND – Liz shows off some of the wildlife-friendly  features of her award-winning garden

Liz’s winning garden was notable for its two spaces with habitat features including ponds, a hedgehog house, log and stone piles, bird-feeding stations and water sources for insects and bees.

She also has a wormery, pear and plum tree, and grows herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme.  Wildlife spotted in her garden included dragonflies, painted ladies, bees, blue and long-tailed tits, and newts.

Victoria Pinder, wildlife gardening champion at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: “Liz has achieved so much with a small garden, especially because local children and neighbours have all become interested in it.”

For the full story get the 3 October edition of the News & Mail

AROUND 30 McLaren employees have spent a day helping the Horsell Common Preservation Society maintain the land that borders the company’s main Woking site.

TEAM EFFORT – McLaren staff help to clear scrub during their day working on Horsell Common

Employees worked in teams alongside local residents to help to clear birch and pine scrub, to ensure the rich bio-diversity of the common’s flora and fauna was maintained.

The common includes protected areas that contain rare, ground-nesting birds which breed only in the special conditions provided by the heathlands.

Mandeep Dhatt, executive director of human resources at McLaren Automotive, said:

“The volunteers have demonstrated McLaren teamwork in action, not only among employees but working with our long-standing neighbours, the Horsell Common Preservation Society, who play such a vital role in the area.

“As a major local employer, McLaren is able to attract talent from all over the world to Woking and the attractiveness of our setting next to the common is certainly a key plus point for many.

“As employees regularly take time to walk and enjoy the area, it’s great to be able to give something back and help maintain the area for future generations.”

Paul Rimmer, the society’s estate manager, said the strong 20-year relationship with McLaren “has produced amazing public and wildlife benefits”.

For the full story get the 26 September edition of the News & Mail

THE environmental credentials of Pennypot Day Nursery in Chobham have achieved a deeper shade of green through its success in an international schools scheme.

The nursery has achieved the Green Flag award for environmental awareness and conservation, in an initiative that involves millions of children across 64 countries.

Pennypot staff and children celebrate their success in the global Eco-schools programme

The day nursery in Pennypot Lane is powered by “green” electricity and sends zero waste to landfill.

Nursery manager Carol McDonough said the award was the result of years of continuous dedication by staff and children working together in the global Eco-schools programme.

“We are absolutely delighted to have won this award,” added Carol. “Respecting and caring for the planet is an important lesson which we believe will stand the children in good stead for life.

“The fact that our children understand the importance of protecting the environment is brilliant and should be celebrated.”

For the full story get the 24 September edition of the News & Mail

RECYCLED waste plastic waste from bottles, bags and packaging has been used in pavements for the first time in Surrey.

The trial has seen waste plastic that would otherwise have gone to incineration or landfill used in asphalt to resurface pavements in Horsell Rise, Woking, and Brighton Road, Burgh Heath, before extending the trial into Kent.

Trials begin on Surrey’s first waste plastic pavement

The joint project is being led by electricity distributor, UK Power Networks which carries out roadworks to install, maintain and upgrade the cables delivering power to 8.3 million homes and businesses, with reinstatement contractor Stanmore Quality Surfacing (SQS), in partnership with Surrey and Kent county councils.

“This is the first time waste plastic has been used on Surrey’s street works and if tests prove successful, this could pave the way for wider use by other utilities,” said Mark Baker, senior groundworks manager at UK Power Networks.

In the trial across Surrey and Kent, UK Power Networks and SQS will use 17 tonnes of asphalt containing the equivalent of 14,571 single use carrier bags or 5,100 plastic bottles.

For the full story get the 22 August edition of the News & Mail

A YOUNG Knaphill resident has suggested an “eco message” in a bottle, as a way to tackle the environmental dangers of discarded plastics.

Bonnie, 10, a pupil at The Hermitage School, thinks making eco brick bottles can also help keep kids busy during the holidays: “Calling all kids – don’t get bored in the school holiday. Help save the planet from plastic waste and have fun at the same time by making eco-brick bottles.”

Bonnie and her sister Loren working to save the planet with eco-bricks

An eco-brick is a plastic bottle filled with the types of plastic that can’t be recycled, such as crisp packets, plastic straws and cutlery, vegetable packaging and food containers.

“Get a litre bottle and make sure it is dry inside. Fold, cut or crush your collection of non-recyclable stuff into tiny pieces. ‘Post’ the bits into the bottle,” explained Bonnie.

“Now find a strong stick and push it down as far as you can. Since the bottle will be laid on its side so that you can see the bottom, make sure the bottom is colourful. Keep pushing the stuff down with the stick until it is tightly packed.

“When you have made a collection of bottle bricks, they can be stuck together to make loads of things depending on how many ‘bricks’ you make. In some places they have had enough bottle bricks to make furniture and sheds!” said Bonnie

“Help save our future; help save our planet. Do something useful. You will love making them and it will stop you saying ‘I’m bored’ in the holidays. Each filled bottle will remind you what could have polluted the ocean or damaged wildlife.”

THE League Against Cruel Sports was chosen by residents to receive proceeds from the sale of second hand goods at the Martyrs Lane community tip in Woking.

Louise Morton hands over a cheque for £1,432.75 to League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Andy Knott

The animal welfare charity is a beneficiary of money taken at the Revive shop, which sells reusable items taken to the recycling centre by the public.

It was presented with £1,432.75 – 10 per cent of the quarterly proceeds from the shop, whose customers nominated the league to receive a donation.

The Martyrs Lane centre and shop are run by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK on behalf of Surrey County Council. The company’s Surrey communications manager, Louise Morton, visited the league’s headquarters in Godalming last week to meet its chief executive, Andy Knott, and hand over a cheque.

Mr Knott commented: “A big thank you to staff and customers at the Martyr’s Lane Revive shop, who are helping to both protect the environment and stop the persecution of animals in the name of cruel sports.”

For the full story get the 25 April edition of the News & Mail

THE passion of a West End environmentalist in looking after a patch of local heathland was celebrated in a special Mother’s Day episode of the BBC TV’s Countryfile programme.

Mary Adler’s many years of conservation work on Brentmoor Heath were featured, including her efforts in helping save the land from housing development.

Mary Adler (second right) during the filming on Brentmoor Heath. Also pictured are, from left, daughter-in-law Jenny with four-month-old grandson Arthur, son Charles with granddaughter Emma, husband Mick, SWT education director Aimee Clarke, Matt Baker, son James and Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton

Countryfile presenter Matt Baker and a camera crew met Mary on the 75 acres of countryside which surround her home at New England Hill, off Red Road.

She was described as “a remarkable woman who has embodied the spirit Surrey Wildlife Trust for more than 30 years, who was made an MBE for her work to protect and enhance the heathland”.

Countryfile highlighted Mary’s success in inspiring several generations of children to become interested in conservation – including her son James. He recently became head of biodiversity for Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT), which now manages Brentmoor Heath.

Mary is still a registered volunteer with the trust and continues to take a keen interest in the nature reserve and the surrounding countryside. “We walk the area twice a day and do a lot of litter picking and clearing up the packets which dog walkers unfortunately leave behind,” she said this week.

“If I see any problems or anything which needs attention, I let the SWT warden know.

“I enjoyed being involved in the Countryfile filming. It was fascinating to get an insight on what they do to make the programme. They certainly work very hard.”

Countryfile closed its Mothering Sunday tribute by filming Mary’s granddaughter, Emma, 2½, attending a Wild Tots session at Nower Wood Education Reserve at Leatherhead.

For the full story get the 11 April edition of the News & Mail

SURREY Straw Switch took off in Woking town centre as local outlets serving cold drinks to sip or slurp raised their glasses to a plastic straw free future.

Managing director of the Paper Straw Group, Natalie Stephens, with Martin Durrad, landlord of The Garribaldi pub in Knaphill

The Woking-based company Paper Straw Group gave away around 6,000 paper straws as part of an initiative backed by the local council and Surrey County Council to be the first plastic straw free county.

Having set up a station for the event at Café Rouge in Victoria Square, Natalie Stephens, managing director of the Paper Straw Group, and her team gave away packs of their bespoke paper straws to businesses that currently offer straws to their customers, including Patches of Horsell, the New Victoria Theatre and Café Rouge itself.

“We would really like to make Surrey the first county that has no plastic straws and then would be more than happy to take that nationwide,” said Natalie. “It’s been wonderful to see the support this has.”

In addition to Woking Mayor Cllr Will Forster and a number of other local councillors visiting the launch, councillors from Epsom and Ewell also visited as one of the districts that is looking at holding a similar launch.

The straws are being made in Woking with UK materials, including vegetarian-friendly ink, on bespoke machinery. This includes 100% plastic-free glue, which is one of the factors that the company has said makes it stand out from other similar products.

For the full story get the 4 April edition of the News & Mail