Climate Change – Natural Environment
Epping Forest District council contains Epping Forest itself and remnants of further ancient woodland. Although the land use in the District only captures a small amount of carbon emissions (2%), trees, hedges and nature in general help to increase our resilience to the impacts of climate change (such as overheating and flooding), improving air quality, and providing wildlife habitats which help maintain and increase biodiversity.
To enhance the natural environment in your home, organisation or business you can:
- Maximise the amount of vegetation on your land. This can be done by removing paving and tarmac, installing a green roof or adding sustainable drainage. This will help reduce surface water and relieve flooding.
- Plant trees and hedges on your land or in your garden. Planting the right tree in the right place can save several tonnes of carbon if allowed to grow to maturity. For more information on what planting is suitable see the links below. If you do not own your home, please ask the permission of the landowner before planting.
- Take up free tree offers. These are available through organisations such as the Woodland Trust. These are available for schools, charities and other local organisations.
- Take part in the Tree donation scheme on the Council website.
- Grow your own food. If you have the space grow your own food, it is a fun way to access affordable, healthy, pesticide-free food while reducing emissions from food transport.
- Encourage pollinators such as bees. Pollinators are essential for food crops pollinating £690 million worth of crops every year, as well as wild plants. Planting wildflowers in your garden or on your land is a cheap and easy way to support biodiversity while also adding beautiful colours to your greenspace.
Land uses and practices can both store and emit carbon so decisions in this area are important to both reduce and remove carbon emissions. Activities such as tree and hedge planting can also help us adapt to the effects of climate change. This section contains some general actions to consider, mainly relating to agriculture, and below are links to further information and funding opportunities for landowners.
- Increasing tree and hedge cover. This helps to capture carbon, enrich soils, improve water quality, reduce flooding and provide shade and shelter for wildlife.
- Reduced emissions from agriculture through sustainable land management practices, increased productivity and new technologies. The NFU document below gives further ideas in these areas.
- Increased recycling of bio-degradable waste for example through composting or through use in bioenergy to divert waste from landfill and reduce methane emissions.
- Reduction of food waste across the supply chain, which starts with improved harvesting techniques and on farm storage.
- Tree Planting Advice – Plant Trees – Woodland Trust
- The Essex Forest Initiative – Essex County Council