Environment & Sustainability

News on environmental and sustainability developments and issues.  All our groups contribute on the environment and sustainability (See More Details). We also post items of interest on environment and sustainability from other organisations, including the government.

The environment is a pressing concern for Guildford. It affects all of us and should inform all development.

The Society does not at present have a group focussed solely on environmental matters, as most aspects relating to the environment are covered by our working groups.  However, we support and collaborate with bodies such as Guildford Environmental Forum and the National Trust.

Guildford is situated in a wonderful natural environment formed by the North Downs. Our town sits on the edge of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The northern part of the borough contains part of the internationally recognised Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area.

In all our areas, natural habitats are under continuous pressure from development and over-use. The Society supports efforts to manage our natural environment and to ensure the town and urban areas are linked effectively to the countryside. We wish to see the Wey Navigation preserved and are keen to explore whether moving the AONB to National Park status would be beneficial.

The built environment in Guildford must play its part in providing sustainable living. This includes upgrading existing buildings to the latest environment standards wherever possible. Environmentally friendly buildings can be of high-quality design and economic to build. The Society is also keen to see  buildings  repurposed, rather than knocked down and rebuilt.  Many newer buildings have substantial life left in their steel and concrete structures. Planning policies should encourage sustainable communities which are not car dependent, and respond to the need to minimise commuting. Our Design and Planning Groups review and comment on these issues.

Transport is a critical area for Guildford, where pollution and congestion must be reduced. Active travel, such as cycling and walking, also provides health benefits compared with car or public transport use.  Our Transport Group promotes changes to the local transport system.

The economics of the environment are of particular relevance to Guildford.  New technology such as 5G, emerging from local education establishments and companies, can create new sustainable employment opportunities.  Guildford could also become a ‘gateway’ to the North Downs supporting sustainable tourism.  The Strategy and Economics Group is concerned that Guildford adapts its economy in a strategic manner to meet the challenges ahead.

Waste management in all its forms should not be overlooked. This is an area where technology is advancing, and there are possibilities to improve recycling and to use waste as an energy source.

The Society believes the challenges we face on environmental issues are an opportunity for Guildford to show leadership in the UK. We should also learn from others: for example, from our twin town of Freiburg, in southern Germany, an acclaimed example of sustainable urban living. 

Low and Zero Emission Buses £49million funding View article To accelerate the introduction of ultra-low and zero emission buses in Surrey; Surrey County Council are backing a scheme to introduce up to 80 ultra-low or zero-emission buses and 50 community transport minibuses by 2025 with the aim that all buses ... View article Intensive Investment Offered for Green Towns and Cities View article Government Investment to become like Holland Tucked away in the recent ‘Gear Change A bold vision for cycling and walking’ (See Below - Page 19) is a statement about the government wishing to ‘stimulate a large number of pro... View article Nationwide initiative to restore nature in England View article The Nature Recovery Network (NRN) Delivery Partnership, led by Natural England, brings together over 600 organisations to promote  the restoration of protected sites and landscapes and help provide at least 500,000 hectares of new wildlife-rich ... View article On your Bike! View article e-Bike Subsidy? The Department of Transport has published Gear change a bold vision for cycling and walking (See document below), with a foreword by that keen cyclist the prime minister. The UK government is planning, according to press re... View article Keeping the Lights on View article One of the isues with renewable energy is that supplies for most renewables are subject to fluctuation due to weather.  To make renewables viable there needs to be a method of storing excess energy for consumption at a latter time. It appears... View article Cycling Infrastructure View article The government is becoming increasingly supportive of cycling as a method of transport.  This is because if properly planned for it is an efficient, cheap and healthy way to travel.  The advent of e-Bikes is also opening up options to make ... View article Electric Cars – The Material Issue View article The Challenge In the rush to adopt Electric Cars it must not be forgotten that they still pollute even if the energy used to build them and the electricity they use in operation is from sustainable sources. Batteries are a major issue in that they... View article A optimistic view? A superabundance of clean energy by 2030 View article A think tank RethinkX is predicting that we are at an inflexion point where we are going to experience the fastest, deepest, most profound disruption of the energy sector in over a century. This one is being driven by the convergence of several key t... View article Solar Power may be the “Cheapest Electricity In History” View article The International Energy Agency (IEA) latest report indicates that solar power is now the “cheapest electricity in history.”  This is a reflection on the declining cost and increasing efficiency of Solar Cells. It is only part of ... View article Working from home won’t slash emissions View article The Conversation Website has published an interesting article on how working from home won’t slash emissions unless a car-free lifestyle is enabled.  An analysis of the National Travel Survey showed that people working from home made just ... View article Network Rail considering Environmental Pollution View article Network Rail have published a report September 2020 on how they plan to tackle Environmental Pollution across the rail network in years to come.   Andrew Haines Network Rail Chief Executive highlights: The opportunity for ra... View article Flooding Alleviation View article Having endured another period of intense rainfall it is natural to consider what is happening to the Flood Alleviation Schemes proposed for Guildford.  Little has been heard recently of the plans by the Environment Agency to implement a Guildfor... View article Powerhouse Brattørkaia, built by a sustainability alliance View article Mabe this is a lesson for Guildford to create truly sustainable buildings.  The Photovoltaic Cells will pose a design issue in many locations but the ideas and thinking could be utilised in Guildford. Smothered in solar panels, Powerhouse Bra... View article Going Green View article The Council are proposing to install 236 solar photovoltaic panels on the roof of Millmead.  Each of thses cells at maximum power can produce circa 300W of power so about 70Kw. A significant amount of power, although not 70Kw , will be generated... View article Electric Buses become more viable with solid state batteries View article Lithium-ion battery technology, as used in most electric vehicles, has made impressive gains over the years. Today's cells are cheaper than they have ever been, but lithium-ion still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of energy density compared ... View article

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