Healthier lifestyles, more green spaces and more connected communities - these are just some of the outcomes that the Thame Green Living Plan is aiming to achieve for the Thame community.
Adopted unanimously by Thame Town Council in July 2020, the Green Living Plan is a ten-year plan for a cleaner, greener Thame. It has been developed to protect and enhance quality of life for everyone locally in the things that really matter – our air, our water, our overall well-being and the natural world that surrounds us. It has benefited from the contributions of many individuals and local groups. While concentrating on Thame, the plan explicitly recognises the vital importance of the town’s links with its surrounding communities and countryside.
Actions and projects
The plan recommends a series of actions and projects across five focus areas – green spaces and biodiversity, clean air, water, energy and waste - that involve and benefit the whole community. The actions can be taken by individuals, businesses and community groups, plus longer-term infrastructure changes are included. And all with the support of a new community organisation, proposed to be called Thame Green Living (TGL).
One of the projects that is already getting off the ground is working with Thame Town Council to improve signage and information boards on existing – and new – walking and cycling routes around the town and extending this more widely. The aim is also to establish ‘walking buses’ to schools to help reduce air pollution and boost children’s health.
Another project being explored is how to help households improve their energy efficiency. TGL will be encouraging Thame homeowners to make use of the just launched Green Home Grants Scheme to help reduce household energy bills – simply improving insulation can have a huge benefit for both the pocket and the environment. And TGL are looking to support a ‘Solar Streets’ project initiative in Thame very soon, working with a renewable energy supplier and installer, to offer residents solar PV panels at bulk buy prices.
Charles Boundy, who led the development of the plan through RSA Thame Group, is clear:
“This plan is just the start. Without everyone in Thame getting involved, it will remain simply a set of ideas on paper. But by working together we can make the changes we need. Whether you’re a resident, business, part of the council or community group, we’ve set out three easy steps that everyone can take straight away.”
Here are those three steps:
STEP 2: Make a pledge – whether you’re an individual or a business, declare your commitment to the actions within the plan on the TGL website, where you’ll find lots of ideas for simple things you can do that have a positive impact.
STEP 3: Volunteer – volunteers are vital to the success of the plan, and there is something for everyone to get involved with from tree planting to desktop research. Sign up on the website!
Charles continues: “Going forward, we have seen from other community schemes how local, personal and community efforts and success will inspire others to take action. People often respond to cues from others before they change their behaviour, and so we urge everyone to get involved!”
About the RSA Thame Group
The RSA Thame Group, also known as Thame Green Living, has a core steering group of about 8-10 volunteers. It was formed over six years ago under the aegis of the worldwide RSA (https://www.thersa.org). The RSA is the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, founded in 1754. It is a registered charity committed to finding innovative, creative and practical solutions to today’s social challenges.
The RSA Thame Group agreed terms of reference with Thame Town Council to act as honorary consultants in developing a Green Living Plan for the town. This follows a recommendation of the Thame Neighbourhood Plan – though there was no precedent as to what a Green Living Plan would contain or look like. As far as we know no other community in the UK has such a plan.
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