How green is our county?

We are so lucky to live in one of the most beautiful counties in the UK.

Herefordshire – resting along the border of Wales, with its rolling hills, stunning landscapes, incredible wildlife and award-winning food producers – has tourists returning year after year to enjoy everything the county has to offer. However, as highlighted through this week’s Earth Day campaign, with the environment almost at breaking point, this can only happen if we commit together to change our habits to secure this future. David Attenborough once quoted: “The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us.

The Telegraph reported earlier that the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), which outlines the most eco-friendly countries across the globe, ranks the UK 4th behind Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland – so we’re not doing too badly on the global stage. This is also good news for tourism, as a country’s eco-credentials is a growing concern for many holidaymakers, who are keen to align their travel plans with their life values.

Alongside the global perspective, locally, in Ross-on-Wye, there are armies of volunteers doing their bit to keep our beautiful countryside as clean and sustainable as possible. From recycling paper and plastics, to planting trees; from volunteers dedicated to looking after our marine and wildlife, to on-the-ground litter picking crews.

Ross Community Litter Clean Up Crew (RCLCUC), set up in 2018 by Jilly Scamell, Anne Taylor and Chris Bartrum, now has around 50 volunteers who regularly clean the streets and surrounding countryside. In the last couple of years, they have collected over 2,210 bags of litter which are left at official collection points in and around the town. Jilly commented: “We love the fact that the group is for our community and are constantly amazed by the amount of volunteers that have got involved especially since March last year. After all there is ‘No Planet B’.  As we all are able to enjoy our amazing countryside especially during such difficult times we all need to ensure that we look after it. Due to regulations the litter crew are not permitted to take waste home and recycle which is sad as there is lots of waste that could easily be recycled if everyone took their rubbish home with them.  That’s the dream. You’re never too old or too young to get involved and if you want to find out more then join the Facebook page or message me for further details on 07779 254091”.

Elsewhere in Ross-on-Wye and Herefordshire, there are huge numbers of eco-friendly organisations campaigning hard for a greener world: groups such as Enviroability, the Zero Waste Food Hub, the Marine Conservation Society, Herefordshire Green Network and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust to name but a few. A new initiative aimed at parish councils and individuals, is The Great Collaboration, an interactive online platform which will track and capture information about the carbon reduction actions that individuals, business, community groups and schools in the local community are taking and planning.

As we slowly recover from the pandemic, it is so encouraging to see our local volunteers and communities getting behind these initiatives which will help our countryside to survive, become more resilient and provide a sustainable environment for generations to come – and allow tourists to continue to enjoy what we are so fortunate enough to have right on our doorstep.