How we started and where we are now
In February 2019 Wiltshire Council acknowledged that there was a climate emergency and set themselves a target to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030. In order to ensure that Wiltshire council was taking this commitment seriously a meeting of over 20 interest groups from across Wiltshire came together in January to make plans for an event to mark the first anniversary. The WCA was formed!
On 25th February 2020 we held a rally outside County Hall in Trowbridge and this has led to an understanding that we are so much stronger when working together.
We now have several active Topic Groups including Energy, Transport, Land Use and Business Engagement. We organize speakers and workshops, responses to consultations and planning applications, site visits and more. We also use our monthly all members meetigs, website and social media to help share member group activities across the county.
We are still growing and welcome new members, partners and people who can help with our organization and administration, which could include some fundraising for a paid organiser.
A bit about WCA's steering group
Soon after the first rally the Covid-19 lockdown started but this did not put us off. We spent the time putting together a constitution and recruited a steering group, which formed several Topic Groups. We have been meeting regularly online using Zoom and had two AGMs.
We now plan to have a rotating chair for 6 months, with a co-chair who takes over for the following 6 months. People get more and less involved as their schedule allows, but below are some of the key people involved with our steering group. Everyone is involved in the general running of the alliance, but key roles are listed below.
Andrew Nicolson, Chair, Transport TG Lead
"Moving to Wiltshire 20 years ago from Bath where I co-founded CycleBath and first proposed the Two Tunnels Greenway, I’ve worked with CPRE, CyclingUK and Campaign for Better Transport. I headed a 1990s anti-road campaign that pioneered fundraising, public support and legal challenge tactics. I’ve given expert Public Inquiry evidence including computer modelling. I’m now an experienced full-time transport, environment and climate activist.
I’m a Bradford-on-Avon XR supporter, specialising in using Freedom of Information (FOI) to get Wiltshire Council etc. to disclose intentions on climate, new roads and greenfield housing and commercial development; I’m leading a young peoples' public art project too. I’d like WCA to develop as umbrella for members to tackle Wiltshire and town councils, and central government, head-on where it matters for Climate Change: juggernaut policies that need determined, detailed challenges to reverse. I offer FOI and legal expertise, creativity and unwavering commitment."
Bill Jarvis, founding Chair, Land Use TG Lead
Bill is a Civil Engineer and has a broad appreciation of developing new and innovative ideas that can deliver benefits to the community and the environment.
Over the last 8 years he has been involved in environmental actions, starting with the anti fracking movement, particularly Keep Wiltshire Frack Free and Preston New Road on the Fylde. He joined XR in October 2018 and was an outreach co-ordinator for XR Frome before, as a Wiltshire resident, being instrumental in organising the push by residents to get Wiltshire to acknowledge a Climate Emergency.
Since then, with a small group of activists, he has been pressing the Council to action, attending many Council meetings, asking questions and meeting with their Climate Change team, pushing them to deliver their 2030 goals. At the end of 2019 he sparked the January meeting that set up WCA and the February anniversary protests.
Adam Walton, treasurer, Energy TG lead
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Adam has been active on environmental issues for over 40 years, having started a local branch of the Ecology Party (forerunner of the Green Party) as a teenager in the late1970s. He is one of the founders of Corsham Climate Action, and a founding director of Bath and West Community Energy. He is a retired management consultant with experience in strategy, planning and organisational change.
Dr Nick Murry FIEMA, Sustainable Development TG lead
Nick works as a sustainability and climate change consultant and part-time university lecturer in environmental management. His professional experience includes advising organisations on sustainability strategy, helping them embed sustainability in their business and supply chains, and recently authoring a sustainability guide for local businesses. He has worked both in the UK and internationally, including as a consultant to the UN, EU, World Bank, various international institutions and NGOs.
Nick is a long-standing campaigner and advocate for the environment, and responsible for events such as Chippenham’s Sustainability Day and Sustainable Business Conference and for bringing the motion for Chippenham Town Council’s Climate Emergency declaration. He is also a Wiltshire Councillor and serves on its Environment Select Committee and Climate Emergency Task Group. He is a Trustee of Avon Needs Trees, Chair of the Chippenham Cycle Network Development Group and Chair of Zero Chippenham, a non-for-profit organisation helping to deliver climate change solutions locally.
Christian Lange, founding treasurer
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Christian retired from Wiltshire Police in 2016 having completed 25 years service. His last posting was as Area Inspector in charge of policing in the Amesbury Community Area. Christian now runs a sound, lighting and events company which he set up several years ago. He provided much of the infrastructure for the demonstration on 25th February on the anniversary of Wiltshire Council climate emergency declaration. Christian has always been interested in environmental issues but has only recently started to become an activist due to the increasing reality that authorities are ignoring the real and catastrophic dangers of climate change.
Chris's business keeps him very busy over the summer months but he contributes wholeheartedly to the organisation in the winter and any key events in summer too.
Julian Jones, Swindon link, IT/Website
email@example.com 07809 122474
Julian has a science background and his career has been in electronic design and software engineering in the semiconductor industry. Originally from rural North Wiltshire, he worked in Swindon, Reading and Bristol before returning to Swindon. Sustainability has always seemed common sense to him and he has campaigned with Friends of the Earth local groups, raising awareness with public and politicians.
Julian has broad interests in energy, buildings and planning, transport and cycling, food and agriculture, and how the economy can support sustainability and greater wellbeing for all into the future whilst urgently addressing the climate and nature crises we face. He is currently back in Swindon and coordinating the Swindon Climate Action Network. SCAN liaises with other Swindon environmental groups, convening meetings with MPs and council and public events.
Keith Freegard, Business Engagement TG
Keith joined the steering group in March 2022 and is working to pull together information and events to accelerate business engagement.
Keith has been an active player in the UK waste & recycling industry for the past 25 years. During that time, he co-managed Axion Recycling Ltd, a leading circular economy business making high-quality plastics, aggregates and alternative fuels from recovered ELV (cars) & WEEE (electricals) waste materials.
His former roles include Vice Chairman of the British Plastic Federation’s Recycling Group and non-Executive Director of OPRL – the UK’s on-pack recycling label scheme. Before Brexit, he worked as an Expert Plastics Advisor to the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) and has recently help re-write technical guidelines for End-of-Life waste plastics treatments for the U.N. Basel Convention.
Since retiring from full-time work in July 2021, Keith has focussed his efforts on solving the climate crisis on a volunteer basis! In February 2022 Keith took on the WCA Lead role for Business Engagement across Wiltshire, working to drive a faster transition to a low-carbon future for organisations in the region.
Previous steering group members, still around
Eva McHugh, previous Secretary
Eva started her journey into environmental activism with Extinction Rebellion Salisbury, taking part in various protests including the October Rebellion and local Student Strikes. After finding a strong sense of community and getting to meet other local, like-minded individuals Eva has decided to broaden her attention to include a more solution-based movement and is now co-chair of Salisbury Transition City. Eva was heavily involved with the planning and preparation of the action in Trowbridge on 25th Feb 2020 putting to good use her previous work experience in project planning.
Poppy Taylor, Youth Coordinator, Youth Group
Poppy joined WCA after taking part in the first workshop with Wiltshire Council back in August. She was inspired by the event but surprised by the lack of young participants and decided to join the steering group to help address this. Poppy first became involved in environmental activism during her Biology degree and has experience campaigning on issues such as single-use plastics and fast fashion. She is currently studying for an MSc in Sustainability and in her spare time, enjoys running a blog about sustainable living. She is particularly interested in inter-sectional issues and believes in giving marginalised groups - including young people - a voice on climate change.
Carys Richards, Youth Group; Social Media
Carys joined WCA in September 2020 when she moved back to Wiltshire after finishing her degree in Geography and Sustainable Development. She has always been concerned about environmental issues, but became involved in local activism after she saw the negative impact of local politics on her favourite green spaces.
Carys is particularly excited to help establish the youth group so that young people in Wiltshire know what is happening in their local environment, have a platform to act and can find support within a like-minded community. She is currently studying for an MSc in Environment, Politics and Society, and in her spare time is getting to re-discover her local walking routes and finding new ways to be a better activist.
Tess Gorman, Youth Group; Social Media
Tess joined WCA in January 2021 on her year out between graduating from university and starting her graduate job, after first hearing about the organisation through the youth group. She has always been passionate about protecting the environment and committed to making individual lifestyle changes to do so. But after being frustrated with the lack of action by those that hold power, she leveraged her time off to get involved in driving change in Wiltshire. Due to meeting various like-minded people and being able to recognise tangible change WCA is driving, Tess has decided to continue with her involvement, alongside starting her full-time job.
Brig Oubridge, Waste and Recycling TG lead
Brig has been an active campaigner on environmental and climate issues for over 40 years. He is a member of Salisbury Extinction Rebellion, Salisbury Transition City, and Salisbury Green Party. Brig was one of the group who helped establish the Wiltshire Climate Alliance, and organised and compered the outdoor part of the action on February 25th on the anniversary of Wiltshire Council's climate emergency declaration, for which he also produced the leaflets.
Graham Martin, Area Boards TG lead
Graham has been actively involved with WCA and Sustainable Devizes for a year but having studied geography for his first degree there has always been a close affinity for the environment. Army service afforded opportunities for close contact with the natural world when on exercise in Kenya, Brunei and Australia. Mid-career he trained in computing and on leaving the Army worked for a US tech corporation at senior management level.
Finding working for a large corporation a chastening experience for the last 4 years of working life he was an independent consultant. On retiring puzzled and frustrated by the lack of local government action and the indifference of communities to climate change led Graham to study for a MSc in Sustainability and Behaviour Change (ongoing) with the Centre of Alternative Technology. He hopes that his wide experience and recently gained sustainability knowledge can contribute to WCA.
Tony Currivan, Retrofit project
Tony joined the steering group in March 2022 and is working to pull together information and events to accelerate energy efficient retrofit of buildings.
Tony Currivan trained as an architect and urban planner, but has recently expanded his horizons as a project manager and regenerative development consultant/enabler. Since qualifying as a Registered Architect, he has worked in a range of architecture offices in the private and public sectors in London, Bristol, Gloucester and Swindon.
He established and ran his own architecture practice for 10 years pioneering sustainable building design and was a key committee member of Association for Environment Conscious Building running conferences, writing articles and teaching leading edge green design. Ever keen to learn, Tony was awarded a Masters in Urban Planning with a focus on sustainability at Oxford Brookes University in 2013 and has just graduated from the Regenesis course on Regenerative Design and Development.
Based in Clyffe Pypard in North Wiltshire, he has been increasingly drawn into local community and environmental initiatives that re-engage people with the natural world, their place, their community and ultimately the planet.
Julie Strawson, communications
With a passion for learning about the changes needed to live sustainably in our climate challenged world, Julie Strawson, a Wiltshire resident for 27 years, brings qualified marketing and communications expertise to the WCA Steering Group.
Julie founded the Local Environment Action Friends in the Wylye Valley and became a group member of WCA in 2021. With a background in growing start-up and SME companies and volunteer organisations she understands the need to collaborate and amplify group work for a stronger voice together.
As a freelance marketing consultant Julie leads projects relating to brand strategy, communications, product marketing and service design. She has experience in the events, technology, design, government and education sectors.