Mitcham residents go big on low carbon Green Sunday

The Wandle Valley Low Carbon Zone put on a Big Green Sunday show this weekend (15 August) for residents living in the borough’s first Low Carbon Zone – Phipps Bridge and Cherry Tree estates in Mitcham.

Organised by Low Carbon Zone partners, Merton Council, Groundwork London and Sustainable Merton, the event had a cycle theme, encouraging residents to convert from petrol power to pedal power. National cycle organisation Cycle Experience brought along a variety of bikes for residents to try out. They also offered bike training and talked to residents about the health and environmental benefits of cycling. Dr Bike was also there to fix any cycles in need of some tender loving care.

Merton Council and Transport for London (TfL) funding has enabled the council to set up its own U Can Cycle Challenge and invest in 60 bicycles. Visitors to Big Green Sunday were able to have a go on a bike and then register their interest to take part in the U Can Cycle Challenge special free bike loan scheme to start in the autumn.

Big Green Sunday also offered residents in Merton’s Low Carbon Zone the opportunity to find out more about how to save cash and the climate by cutting their energy consumption at home. Groundwork London’s Green Doctors were on hand providing advice on energy efficiency at home, recycling, composting and water use. They prescribed handy tips for making homes more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run, which add up to make a huge difference to the environment.

Younger residents enjoyed the free bouncy castle and face painting. DJ and all round entertainer John Stanley from Adventures Entertainments played all the tunes as residents enjoyed Sustainable Merton’s gardening zone and visited the council’s recycling road show.

Merton Council deputy leader Councillor Mark Betteridge said: “Big Green Sunday is a great example of organisations working in partnership with the common goal of helping residents cut their fuel bills and transport costs, while being environmentally friendly and keeping fit. A big part of getting people out of the car and onto a bike is building their confidence so they feel happy in the saddle. We regularly work with Cycle Experience and usually a significant number of those who have a go at events like this go out and buy themselves a bike.”

Carla Diego of Groundwork London said: “Our Green Doctors have been able to issue even more prescriptions, visiting residents of the Wandle Valley Low Carbon Zone and enabling them to understand how basic energy efficiency measures can help them save money whilst reducing carbon emissions. Our free Green Doctor service can provide energy saving devices like draught proofing and refer home owners to access funding for improvements such as loft insulation. Today we have offered step by step advice on what you can do at home to save the pennies and watch your bills drop, simple changes like turning down the temperature on the washing machine to 30ºC, boiling only the water you need when making a cup of tea and stopping any draughts around the home. “

Sustainable Merton’s Tom Walsh said: “Merton is now home to part of the new Barclays Cycle Superhighway connecting the borough to the City, providing cyclists with a safe, fast, direct route into central London. There is a massive movement to get people cycling now and we want to help Merton’s residents be part of that. It’s a great way to travel and keep fit, and what’s more, there is no cost to the environment.”

Find out more about the Wandle Valley Low Carbon Zone: http://www.merton.gov.uk/wvlcz

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