Freja spreading green message
After learning about the effects of plastic pollution during a school lesson, a ten-year-old started a campaign to help Morpeth become a more environmentally-friendly town.
And Freja Pedersen’s drive to spread her message has led to her giving a speech at a Morpeth Town Council meeting and speaking with businesses in the town.
With support from an expert, she has also led an assembly at her school to raise awareness among her peers.
The Year 6 pupil at Chantry Middle School studied the plastic waste issue as a citizenship topic.
She said: “I then came up with an idea to start a campaign asking shops in Morpeth if they would be willing to fill people’s empty water bottles with water for free to help them be re-used.
“It’s important that we reduce items such as plastic bottles being dumped. In Morpeth it’s not nice seeing them in the river as it’s bad for wildlife in the area.
“I got in touch with Jack Gebhard, who was Morpeth Mayor at the time, and it was great that he gave me the opportunity to speak at a town council meeting.
“I’ve since raised other issues with the council, such as asking it to provide town centre recycling bins.”
The council put her in touch with the Coca-Cola European Partners facility in Morpeth and as well as a tour of the premises, she was invited to an event to mark the tenth anniversary of the brand being in the town.
Morpeth operations director Paramjeet Pahdi said it was fantastic to see and hear her passion for protecting the environment and encouraging recycling, and Freja and her supportive family were delighted to read the company’s announcement earlier this week that its GLACÉAU Smartwater bottles, which are produced in Morpeth, will be made from 100 per cent recycled plastic by the end of the year.
Coun Gebhard also contacted Wendy Fail and using her expertise as a waste awareness co-ordinator for Groundwork North East and Cumbria, she helped Freja put together an assembly for fellow pupils at Chantry.
The green suggestions included using a lunch box and environmentally-friendly Hessian bags.
Action plan for climate change
An action plan setting out how Northumberland County Council will meet its ambitious new climate change targets should be in place by Christmas.
That was the pledge as the cabinet declared a climate emergency and vowed to half the authority’s carbon footprint by 2025 as well as making Northumberland carbon-neutral by 2030 at its meeting last week.
The local authority reduced its carbon emissions by a third between 2010 and 2018, but is now ramping up its efforts.
However, the administration is clear that practical actions are needed to make this more than just ‘warm words’ and the cabinet also agreed that the council ‘produces a comprehensive and costed action plan for the next three years that clearly demonstrates the initial phase of delivery’.
An expanded steering group for climate change, with representatives of a number of different organisations, will be responsible for coming up with these measures and Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member for the environment, said that the action plan will be completed by Christmas.
Speaking to the Herald before the meeting when asked about Freja Pedersen’s campaign, Morpeth’s Deputy Mayor David Bawn, also a county councillor, said the administration is taking the climate change issue ‘very seriously’.
He added: "We were very impressed with what Freja had to say and the town council will consider if there are things we can do to help within the council’s remit."