A WHARFEDALE village has set up an environmental group to formulate a plan to protect and enhance its natural environment and surrounding countryside for future generations.

As well as protecting the local environment for the enjoyment and wellbeing of both residents and visitors, Addingham Environmental Group, set up under the auspices of Addingham Civic Society, also aims to place global and national concerns over climate change and biodiversity loss into a local context, encouraging and helping residents make a transition towards a more sustainable life-style.

More than 50 local volunteers have already pledged their support for the group, which is being led by Professor Rick Battarbee, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Change at University College London, who lives in Addingham.

Professor Battarbee said: "Our first objective is to raise awareness of the environmental challenges we face globally and locally and the associated need within a generation to move towards a more sustainable life-style than we currently enjoy.

"Our intention, therefore is to engage with every family and every organisation in the village to explore how together we might move towards that goal."

The group has already set up links with Addingham Parish Council, the village primary school, St Peter's Church and other local clubs and societies and several initiatives are underway, with the help of organisations such as the Wharfedale Naturalists Society and the West Yorkshire Ecology Service.

The group is informing the Parish Council's Neighbourhood Plan and working closely with the Civic Society's planning group as they tackle the many challenges being faced with Bradford Council's plans for housing in the area.

A wildflower project is being developed to encourage wild-flower rich grasslands alongside roadside verges and in village green spaces. The group has joined forces with the Garden Friends and is in consultation with the Parish Council on ways to take the initiative forwards at several sites within the village and leaflets will be distributed to local residents to explain why village green space will be managed differently in future.

Discussions are underway with the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust about the possibility of using Addingham and its becks as a case study in the Wharfedale Catchment Management Plan, an initiative designed to improve wildlife habitat along the becks, as well to contribute to flood control.

On the issue of climate change the group is seeking ways to reduce the village’s carbon footprint. A census of properties with rooftop solar panels has taken place and a village survey is planned in the near future to discover residents’ attitudes to green energy.

A central feature of the group’s work is the launching and in, some cases, re-launching of walks in the village. A walk called the The Sailor and the South Field, originally designed as a heritage walk by Arnold Pacey in 1995 has now been finalised and will soon be available as a leaflet available from village shops. Alison Armstrong’s booklet of Country Walks around Addingham, published in 1998 by the Civic Society is being updated and The Millstones Walk that charts a course from the village centre to Addingham Edge will soon be ready.

A Village Environment Day will take place on Saturday, May 13 to include activities for families in the Memorial Hall in the morning and a guided walk in the afternoon.

Jim Robinson, chairman of Addingham Civic Society added: "This is a big project and one that requires support and co-operation from many people in our community. So far we are very encouraged by the response and offers of help."

Anyone who would like to learn more about the project can contact Mr Robinson on email at: chairman@addinghamcivicsociety.co.uk