A WAR on plastic pollution and a village hedgehog census are just two of the aims of Addingham Environment Group in 2018.

Set up in 2016 the village group is now 100-people strong and enjoyed a successful 2017 with volunteers helping to littler pick, tackle invasive Himalayan balsam, rake grass and plant wildflower seed.

They also forged links with other groups in the village, enjoyed an Environment Day, set up a number of long-term projects on biodiversity recording, on wildflowers and pollinators and the village becks (the 4Becks Project) and contributed to the production of the Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan.

Professor Rick Battarbee, who heads Addingham Environment Group, has now set out its ambitions for 2018. Top of the list is a war on plastic pollution.

Prof Battarbee said: "We want to create a team of volunteer litter-pickers to patrol our side streets, paths and open spaces (helping village lengthsman Richard Mulligan), and start a campaign in the village to encourage less plastic use and more re-cycling. Plastic pollution is not just in the ocean – it’s everywhere!"

A decline in hedgehog populations means they are now quite rare in the village. The group wants to find out where they do live and what can be done to help them. This project will be led by the First Addingham Brownies co-ordinated by Gill Moon, who wants to hear about any sighting when the hedgehogs emerge from hibernation.

Other projects include: the elimination of Himalayan balsam from the parish; biodiversity recording; improving Addingham's greenspaces; sowing seeds to encourage wildflowers and attracting bees at several plots including Old Station Way, several plots in Memorial Close and the Skipton Road bank near the bypass.

The group will continue with the 4Becks project with stewards patrolling becks looking for litter, blocked culverts, and pollution sources as well as recording plant and animal life in and around the water.

The group will be looking at how to reduce carbon emissions in the village and volunteers interested in energy matters are urgently needed to help develop a village strategy.

The group's Environment Day in 2018 will take place on June 30 when there will be displays and activities in the morning in the Memorial Hall and a guided environment walk in the afternoon.

Prof Battarbee said: "As our activities grow we will need to bring some more structure into our volunteering. Work can be done of course on any day of the week, but we are thinking about establishing Saturday mornings (between 10am and 1pm) as our main weekly focus, followed perhaps on some days by a lunchtime soup and sandwich seminar (1-2pm). These could be used to explain what we are doing to the wider village community."

He added: "None of these plans is fixed in stone. Please let me or one of our committee know if you would like to see us make changes, and please pass this message on to friends and neighbours and encourage them to join. Tell them that nature volunteering is good for their well-being and mental health."

To find out more follow Addingham Environment Group on Facebook and Twitter and visit the website http://environment.addingham.info/