Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Showcasing local food and produce

Like so many people I was out about enjoying our beautiful county over the Easter period and on Saturday morning I visited the Great Little Farmers’ Market in Goring Road, Worthing.

This Farmers’ Market was the idea of a couple of individuals from the local business community who were looking to attract more people to shop and support the retailers in Goring Road.

Supported by the local County Councillor, Paul High, and the Borough Council and with some funding from the West Sussex County Local Committee Grants the idea came to fruition and Great Little Farmers’ Market Goring Road was successfully launched in March this year with lots of support from the community. It meets on the first Saturday of the month and already seems to be very popular if the appreciative comments I overheard from people who were out and about are anything to go by!

The location works well with the wide pavements providing space for people to browse and shop at the stalls while still leaving enough space for pushchairs and disability scooters so it was a well spotted opportunity.

To me this is a fine example of the community identifying a need and an opportunity and working with the Borough and County Councils to make the idea a reality – very much along the lines of ‘helping people to help themselves’.

I am a big fan of Farmers’ Markets as they are such a good way to showcase local food and produce and we have around 20 across West Sussex doing exactly that. For many small artisan food producers it is the best way of building their business and often establishing a regular clientele which is so important when starting out in business.

Many of the local shops in the Goring Road area were also benefiting from extra customers by offering special deals to people shopping at the Farmers’ Market. Another example of what is being done by local businesses to attract shoppers and another reason why we should do all we can to support them.

West Sussex produces some terrific food and has strong agricultural and horticultural businesses which are all very much part of our cultural heritage. So across the food sector there is so much to celebrate and enjoy in West Sussex.

If you love all things local you’ll enjoy reading our Taste West Sussex Magazine. The next edition will be out in Mid-May.

Best wishes,



Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Recycling has just got a whole lot easier

It’s no secret that I care a great deal about the environment and like so many other residents across the county I recycle wherever I can. The recycling bins have, I am pleased to say, become very well used over the years. The result being that our recycling rate is now just over 41%, but there is a national target of 50% recycling by 2020, so more has to be done.

One comment that I often receive when I am out and about is ‘why can’t we recycle pots, tubs and trays’, and I understand this frustration. In West Sussex we wanted to be sure there were secure markets available for any plastics we collected and that we can be certain those plastics will be recycled. So I’m really pleased to announce that from Wednesday 1 April, all West Sussex households will be able to recycle household plastic like pots, tubs and trays in their recycling bin.

Hopefully this will clear up any confusion over items that can be recycled and those that can’t. By opening up recycling to more plastic items, it will be a lot easier for everyone.

So from 1 April, all those yogurt pots, cream pots, ready meal trays, ice cream tubs and fruit and vegetable trays can go straight in the recycling bin – along with paper, bottles, tins and jars, making life a little simpler and easier.

This is good news for West Sussex for a number of reasons. With this change, recycling levels should see an increase of around 4,000 tonnes a year. This should push our recycling levels as a county to just over 42%, so getting a little nearer to the 2020 target, and will mean 4,000 less tonnes of items going to landfill.

And from a financial point of view it makes sense. Waste disposal is expensive and it is far more cost effective to send materials for sorting and then on for recycling than it is to dispose of rubbish to landfill. We will see a reduction in landfill tax payments, currently these stand at £82 per tonne of waste delivered to landfill. In these tight financial times any saving is to be welcomed.

By making plastics easier to recycle for residents, we hope everyone will be encouraged to recycle more. Increased quantities of good quality recycling conserves valuable resources, provides better value for money than disposal and also has a much lower carbon footprint than other forms of waste treatment and disposal. The better the quality of the materials collected, then the better value for money the service provides. That’s why it’s so important to have recycling clean, dry and loose in your bins.

But just as a reminder, there are some plastics which cannot be recycled. We’re not able to accept garden plastics such as seed trays or plant pots, plastic bottle tops or plastic bags. And please also make sure that all recycled items are clean, dry and loose when you put them in your recycling bin.

You can find out more about the changes and what items can or can’t be recycled at the Recycle for West Sussex website.

Best wishes,