As a young person really interested in sustainability, I was excited to interview Dr Angela Dunford, Wantage’s Deputy Town Mayor and Chairman of the Climate Emergency Sub-committee.


Wantage, though a peaceful little town, has become increasingly forward-thinking and a true role model for the future. This little community has many organisations, linked together by the sub-committee. Since 2019, the committee has funded several Sustainable Wantage projects to create thriving environments and worked with the Active Travel Group to promote walking and cycling over car usage. Wantage is surrounded by serene and beautiful nature so the possibility of something threatening this place has motivated many to do their part.


So far, lots has been achieved! The Vale District Council has reduced the use of herbicides and pesticides (which reduce biodiversity), reduced mowing of the verges, and the town council has calculated their own carbon footprints so “we can improve together”. Angela is keen for even more community involvement, especially from younger people and schools, as the next generation is the future. She encourages anyone to get involved! She feels most proud of the councils funding of Sustainable Wantage reuse, repair, recycle project, diversity mapping and tree/hedge planting as well as the work the Active Travel group are carrying out to improve signage for walking and cycling routes around Wantage: and wellbeing is also linked to sustainable living. Wantage is clearly happily ready for this change to sustainability, and you can keep up to date by reading the sub-committee’s action plan (see link below) and Oxfordshire councils neighbourhood plans.


Now, you may be thinking “but what can I do to help?”. Well, as Angela says, “We can all do something”, even if it’s just something small. If you’re feeling extra creative and confident, you can send a donation request to the council for a climate-related activity. For example, anyone can plant a tree in memory of the Queen (an idea inspired by the “plant a tree for jubilee”). Or if you’re still unsure, just take a look at the simple change that David Attenborough evoked, when he taught the damage that plastic straws have on oceans, and now everyone has switched from plastic straws to paper straws. It’s really that easy!


Wantage is progressing to be a sustainable town, but we can all chip in and rethink our use of single-use plastic, walk that short journey, and could even suggest improvements to the council’s action plan. Angela says hopefully, “If we all act together, we can make a big difference”, and is consistently amazed at the “inspirational” commitment that people and put into Wantage.


So, I feel confident that , together, we can all make Wantage sustainable in the near future.


Let’s make this happen!!