The Citizen Interest Board is helping to implement a Milton Keynes Council strategy on water sustainability that has been designed as the result of citizen-engagement. Post your ideas and interest in joining in the comments area below.
Engaging with Milton Keynes (MK) citizens has always been central to MK Council’s (MKC) work to improve our city but this is now crucial if we’re going to work together to achieve the aims of the 2019 – 2050 Sustainability Strategy.
This is precisely why the council is conducting research like its recent Energy & Environment Survey – inviting MK citizens to share their concerns and ideas for how our city can use energy and water more efficiently.
The Citizen Interest Board takes this idea of giving citizens a voice to help guide future MK plans even further…
In a move towards a more direct form of democracy in which citizens provide and input, a Citizen Interest Board represents a community-based method of local decision making.
Board members represent a group of citizens who are apolitical and have no financial interest in the project or policy under discussion.
Their role is to represent MK citizens in overseeing the implementation of strategy, project or plan related to how MKC can help to reduce water consumption in MK in ways that citizens will want to use.
Being on the Citizen Interest Board requires you to be actively engaged with the council on the issue of water conservation and have a voice that works in the public interest.
The reward for this direct involvement is that members of the Citizens Interest Board oversee the development and implementation of the specific water conservation policy that they have helped to drive from the local community.
In conjunction with the EU-funded POWER project that focuses on reducing water consumption, we asked for citizens’ ideas for how to encourage more efficient use of water in Milton Keynes.
To remain transparent and open to the public, as many as possible of the discussions and suggestions will be communicated using this Milton Keynes water community platform.
Everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts and policy ideas in the comments area below.
The aim is to create systems that citizens will want to use so please consider how the planning system, landscaping and changing behaviours can help address the question of how we can reduce water consumption in MK.
The principal task of the Citizen Interest Board is to ensure the implementation of a strategy that has been designed as the result of citizen-engagement initiatives.
The Board must act in a politically neutral manner and must ensure that a change in local government due to elections does not affect an agreed policy or project that is already under way. This ensures that a new administration does not abandon or renege on an agreed policy or strategy.
Members need to:
- participate in the preparation of a specific Council policy.
- communicate suggestions, progress updates, discussion points using the MK Community Water Platform.
- be willing to act as the policy watchdog when the policy has been approved by the Milton Keynes Cabinet.
- receive guidance in how to observe the progress of the policy in question and to ensure they are ready to interact with other citizens, the town hall, the professional sector and the local press.
be responsible for maintaining public awareness concerning the policy in question and to further inform, involve and encourage all citizens to understand the importance of the initiative in a more global strategic context.
be responsible for encouraging and participating in the post-implementation analysis of the policy. It should suggest further options and form the basis for the subsequent citizen-engagement activities for subsequent proposals.
The idea is to collect policy ideas here in the comments area of this page. Citizens are then encouraged to comment on each other’s posts and share opinions about what they think will and won’t work.
The POWER water community platform provides the forum for communication and participation throughout the process to aid the next step as we refine the ideas with more input from members of the community. This builds the consideration of each idea so that they become more well thought out.
As we go through the process and have meetings to further refine the ideas, the final stage is for citizens to vote on their favourites so that we end up with three top ideas that can be developed into formal proposals to put forward to the council cabinet.
The Citizens Interest Board is responsible for helping MKC to create a long-term roadmap for how the new policy will be shaped. They have a unique position of overseeing the development so that the active contribution of citizens is incorporated alongside those of research and private sector representatives. This ensures that the Citizen Interest Board is involved from start to finish and drives the implementation of the community’s desired new sustainability policy.
The first Citizen Interest Board meeting was on the 24th September 2019 at the Milton Keynes Council Civic Offices.
If you live or work in Milton Keynes and would like to shape a new community-driven sustainability policy that helps the city to reduce water consumption, please register on this DSP and submit your comments and ideas.
At the Citizens Interest Board meeting on the 24th September three pathways were considered:
- Awareness campaigns
- Provision of water saving devices
- Stricter new build policies for incorporating water saving fittings
The Board discussed each possibility and whilst all had their value, it was decided that creating new guidelines for buildings would be the most effective way to reduce water consumption in Milton Keynes.
The suggestions proposed in the comments were considered in detail at the next meeting on 7th October.
We are open to ideas and comments so please have your say by registering and leaving comments.
We had another productive meeting on the 7th October. New ideas for saving water have been identified by the group and these will be presented to the planning team for taking forward into MKC policy for new build and refurbishment projects.
The next steps are:
- Investigate where water is wasted. For instance up to 15 litres a day are wasted running water until it is hot.
- Find ways to work with developers to discuss what water saving measures are suitable for MK geology and topography. This will include incorporating reed beds to assist with the increasing flash floods. Whilst MK has good sustainable drainage, long periods of rainfall are increasing the risk of flooding.
- We will be exploring working with local universities on theories to research so the data and conclusions can guide new policies in MK.
- New build and refurbishment projects: ensure the hot water source is less than 6 meters from taps.
- Circular economy: explore creative ways to reduce wasting water such as grey water and rain water recycling.
- Slowing down the flow rate to reduce wasting water.
Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.
We will continue to update this page with news.
The suggestions have been passed up the line for consideration of a new planning policy.
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In readiness for the next meeting may I suggest us having some guidance on who is most likely to take our suggestion forward. We have many suggestions that are industry wide that will take years to ...
Competition could be run for MK households, divided into separate categories by the number of bedrooms. To compete to use as little water as possible (using water metering as a check) over a period of...
How can local industries embrace efficiency on water resources? Reusing water in industry, wastewater can be reused within a business itself, or between several businesses,(farms, parks, golf courses...
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Peter Hughes30 September 2019 - 1:6 PM In readiness for the next meeting may I suggest us having some guidance on who is most likely to take our suggestion forward. We have many suggestions that are industry wide that will take years to develop, if at all whereas with our local contacts we may be able to get acceptance more readily
Competition to encourage water saving practices with the best practices promoted
Greg F26 September 2019 - 9:19 PM Competition could be run for MK households, divided into separate categories by the number of bedrooms. To compete to use as little water as possible (using water metering as a check) over a period of time (say 1 month). The winners could win some water-saving equipment or vouchers of some description and a media piece could be produced about the practical steps that the winners took to practically save on water use in the home.
Carmen Lamberti24 September 2019 - 5:21 PM How can local industries embrace efficiency on water resources? Reusing water in industry, wastewater can be reused within a business itself, or between several businesses,(farms, parks, golf courses etc, can irrigate with treated effluent rather than potable water. Rainwater harvesting, can help alleviate demand on the public water supply while playing an important part in surface water management (Property developers, owners as well as land managers can make a positive difference here.
New builds designed with water saving in mind
Everydrop24 September 2019 - 4:0 PM Water (and energy) saving fittings should be incorporated into all new build developments and these fittings/devices should also be provided to MK citizens at a heavily reduced price for them to retro-fit their houses
Reducing surface water evaporation
Greg F23 September 2019 - 10:53 PM As the temperatures rise this will result in increases in levels of surface water evaporation from lakes and rivers in and around MK. This will add further to the problems of water shortages. Consider planting trees on the banks of freshwater bodies to provide some shade and to reduce water temperatures and to help to reduce rates of evaporation. (See keeping rivers cool project) Consider locating floating solar farms on freshwater lakes around MK to help reduce evaporation rates while simultaneously generating clean, renewable electricity. (See Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Heathrow)
Peter Hughes23 September 2019 - 6:40 AM Design taps with step changes so that flow matches requirements Fit pressure regulators to outlets where high pressure is unnecessary Hot taps are no more than six feet from heat source Collect ground water for grey water use where possible
Sustainable Water Management
Ian Byrne20 September 2019 - 11:34 AM Access to water butts (and the things that can link them to drainpipes). MK homes have a lot of gardens, and could almost certainly reduce the use of mains water for garden maintenance.