Chiltern Society – Christmas letter from our Chief Officer

Dear Volunteers, Members and Friends,

As we start to put our Christmas decorations up, we’ve been thinking about how we can help local business recovery in early 2021, and about taking some positives from the imposed changes we had during 2020.

High up that list has been the spike in interest in the countryside, for which on the whole we are delighted. However, we are well aware it has come at a cost, with more people visiting there have been more issues for farmers and those already living and working in the countryside. In early January we will be letting Natural England know our thoughts on the Countryside Code, so when they update it in the Spring of 2021 it will work even better for us here in the Chilterns.

We have also talked at length about the problems facing the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector, and how we could help. We here at the Chiltern Society feel we have had to push and support local businesses more than ever. Our partners at the NFU Mutual Hemel Hempstead agreed, and added they were focussing on how they could provide additional support for Hospitality & Food & Drink, with reports already produced offering more help (see links below). I know Ian at the NFU Mutual’s Hemel Hempstead Office would be delighted to direct you in the right direction if you wanted to know more on the help they may be able to provide to your business, for more information please email

Whilst we have missed the face to face contact with our volunteers, members and partners, we have managed to keep in touch via video calls which has enabled us to continue as normal – a mid-point balance of the two going forward, would be great!

What has been noticeable is less traffic, which has been more than welcome, and we’re now wondering how we can encourage people to drive less and maintain some of that to reduce the demand on our transport system. Which leads me to thinking about our Cleaner Greener Chilterns conference in November, and our plans to campaign and take action on becoming one of the first regions in England to become a Carbon Neutral. Is that possible by 2025?

One of the strands we are looking at is to see how we rapidly create more space for wildlife by creating a new/improved Wildlife Belt somewhere in the Chilterns, a step change for biodiversity will hopefully mean a carbon sink too.

We have faced enormous challenges this year, and will probably continue to do so for some months ahead, but we will continue to seek comfort from our homes, communities, countryside and environment.  Thank you for your unfailing support, it is very much appreciated.

We would like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to all our volunteers, members and friends for your continued and valued support and wish you all a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Hopefully see you soon!

Tom (your faithful Chief Officer)

PS: check out our FacebookTwitter and Instagram feeds over the 12-days of Christmas, the team in the virtual office have some treats coming your way.