Plans published on Somerset’s Climate Emergency following public feedback
Draft plans have now been drawn up on how Somerset will tackle the changing climate in a brand-new Climate Emergency Strategy, developed by the five councils in Somerset. Earlier this year people in Somerset were invited to have their say about the global Climate Emergency and Somerset’s plans to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The key themes in Somerset’s Draft Climate Emergency Strategy are energy, transport, built environment, business and industry, natural environment, farming and food, water, waste and communications.
The Climate Emergency Strategy outlines what action will be taken under each theme. In addition, in the Summary Strategy, some actions are given on how everyone can contribute to Somerset becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Two surveys were carried out earlier this year for 11 to 18s and another for over 18s to help shape the draft plan.
A series of ‘have your say’ drop in events were held in each district area and a business summit where people found out how the five councils in Somerset are working together on their approach to the Climate Emergency and how they aim to reduce carbon emissions by 2030.
Over 5000 people took part in the surveys and drop in events. The five Portfolio Holders in each of the councils said:
“We would like to thank each and every one of you who gave up time to attend the local drop in events and complete the online survey to tell us what environment issues matter most to you. Your input has been invaluable in shaping the strategy.
“To reach our goal to be net zero carbon by 2030, we all need to play our part. The environment must be at the forefront of every decision we make, both as local councils and in our everyday lives, so that together we can make more sustainable choices across all aspects of life that benefit the environment.”
The results of the public feedback were used to inform the direction of Somerset’s draft Climate Emergency Strategy, which will now be going through a formal approval process. It will be available to view by the public from 6 October.
The full strategy and summary strategy with the details of all the plans for each key theme can be reviewed on Somerset County Council’s website where you can find a copy of the consultation findings.
In 2019, all five councils declared or recognised ‘climate emergencies’, agreeing to work together to produce a joint Climate Emergency Strategy. The strategy identifies ways Somerset will work together towards being carbon neutral by 2030 and adapt to predicted climate change impacts.
Highlights of the feedback from the consultation in January 2020 and how we will address them in the Climate Emergency Strategy are as follows:
62% of adults and 30% of 11 to 18-year olds cited transport as a priority focus which generates 46% of carbon emissions in Somerset. Some of the plans to tackle transport include:
- Developing an electric vehicle strategy
- Investing more money in improving walking and cycling
- Working with transport operators to improve public transport provision
- Reviewing how we manage and maintain the highway network
49% of adults said councils need to lobby government for better planning and building regulations. While 39% of 11 to 18-year olds said that all new buildings should be built to the highest energy efficient standards. Some of the actions that will address building and planning are:
- Encouraging all new developments to be designed and built to be as energy efficient, low carbon and climate resilient as possible
- Working with communities across the county to help prepare them for the impacts of climate change
- Reducing fuel poverty across Somerset
- Cutting energy use from all existing local authority buildings and design them to be carbon neutral
46% of adults said energy use was a major priority and 37% of 11 to 18-year olds said that renewable energy generation was important. Some of the plans to address energy usage include:
- Switching to 100% renewable energy tariffs and aiming to purchase energy from local community energy schemes and renewable energy generators
- Updating planning policies and strategies to enable renewable energy generation
- Supporting and developing partnerships with community energy initiatives
42% of adults said that we should recycle more and if that wasn’t possible to generate energy from waste. More recycling and recycling facilities was cited as a priority by young people. Some of the actions around waste and recycling include:
- Providing advice and guidance to businesses regarding legislation, production and packaging, and encouraging better sorting of waste to increase recycling
- Increasing rates of recycling through ‘Recycle More’ and ‘Slim My Waste’ campaigns
- Reduce the amount of waste generated and restrict bin capacity
The five principal councils in Somerset consist of Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, South Somerset District Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset West and Taunton.
For further information, contact any of the five local authority Communications Teams or press offices.
Somerset County Council: [email protected] 07968 351205
Mendip District Council: [email protected] 01749 341 204
South Somerset District Council: [email protected] 01935462094
Sedgemoor District Council: [email protected] 01278 435320
Somerset West and Taunton: [email protected] 01823 219772