Many councils have now declared a Climate Emergency along with various organisations and the government. Sometimes though, it doesn’t feel much like an emergency, as very little happens afterwards.
My local council, North Somerset (NSC) declared one in 2019, and have now published their CE Action Plan and Strategy, with ambitions to be a carbon neutral council and area by 2030. The two documents are attached below if you want to have a look at them. There are lots of ideas here that others could use or adapt in their own areas. Things here are starting to move.
I’ve been aware for a few years that their transport fleet is electric, as their cars park and charge at the same building that I work at. It is really encouraging to look down from my second floor window and see 20 or so vehicles all plugged in.
There are 2 rapid chargers in the area now that have been provided by the council, and although they are on a slightly obscure network and the parking restrictions can be, well, restrictive, they have been kept at a reasonable cost and are a start.
Already underway is the re-wilding project, with identified sites where grass will be grown longer and wild flowers encouraged. There is a plan to plant 5000 trees across the region this year and the public are encouraged to be involved in the planting and ongoing maintenance of these areas. It’s not all a walk in the woods though, as some sites have been put on hold due to local residents’ objections. I’ve never before heard of people ‘saving their local green space’ from trees! I guess you can have too much green.
I will be joining in with some planting over the next few weeks, and have bought wellies and gardening gloves specially for it. I’ve already had two tree planting outings, which were organised by a proactive group in my town who have fundraised to buy the trees and negotiated with local land owners for sites. We’ve usually spent an hour or two planting, then some time socialising while having delicious home made soup and cakes provided by the organisers. It’s been an unusual way to meet new people and get some fresh air, and as I live in a flat and don’t have a garden, it has been great to get my boots dirty. I think I’m going to have to get my own spade now though.
NSC has also recently started consultation on the climate emergency plan and transport strategy, so hopefully there will be some improvements in the public transport system around here, which is currently pretty awful, and really doesn’t encourage people to get out of their cars.
It has also made the national news recently, after rejecting proposals for the expansion of Bristol airport, and we wait to see if this will go to appeal and if the council will stick to their principles. Keeping everything crossed.
I’d be very interested in hearing what other areas are doing and to share ideas, so please do comment if you know of anything happening in your area.