In a special report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations highlights the need to take immediate action to limit the increase in average global temperatures to a 1.5°C threshold. Even an increase of half a degree beyond this will drastically worsen the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty.
The challenge of climate change is a global issue, but everyone needs to play their part. This is why the five Somerset local authorities have each declared or recognised a Climate Emergency.
In 2019, the Somerset local authorities (Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, and South Somerset District Council) all passed resolutions to declare or recognise ‘A Climate Emergency’ and have since agreed to collaborate to produce and deliver an ambitious, joint Climate Emergency Strategy for Somerset.
The strategy will identify ways that Somerset might work to together towards being carbon neutral by 2030 and adapt to predicted climate change impacts.
A Framework document has been produced by the five local authorities to start the conversation with communities, interest groups, businesses and others, which will help shape the future Climate Emergency Strategy.
The intention is for everyone in Somerset to feel a sense of ownership of the Strategy, and that they have been able to contribute to the resulting actions. Aiming to reduce carbon emissions in the county and make Somerset a County resilient to the inevitable effects of Climate Change.
This Framework document provides some high-level detail explaining what could be done do to address the most important issues and this consultation is your first opportunity to have your say in whether you think this is right.
People can initially get involved by completing an online questionnaire, which will be available from 6 January until 25 February 2020. In addition, an online survey for 11 to 18 year olds is available for young people to take part until 18 February. Young people under the age of 16 will need permission to participate in this survey.
And, you can attend one of the drop-in sessions that are taking place around Somerset. The events will be held on Saturdays, between 10am and 4pm at the following venues:
- 18 January, Somerset West and Taunton. The Glassbox, Taunton Library, Paul Street, TA1 3XZ.
- 8 February, Sedgemoor District Council. The Sedgemoor Room, Bridgwater House, King Square, Bridgwater, TA6 3AR.
- 15 February, Mendip District Council. The Council Chamber, Mendip District Council Offices, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT.
- 22 February, South Somerset District Council. Vicarage Street Methodist Church, Vicarage Street, Yeovil, BA20 1JZ.
Open to residents, VCSE organisations, businesses, and anyone with an interest, the drop-ins will be a chance to discuss the initial thoughts of the five councils set out in a Framework document.
The aim of the event is the gather feedback on whether the work so far focuses on the right themes, and the actions that will have the most impact in tackling the effects of Climate Change, and on whether the draft Framework covers everything it should and if there are actions that communities are already doing or could take forward themselves.
The draft Framework document sets out initial, high-level thoughts on what actions might be required and the approach to delivering them and will be developed working with – and listening to – Somerset communities.
The aim is to produce a detailed strategy by summer 2020.