Climate and environmental emergency – a call to action!

KEEN environmentalist and Lyme Regis town councillor Belinda Bawden calls on residents to take action against climate change and let the council know their views at this week’s public consultation

“WE are facing a crisis like no other. We are working to fend off disaster.”

“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” (John W. Gardner)

“We are working to create a safe, fair, sustainable and possibly wonderful future.”

These were among the closing thoughts of the ‘Climate Emergency: From Declaration to Action’ conference for local climate action groups on Saturday, November 16 at University College, London.

Lyme Regis Town Council is currently shaping its visions, plans and projects for its five-year term and will be engaging with the community through a Lyme Voice survey, by listening to views expressed by email and in person at the open public consultation on Thursday, November 22 from 2pm to 6.30pm at the Woodmead Halls.

In July, the council unanimously passed the climate and environmental declaration which pledged to:

  1. Make Lyme Regis Town Council carbon neutral by 2030.
  2. Work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  3. Set up and support a One Planet Working Group to co-ordinate town council, community and individual activities towards net zero carbon and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  4. Call upon national government and Dorset Council to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target and SDGs possible.
  5. Work with other local councils to determine and implement best practice methods to limit global warming to less than 1.5⁰C.
  6. Continue to work with partners across the Lyme Regis area (Uplyme and Charmouth) to deliver the new goals through all relevant strategies and plans.
  7. Prepare a report within six months with the actions Lyme Regis Town Council will take to address the ‘climate and environmental emergency’.

The One Planet Working Group (OPWG) has met four times since July, initiating several exciting projects, co-ordinating ideas and suggestions from community groups and residents and selecting the first two projects to submit as Sustainable Development Goals – Plastic Free Lyme’s Boomerang Bags and the Uplyme Community Sponsorship scheme to resettle a refugee family from Syria.

OPWG members have attended climate action and ‘Green New Deal’ workshops and conferences in Birmingham, Exeter, Bournemouth, Dorchester and London. We are currently initiating a Climate Action network of Dorset and Devon town and parish councillors working on their climate and environmental action plans to share best practice and collaborate where scaling up could attract external partnerships and funding.

Myself and Councillor Rob Smith collated the Climate and Environmental Action Plan which was agreed by all town councillors attending the informal budget setting meeting on October 29.

The Strategy and Finance Committee agreed those plans and projects which fell into the direct remit of the Lyme Regis Town Council on Wednesday, November 13 – these will be the priority topics discussed during the public consultation process.

The wider Lyme Regis Climate and Environmental Action Plan includes proposals where the town council can influence and lobby local and national government, for example, to amend planning regulations to make energy efficiency and conservation measures fit for purpose for future climate change.

It also proposes collaborations with other councils, government agencies and social enterprises working to support local efforts to develop renewable energy schemes; raise building standards; encourage better and more sustainable transport options; promote local and climate-friendly food; rewild disused spaces, plant trees and wild flowers; reduce waste and, above all, encourage everyone to work together to improve our natural and built environment, working lives, educational opportunities, community activities and overall health and well-being.

The task is immense. The consequences of not acting now are terrifying. Scientists tell us we are hurtling towards a 4˚C global temperature rise and we are already experiencing floods, storms, wildfires and catastrophic deforestation beyond even their predications.

Children rightly fear for their future. Seventy-four per cent of people under 25 and over half of all adults agree that climate change will greatly influence the way they vote. We need to act now. A safe, fair, sustainable and possibly wonderful future is possible.

Please support the town council’s climate and environmental action plan and tell us what you would like to happen. Come and join the One Planet Working Group to make Lyme Regis a climate action innovator, pioneer and hero as well as a plastic free champion. We are all in this together and we need you!

For more details on the One Planet Working Group, visit opwg.org.uk/

Councillor Belinda Bawden,
Lyme Regis Town Council & One Planet Working Group

Woodmead Halls
About Francesca Evans 1760 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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