Dorset Council sets up panel to work on carbon reductions

DORSET Council has set up a panel to discuss how it will set carbon reduction targets after recently declaring a climate emergency.

As one of its first acts, the new Dorset Council declared a climate emergency last month, joining other local authorities including Devon, Cornwall and Somerset in recognising the threat posed by climate change.

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, has now set up a panel to discuss how the council can tackle climate change, with Lyme and Charmouth’s representative Councillor Daryl Turner among the members.

Councillor Bryan said: “Over the last two weeks, officers have been gathering background information on carbon reduction initiatives already delivered across the former Dorset councils, to establish our current position.

“We will include experts from outside our organisation to ensure we get the most up to date knowledge and information to form our policies and so we can plan well beyond my time as a councillor.

“We will be open and transparent in our plans and will always listen to constructive criticism. However, we need to manage the expectations of those that would like us to bring forward changes with immediate effect.”

Dorset’s former county and district councils worked to mitigate climate change, both within their operations and in partnership with public, private and community organisations.

This work included reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions and developing carbon management plans that delivered some significant achievements including:

  • Reductions in fuel and mileage
  • Energy efficiency projects in council buildings and schools
  • Almost halving energy used in street lighting

Dorset Council can have a wide influence across Dorset through the services it provides, including planning, housing, pensions/investments, community services, air quality, transport, economic development, children’s & adult’s services and public health.

In response to the Climate Change Act and EU renewable energy directive, Dorset established the Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole Renewable Energy strategy and an Energy Efficiency strategy. These were developed through a comprehensive consultation process with stakeholder groups.

The Dorset Council Climate Change Panel will look to build on this and will work in partnership with organisations across Dorset to develop its climate emergency plan for Dorset.

The panel will meet in the near future and will report back to Cabinet in July.

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