Calls for town council to declare climate emergency

BROAD Street resident Simon West has called for Lyme Regis Town Council to declare a climate emergency.

During the public forum at last week’s full council meeting, Mr West, a keen supporter of the Turn Lyme Green organisation, told councillors that they have all been hearing for years that the world is heating and that if we don’t change our ways, we are “headed for trouble”.

Mr West continued: “More recently, the full extent of this problem has been better understood and we have seen the rise of groups such as Extinction Rebellion and individuals like Greta Thunberg and, of course, David Attenborough, all telling us that we are headed for disaster on an unprecedented scale.

“The United Nations IPCC has told us all, in no uncertain terms, that we have (now less than) 12 years to halt irreversible climate change. “Organisations across the world, including Dorset, Somerset and Devon councils, and more locally Bridport and Chard councils, and even our UK government, have heeded the call and declared a climate emergency; Lyme Regis needs to do so too.

“It has become very clear that we can only pull back from the brink of climate disaster if every individual, every business and every organisation takes environmental responsibility for everything they do.

“From switching to renewable energy, to reducing the number of flights we take, from drastically curbing rampant consumerism, to reducing the amount of animal agriculture that is decimating tropical forests to feed the rich, developed world.

“Here in Lyme Regis, our council needs to declare a climate emergency and make a plan to change.”

Mr West gave examples of how this change could be effected, saying: “First, with an immediate environmental impact audit of all the areas of its work and its influence.

“Second, establish a plan to change its activities to low or zero greenhouse gas emission well before the danger date of 2030. Chard Town Council have set 2028 as their goal; there is no reason why Lyme Regis could not achieve the same or better.

“Third, as soon as practical, Lyme Regis Town Council could easily offset its current level of greenhouse gas emissions. There are many ways to do this and it would be a temporary measure until the actions of the council are all fully environmentally friendly.”

Mr West concluded by offering a couple of ideas, including offsetting carbon dioxide emissions from visitors travelling into town, which he said would cost just 16 pence per 16kg for carbon dioxide; and installing solar panels on the flat roof above SWIM and the Amusement Arcade on Marine Parade.

He added: “I implore our town council to declare a climate emergency with immediate effect, and make a plan to do its part.”

Newly-elected town mayor Brian Larcombe said the council needed to see what it could do, adding: “Yes, I sympathise with the situation and I think there are things that we as a council can do and these need to be on our short term consideration. I do not think there is a quick solution, but there are things we can look at.”

Town clerk John Wright said the matter could be referred to the next cycle of council meetings to think through ideas of where the council wanted to be in terms of climate change.

After the meeting Mr West said he had been contacted by Mr Wright asking for a meeting to discuss his thoughts.

He added that several councillors had already said they fully supported the proposal, including newly-elected Belinda Bawden who had been “instrumental in bringing this about”.

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Woodmead Halls