A series of public events that will give residents across the county a chance to discuss the first steps towards a Climate Emergency Strategy for Somerset have been rescheduled until after December’s General Election.
The ‘Have your say’ drop-in events had been scheduled to take place in each Somerset district council area before Christmas, but will now take place in January and February 2020.
The new dates are to ensure that the councils comply with the laws and guidance that restrict local authority publicity and consultation in the run-up to elections.
They are being run by the Somerset Climate Action Network (SCAN) on behalf of Somerset’s four District Councils and the County Council.
Earlier this year, all five councils declared or recognised ‘climate emergencies’, agreeing to work together to produce a joint Climate Emergency Strategy.
The strategy will identify ways for Somerset to work towards being carbon neutral by 2030 and adapt to predicted climate change impacts.
It will be a collective response to the climate emergency, something that’s owned by everyone in Somerset.
Open to residents, businesses, groups 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.
They will be looking for feedback on whether it focusses on the right areas, covers everything it should and if there are actions that communities could take forward themselves.
The draft framework document is being considered for approval by all councils in the coming weeks and will be a starting point for discussions at the events. It sets out initial, high-level thoughts on what actions might be required and the approach to delivering them, but will be developed working with – and listening to – Somerset communities.
The aim is to produce a detailed strategy by summer 2020.
A spokesperson for all five authorities said: “That all of Somerset’s councils are working together on this is a mark of how important we consider this issue to be.”
“These events are an important first step in shaping that strategy and we want to encourage anyone with an interest to come along and get involved.”
“Local authorities have an important role to play but we cannot tackle an issue of this size and complexity on our own, it’s a shared responsibility. Substantial change is needed at national level and the Somerset strategy has to be something that is ‘owned’ by the county as a whole.”
“This is the start of a very important conversation and we want as many voices as possible to be heard.”
A spokesperson for the Somerset Climate Acton Network said: “Somerset Climate Action Network (Somerset CAN) is very pleased to be involved in these events, it is exactly how our new organisation wants to help Somerset reach net zero carbon by 2030.”
“These events are a key way that all parts of our community can start to feed into the process being developed by our local councils. A net-zero carbon Somerset by 2030 is an exciting goal.”
You can find a copy of the Draft Climate Emergency Framework document here.