Tessa Munt with campaigners

Somerset County Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’ this week in a bid to reduce emissions in the region and go carbon neutral by 2030.

Councillors agreed that ’emissions must be cut’ following a cross-party initiative which was backed at a council meeting  on Wednesday February 20th.

£25,000 has been allocated to fund the formation of a Council Climate Change Strategy, which councillors say will come before the end of 2019.

Environmental campaigners, who have staged several recent protests outside the council HQ at Shire Hall in Taunton, erupted into applause at the news this week.

The motion to declare a Climate Emergency was drawn up by Tessa Munt, who is the County Councillor for Wells and Burnham-On-Sea’s former Lib Dem MP.

It called for urgent action, not just words, and will mean the Council can use the combined experience, expertise and energy of Somerset’s residents, workers and students to change the way the Council works.

Tessa’s petition, calling for Somerset County Council to declare a Climate Emergency, has attracted almost 700 signatures.

Tessa told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I’m thrilled that so many people in Somerset have supported this change. The time for talking is over. The County Council needs to play its part and must start pursuing an environmentally-friendly approach to all it does. I’m glad that Councillors from all parties supported my motion.”

“At a time when Westminster has spent 2½ years focussed on one thing alone, it’s up to Councillors to demand the Ministers delegate powers to local Councillors so they can take action.  If the Government is too distracted to act to stop the Climate Emergency, then we must act locally.”

“Scientists have been warning us for decades that Climate Change is the greatest threat to humanity. The IPCC Report in November 2018 said that holding the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. Yet nothing has happened: it’s business as usual locally and nationally. The need to combat the continuing emission of greenhouse gases and global warming overshadows every other issue.”

Somerset County Council cabinet member David Hall said: ‘Council members have come together across party lines to recognise the global threat we face in climate change.”

“We know we can’t wait – action has to start now for the people of Somerset and beyond. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits, creating new jobs, saving money, creating new market opportunities, and above all improving the well-being of individuals and communities.”