Responding to the Climate Emergency

Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Climate Emergency Resolution, March 2019

The Council resolved to:

  • declare a climate emergency
  • provide leadership to enable carbon neutral B&NES by 2030
  • enable citizen engagement
  • oppose expansion of Bristol Airport

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Read the council meeting minutes

Timeline:

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From March to July

An approach to tackling the Climate Emergency in Bath and North East Somerset was developed and detailed work undertaken to identify and develop the key elements. This included discussions with community groups, other local authorities and bodies that support local authorities, as well as inclusion in the Council’s organisational development programme to ensure all departments understand that this is a top priority and requires action across all functions and will involve all parts of the community.

Development of the first Climate Emergency outline action plan began, which will be presented to full Council at its 10 October 2019 meeting.

In July, the Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Dine Romero, led the initiative that resulted in the West of England Combined Authority declaring a climate emergency and carbon neutrality by 2030.

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August

We will be reviewing detail on the area’s carbon footprint, pathway options to our 2030 goal, consumption emissions, and income-based citizen carbon footprints.

We will be developing the first outline action plan and recommendations and developing our new Bath and North East Somerset Climate Emergency, Environment & Place Partnership. This will provide strategic leadership, oversee action plan development and implementation through community partners and stakeholders, and oversee development of the community engagement programme.

The first outline action plan will identify the priorities for carbon reduction in Bath and North East Somerset, and the first next steps that need to be taken, indicating what further development is needed, including community conversations and where there are areas requiring further research and development. It will include proposals for the use of citizens’ assemblies.

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September

During this month the plan will be further refined prior to the launch of the new Bath and North East Somerset Climate Emergency, Environment & Place Partnership.

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October

The first outline action plan will be ready to go to October Council for approval, with engagement across different sectors and across the community, including a citizens’ assembly, to follow on from that. This is when the detailed work with the community will begin and when we will need your support and participation. Council meetings are live webcast and recorded here.

Individual Action and System Change

Responding to the Climate Emergency requires action across all aspects of society, from intergovernmental agreements, such as the Paris Agreement 2015, to real action by national governments and major corporations to deliver radical system change to stop the primary cause of carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. It is this level of change that will enable individuals, households and local businesses to cut their carbon emissions and achieve zero carbon by 2030. 

Bath and North East Somerset Council will be playing its part not only to provide the leadership to enable change on the ground locally and through the West of England Combined Authority, but also by pressing for change and for the powers and resources needed from central government.

Many residents and local businesses ask us what they can do. Below is a list of relatively simple actions that can be taken. However it must be remembered that, whilst we should all do what we can, these individual actions on their own are not enough and we will be seeking support from the community for the larger system changes that are needed.

Suggested actions:

  1. Avoid food waste; buy local and seasonal food when you can
  2. Avoid palm oil in ultra-processed food and some cleaning products and toiletries
  3. Buy less stuff, make it last; eliminate single use plastics
  4. Get home energy advice via the Council's Energy at Home helpline and see if you can make your home more energy efficient; switch to a green energy supplier
  5. Walk, cycle and use public transport as much as you can; use your car less and take fewer flights
  6. Talk to friends, neighbours and share ideas on what do to; engage with your local school, employer and become active in your community through a local community group, or through your Community Forum or Parish Council helping to work out what your local community could do

Suggested actions for businesses or organisations:

  1. Improve the energy efficiency of your buildings. The West of England’s Green Business Grants Fund helps small and medium size businesses to improve their energy efficiency through capital works and operational equipment.
  2. Switch to a green energy tariff, if available
  3. Implement a sustainable Travel Plan. There is support available and opportunities to either remove the need to travel altogether, use sustainable transport more, and reduce individual occupancy car journeys, for both the daily commute and in-work travel
  4. When placing contracts for products or services, ask your supply chain about how they are responding to the climate emergency
  5. Source local and seasonal food when you can
  6. Have waste management and recycling in place, including food waste collection where possible

Notes:

  • About one third of the food produced worldwide is wasted
  • Palm oil production has been rapidly accelerating and is the main cause of forest destruction. Forests are an important ‘sink’ for carbon dioxide and need to be protected and expanded
  • Making your home energy efficient will make your home more comfortable and will save you money

We will be providing further ideas and advice over the coming months