Give us more power & resources.

A report on progress made to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies and how the Renewal Programme, set up in response to Covid-19, will support the next steps will go before B&NES next week (January 21).

Amongst it’s findings is the need for the local authority to be given greater powers and resources by central government.

The climate and ecological emergency progress report asks members to note the wide-ranging action that is being taken to achieve net zero carbon in Bath and North East Somerset by 2030 and provides an update on the council’s initial response to the ecological emergency, declared in July 2020.

#OneSharedVision, which is being developed with the community, aims to create a stronger, more diverse and greener economy, putting the council’s climate and ecological emergency policies at its heart.

It aims to tackle the weaknesses in the local economy that the pandemic has highlighted and to build on some of the positive changes that have taken place such as the shift to home working and less commuting.

The progress report details the good level of community engagement on the policies, specific actions taken or underway by council teams and how climate leadership and literacy training for councillors and staff will take place in 2021.

Over the past year, the council has held a range of community events and webinars at which residents were able to learn from others who have taken action in the community, hear from experts and contribute their own ideas. There have also been eight workshops and more than 70 interviews carried out to enable stakeholders and residents to help shape the emerging #OneSharedVision, together with an online public engagement initiative.

The report notes that due to Covid, the annual carbon footprint review of the area was delayed and will now be reported to the climate emergency and sustainability panel in March 2021. This update will include a review of the original pathway to net zero and an update on the council’s direct carbon emissions.

The report also notes that local government needs greater powers and resources from central government in order to deliver our local ambitions and contribute to the national efforts to tackle the environmental emergencies, as well as action by government to make the system change that is needed and is actively lobbying government for this support.

The climate and ecological emergency progress report will go before a Special Council meeting on Thursday, January 21 at 6.30pm.

Councillor Sarah Warren, joint cabinet member for Climate Emergency, said: “I welcome this progress report that sets out how our communities have come together to take real action. It’s heartening that despite the limitations on all our lives due to the pandemic, people have still engaged with us on our climate and ecological emergency policies, which have never been more important than they are now. 

“Tackling both emergencies is at the heart of everything we do and there’s no time to waste, which is why we are carrying out a partial update of the Local Plan to address critical issues relating to both emergencies. We have also adopted Liveable Neighbourhoods to create low traffic neighbourhoods, residents’ parking and on-street electric vehicle charging, which will encourage walking and cycling. Along with the successful launch of e-scooters in central Bath, these schemes all work towards achieving net zero carbon for Bath and North East Somerset by 2030.”

Lib Dem Councillor, Alastair Singleton (Saltford), who is also the Council’s member advocate for renewable energy, commented:

“We’re committed to taking action on the Climate and Ecological Emergencies – the greatest challenges facing us as a society. Despite the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, real progress is being made towards the Council’s priority action areas. 

“I’m particularly pleased by the Council’s work on renewable energy, including the decision to switch all our contracts to green energy, pushing for ever more on-site renewables, updating planning policies and work to develop an integrated comprehensive approach to promoting renewable energy schemes across our area.”

The Special Council meeting will be livestreamed on the council’s YouTube channel and available to view afterwards.

Visit the council’s climate emergency webpage

Find out more about #OneSharedVision