A brilliant result for everyone, including our St Ives PPC Karen La Borde, who encouraged Cornwall Council to declare a climate emergency.
Following this, Sheelah Goldsmith circulated some really practical steps parish councils could take to act on this. Sheelah wrote: “Cornwall council has declared a Climate Emergency (22/1/19) and will be asking the government for funds and legislation to enable it to further take on the challenge of fighting climate change in Cornwall. Individual parish councils can feel heartened by this lead and dare to make the same declaration themselves.”
Below are the first steps in the parish of Gerrans, working with the neighbouring parish of St Just in Roseland, (which has already set up an Environment Committee), but not officially declared a climate emergency yet, towards reducing and reversing climate change in the parishes.
Sheelah added: “If every parish throughout the land were to do a similar thing and find similar measures to take, it would be a start in meeting the monumental challenge of our age to prevent the catastrophic effects of global warming and climate change, which could literally see the extinction of thousands of species, including our own. Our governments need to KNOW that the people want to stop climate changes brought about by our previous, present and future release of carbon dioxide and methane in particular.”
See below for some ideas you could take forward in your own parish – you don’t have to be on the council to ask your councillors to consider your ideas!
And read this: Falmouth Town Council declares climate emergency
Gerrans Parish Council meeting 5 February 2019
Climate change emergency and plastics free Roseland: Ideas for REACT (Roseland Environment Action Community Team)
- Set up climate + plastics action group, co-options from outside PC?
- Monthly meeting of action group, to explore ideas for and prioritise different activities, followed by regular environment slot on PC agenda, to report problems and progress.
- Spread information:
- Regular Roseland/Gerrans environment news (REN/GEN) column in Roseland online and Roseland Mag + social media.
- Plastics and Environment Pin-board (PEP), wherever people might see it or read it. For example this could tell people about the carbon calculator app, Ashortwalk products (this is a company in Perranporth selling brilliant stuff made from recycled plastic). People invited to send in their own information as well.
- Regular contact with Cornwall Council to lobby, find out what they’re doing and report back. Make sure everyone is in the loop. Encourage them to be brave!
- Roll out carbon footprint reduction initiatives within the parish, eg
- Bulk purchase of loft insulation
- Thermal imaging study to highlight poor insulation
- Advice on different energy saving or renewable energy options
- Develop renewables on community buildings including community solar panels
- Electric car charging points.
- LED streetlights if not in place already.
- Greenspace management plans for carbon capture.
- Guidance on funding.
- Invite other ideas
- Provide all holiday rentals, B&B’s and hotels with re-usable bags saying something like: ‘Be a good visitor. Take this bag with you every time you go to the beach. Pick up six pieces of plastic and save six birds’ lives. Take the plastic home and put it in your recycling. Brilliant! Thank you!’ This might need fund-raising but it would be in hotels’ and holiday home owners’ interests to contribute.
- Beach users, walkers and transport:
- Co-ordination of beach cleaning, involving the whole community.
- Ask National Trust to put water bottle refilling stations on coast path and Councils to do likewise within villages – a visible alternative to buying new plastic bottles before people set off.
- Bus hopper service for coast path?
- Community car-share scheme?
- Consider encouraging food refill station in shop?
- Discuss how to incorporate clean energy priorities and climate change adaptation measure in planning decisions. What existing policies are there in the NPPF and the Local Plan? What can be done to get them implemented?
- Implications for activities within the parish – school, elderly, healthcare, – when adaptation is needed. Liaise with the newly appointed Roseland Surgeries Community Coordinator to reach people who might need help, eg with grant funding for insulation.
- Keep the message positive and optimistic. Aim to get the local community and all age groups involved.
- Longer term ideas: Consider what assets belong to the council or may become assets of the council under Cornwall’s devolution plans. The harbour wall will be an interesting asset to understand – important to the life of the village and expensive to repair if damaged by the sea. How might longer-term, more ambitious projects be funded?