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Agenda item

Climate Strategy and Consultation

To receive an update on the Climate Strategy and consultation which would support the county to become carbon neutral by 2030 and to be resilient to current and future climate issues. Consultation launching 1 September 2021.

Minutes:

Cllr Tamara Reay as Devizes Area Board Lead Member for Environment and Portfolio Holder for Climate Change gave an update to the meeting on the proposed Climate Change Strategy.

 

Cllr Reay explained that two consultations were underway on the Wiltshire Draft Climate Strategy and the Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy for Wiltshire.

 

Cllr Reay gave some background to the meeting as to why these strategies had been developed. In February 2019 Wiltshire Council acknowledged a climate emergency and committed to seek to make the county carbon neutral by 2030 In July 2019 the council set a target to become carbon neutral as an organisation by 2030. The purpose of strategy was to:

 

·       highlight key areas that we could focus on in next 5 years

·       set out context on policy and emissions data

 

It was noted that these were high level strategies setting out objectives and areas of focus while remaining flexible.  

 

Cllr Reay explained that local authorities could influence 1/3 of emissions in their area, so public engagement and buy-in from organisations and businesses was critical for tackling the other 2/3.

 

The Climate Strategy delivery themes were detailed as follows:

 

·       Transport

·       Homes and the Built Environment

·       Natural Environment, Food and Farming

·       Energy

·       Green Economy

·       Waste

·       Carbon Neutral Council

 

The Blue and Green Infrastructure Strategy themes were highlighted as follows:

 

·       Flooding & Water Management

·       Sustainable Farming & Land Management

·       Nature Recovery & Landscape Management

·       Woodland & Trees

·       Healthy Living

·       Economic Recovery & Valuing Natural Capital

 

The strategies were out for consultation until 17 October 2021. There were many engagement events being held which would give more details, these were:

 

Webinars:

·       9 September, 6pm, with Claire Perry O’Neill - Launch Event

·       15 September, 10.30am-11.30am – Webinar

·       30 September, 7pm-8pm -Webinar

 

Library drop-in sessions:

·       14 September, 10am-midday - Salisbury

·       23 September, 10.00am-midday - Devizes

·       27 September, 10am-midday - Chippenham

·       7 October, 10am-midday – Trowbridge

 

The public were encouraged to find out more, book onto webinars and to complete the surveys by visiting: Climate change - Wiltshire Council.

 

The Devizes Area Board were keen to build on partnership working on sustainability and environmental issues, with Devizes Town Council, Parish Councils, Sustainable Devizes and other community groups. It was hoped that the Board could develop Community Area plans & priorities, securing funding and deliver projects.

 

Graham Martin, a member of Sustainable Devizes and the Wiltshire Climate Alliance stated that whilst he welcomed that fact there was a climate team and a new strategy being proposed, there seemed to be a lack of urgency in tackling the problems highlighted by the evidence in the strategy. Mr Martin also stated that he felt the consultation did not ask the difficult questions, for example, what were people willing to give up in order to help tackle climate change. Mr Martin welcomed the proposal for partnership working in the Devizes area.  Cllr Reay recognised Mr Martin’s comments and explained that the documents were a framework and a high-level strategy, setting the direction of travel. More detailed plans would be developed once the consultation was over and the strategy formalised. Cllr Reay was also keen to develop local initiatives and plans.

 

Nigel Carter expressed a sense of frustration, wanting more urgent action. A critical aspect he highlighted was how any plans would be funded. Cllr Reay explained that there were opportunities for funding from the National Lottery and hoped that by working together groups in Devizes could develop projects that would fit the criteria and gain funding this way. Mr Carter also explained he felt that the local authority should lobby on building quality, to ensure high environmental standards. Cllr Reay encouraged Mr Carter to submit all these points to the survey.

 

Regarding Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points, Cllr Reay explained that there were issues with points not working. The infrastructure was installed 7-8 years ago, much of this was now obsolete and not being supported by manufacturers. Cllr Reay was urging officers to find alternatives as soon as possible.

 

Following the discussions, Cllr Reay proposed a motion, seconded by Cllr Simon Jacobs and it was,

 

Resolved:

 

·       That Devizes Area Board notes the draft Climate Change and Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategies and urges residents, organisations and businesses across the Devizes Community Area to contribute to the Consultations ahead of the closing date of 17 October 2021. 

 

·       That Devizes Area Board notes its commitment to work with organisations, residents and businesses across the Devizes Community Area to create a sustainable Devizes.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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