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Residents make their mark at Climate Emergency drop in event

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115 residents came and had their say at the South Somerset District Council Climate Emergency drop in event last Saturday, taking the total to 625 across for the four events held Somerset-wide.

Earlier this year, all five councils declared or recognised ‘climate emergencies’, agreeing to work together to produce a joint Climate Emergency Strategy. The strategy will identify ways Somerset might work together towards being carbon neutral by 2030 and adapt to predicted climate change impacts. But before the strategy can be drawn up, the councils needed people in Somerset to have their say.

The ‘Have your say’ drop in events started in Taunton on 18 January 2020, with other events also being held in Bridgwater, Shepton Mallet and Yeovil over the last month. All of the drop in events were ran by the Somerset Climate Action Network on behalf of Somerset’s four District Councils and County Council.

Residents at Climate event having their say

From left to right: Cara Naden and Christopher Maltin of Somerset Climate Action Network and Nina Bell of Hopestone Research. Photo credit: Len Copland

Visitors dropped in to give their view on the environment issues they are most passionate for Somerset, making sure they had their say on the way that the future Somerset Emergency Strategy will be shaped.

Those that attended also had the opportunity to hear talks from Adrian Tate from the Climate Psychology Alliance and Fiona Campbell who specialises in transforming scrap into artwork and who spoke about the role of art in tackling climate change. 

Pupils from Wells Blue School also gave an inspirational talk on how they recently planned and implemented a zero single use plastic campaign and converted hundreds of pupils and staff to use multi use water bottles instead of single use water bottles, the first of many green initiatives they have planned for their school.

Councillor Sarah Dyke, portfolio holder for Environment at South Somerset District Council, said: “I was really pleased to see so many people engaging with our staff and those from the Somerset Climate Action Network at the drop in event. It shows how much people care about the future and want to have their say, helping to shape the strategy. Wider input from our residents is vitally important and I’ve been really encouraged by the number of people that have completed the online survey.”

The Climate Emergency online survey saw 4,904 responses from adults and 952 from young people aged 11-18 years old. This means that almost 6,500 from across Somerset have had their say in shaping the Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy.

What happens now we have finished the drop in events?

Now that the Climate Emergency drop in events have finished and the residents of Somerset have had the opportunity to have their say, the findings of the survey will now be collected and used to shape the Somerset Environment Strategy. 

The strategy will then be put out for consultation through events being held this coming April. 

Please do get involved in the next steps and look out for Environment Strategy consultation events near you.

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