Climate & Environment Emergency Action Plan
Char Valley Parish Council’s Action Plan in response to the climate and ecological emergency
Outline proposal –
We already know the planet is facing a life-threatening climate and ecological emergency. While the Char Valley may be a relatively good place to be for the next 20-30 years, it may also be affected in that time by changes to the Gulf Stream, melting ice caps, other serious climate changes, or the critical loss of pollinator insects (any of which could lead to severe flooding, power outages and food supply problems).
More widely, the UK is being affected – and will inevitably be further affected – by changes elsewhere. Large-scale, climate-led population upheavals and migration will almost certainly cause significant political, economic and social disruption (think of the problems caused by relatively small-scale migration from the Middle East in the last few years). Climate-related crises (drought, forest fires, flooding, crop failures) elsewhere in the world could have serious knock-on effects. This kind of disruption could – but will not necessarily – occur in the next 2 decades.
Two responses are needed from all of us as individuals/families/communities and from local authorities:
a) Mitigate the worst effects of the emergency. We all need to reduce our impact on climate and the environment in the hope that we can, collectively, avoid the most severe effects of climate change, environmental degradation and species loss.
b) Adapt, build resilience and prepare for major change. We all need to prepare for inevitable social, economic and political change. In building resilient communities to face problems in the future, we can also build thriving communities that work better now.
For a parish council, this means that we must do three things:
1) Put our own house in order.
2) Lead and support action by the community.
3) Work to bring about change at the next layer up.
What follows are 21 detailed proposals for getting started. They draw on and combine suggestions made by other councils and organisations and our own response to the situation locally.
21 detailed proposals –
a) Mitigate the worst effects of the emergency
CVPC does not own council buildings or other properties, nor does it run local transport or manage large budgets. So there is little we can do as a council to reduce carbon emissions. As a result, our main proposals concern what we can do to support the local community (b) and to encourage change at county (and even national) level (c).
1. Put our house in order. Continue to support local planning applications that minimise carbon emissions and other impacts on the environment/climate and actively support local farmers in their efforts to adapt to climate change and develop forms of regenerative agriculture.
2. Lead and support action by the community. Inform, educate and encourage everyone in the parish to reduce their impact on the climate and the environment, with advice on lifestyle choices, etc.
3. Work to bring about change at county level. Working with the Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils, Bridport Local Area Partnership and as part of an emerging coalition of councillors across Dorset, use our collective influence to achieve changes in Dorset Council’s policy and practice on public transport, energy efficiency, pollution, verges and use of chemical insecticides, etc.
b) Adapt, build resilience and prepare for major change
1. Put our house in order. Use our communications to make the parish council a focal point for the community.
2. Lead and support action by the community. Help set up and support local farmers and new initiatives to grow food locally, encourage car-sharing, support wildlife, clean up the river, build links between farmers and others, etc.
3. Work to bring about change at county level. Use our collective town/parish council influence** to press DC to look beyond carbon control measures and put in place policies and practices on food, transport, housing and employment that help to build sustainable, self-reliant local communities, create sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices at landscape level and build a better co-ordinated green transport infrastructure for residents and tourists (in line with its 27 Nov. 2019 decision to amend its Climate Emergency to be a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency’.)
* Many proposals have direct financial implications for DC. Even running an audit, for example, will need new funds or budgets to be reallocated. So these proposals must be carefully negotiated and prioritised.
** Using our influence means that we must first adopt these (or similar) proposals, campaign to get them adopted by other Dorset Town and Parish Councils, then campaign to get them accepted by DC. This will mean working with Dorset APTC, using our new website and talking to local newspapers and magazines.