“Somerset County Council today joined local authorities across the country in declaring a climate emergency.
A cross party initiative proposed by Cllr Tessa Munt and seconded by Cabinet Member David Hall at today’s Full Council meeting will see county-wide action and £25,000 allocated by the Council to fund dedicated work on getting a strategy off the ground.
Understanding the strength of feeling in the county, illustrated by the peaceful protests outside Shire Hall, the passionate speeches by members of the public and the urgency of the situation, the Council has resolved to take action now.
It recognises all governments have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Change and that local government cannot wait for national government to act.
Councillors agreed carbon emissions must be cut in Somerset and the Council has resolved to work with District Councils, business partners, communities and individuals towards carbon neutrality by 2030.
In declaring a climate emergency, the Council has recognised the scale and urgency of the global challenge posed by climate change as defined by the latest Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The decision will see the Policy and Place Scrutiny Committee given a mandate to take the matter forward; draw up a Council Climate Change Strategy and work on stronger county-wide action on a community and individual level.
The committee will work with partners, communities and individuals towards that carbon neutral goal and will be writing to key Government departments to secure devolved powers and resources to make this possible.
Somerset County Council Cabinet Member Cllr David Hall said: “Council members have come together across party lines to recognise the global threat we face in climate change.
“We know we can’t wait – action has to start now for the people of Somerset and beyond. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits, creating new jobs, saving money, creating new market opportunities, and above all improving the well-being of individuals and communities.”
There will be a report to the Full Council at the end of 2019 detailing actions the authority has and will take to address the emergency.”