I’ve always found that when there are extremes on emerging issues, the centre-ground tends to shift a little. Just a few years ago, climate change and the environment may have been seen as whimsical, even fanatical, to some. Now they are considered sensible, serious talking points. That’s because we all recognise and accept that our planet is at risk. We have witnessed it through the impacts on people, on our wildlife, and in our dispersed weather patterns.
At Mendip District Council we are addressing this issue. Back in 2019, Mendip was one of 300 councils nationwide to declare a climate emergency. It was a public acknowledgment that the Council needed to act on the causes and impacts of climate change. It was a firm commitment from us, and was written into our corporate priorities.
One of our early targets was reaching carbon neutrality by 2030. Unfortunately this will only now be possible with more ambitious and robust intervention from central government. However, your District Council is determined to do everything we can to make as big and as urgent an impact as possible.
This is not just talk. Here are tangible ways we are making a difference.
This week we are launching a pledge card, which lists a number of actions you may wish to take to address climate change. Ideas range from shopping habit choices, to saving water and travel options. You’ll find our downloadable pledge card here: www.mendip.gov.uk/climatechange
The Council also recently announced it had put aside a total of £50,000 for a Climate and Ecological Emergency Fund, where community organisations can apply for up to £2,000 to fund eco projects. Applications should demonstrate how projects impact on net-carbon emissions and/or the ecological benefits to the community. Entries must be in by August 31. Find out more here: www.mendip.gov.uk/ccf
Residents will start to see electric vehicle charging points being installed in Mendip’s car parks this summer, which is a fantastic development to support the de-carbonisation of our transport infrastructure across the district.
We are lucky in that, on the whole, we have good air quality in Mendip, although there are some emissions pinch-points that cannot be ignored. To address this, we launched an anti-idling initiative. You’ll find anti-idling reminders in our car parks and, working with Somerset Waste Partnership, at our district recycling centres too. We all need to work together to tackle climate change – young and old - through our networks, partnerships, alliances and by working with our communities.
This weekend (July 3rd) is Plastic Bag Free Day, so if you are heading to the shops, or to our wonderful Mendip Markets on Saturday at Frome or in Wells, do remember to take a reusable bag. When thousands of people make a small shift together, change happens.
Please get in touch if you have a problem or any questions. Contact me either on my email [email protected], or my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke.
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].