Join the climate change conversation

A new round of ‘Climate Conversations’ is being held to allow residents in South Lakeland the chance to have their say on issues around climate change and biodiversity loss.

These will be the third round of conversation events run by the council since 2018.

In that time we have:

  • become the first council in Cumbria to declare a climate emergency
  • adopted policies outlining how it aims to tackle climate change and passed a motion on biodiversity loss
  • drawn up an action-plan based on the ideas put forward at the climate conversations 

Now we're continuing the conversation – and once again we're inviting residents along to contribute ideas and suggestions.

The ‘Climate Conversations’ will be happening on the following dates/locations:

27 February 2020: Main Hall at Victoria Hall, Grange-over-Sands

4 March 2020: Supper Room at Coronation Hall, Ulverston

11 March 2020: Assembly Room at Kendal Town Hall

17 March 2020: Millennium Room at Marchesi Centre, Windermere

18 March 2020: Lunesdale Hall, Kirkby Lonsdale

All the events will start at 7pm and finish around 9pm.

The current set of actions was last updated following Climate Conversations held last summer.

The list outlines our commitments to work with others and take practical steps as an organisation to address issues around climate change and biodiversity loss.

We will:

  • examine how the importance of a low carbon footprint is reflected in procurement conditions
  • work with the county council to agree a date for zero carbon target
  • work with supermarkets and other businesses to discuss how carbon footprints can be reduced
  • encourage employees to use sustainable transport
  • continue to work with the county on additional cycle routes and safe routes to school.
  • review ways in which it can help businesses and institutions finance sustainable measures, eg. solar panels or hydroelectric schemes
  • meet with developers to discuss sustainable options on developments
  • hold further climate conversations
  • investigate ways to discourage vehicle idling
  • review how to advertise climate change actions on our vehicles and bins
  • partner with parish councils to develop climate change policies
  • run a communications campaign to include information, suggestions and tips on how individuals can help
  • meet with the National Parks, Farmers Unions, Natural England, National Trust etc. to discuss how we can collaborate on climate change actions
  • organise additional business meetings on sustainability
  • investigate enhanced ways to ensure access to ‘Tetra Pack’ recycling and plastic film recycling
  • designate locations for wildflower meadows and reduced verge cutting
  • promote schemes and programmes that reduce carbon footprint (for example Simply Repair, Food Banks and Peoples Café)
  • review its energy provider
  • coordinate closely with other councils on sustainability issues
  • promote energy efficiency in homes including low energy light bulbs
  • recruit additional resources to progress these initiatives
  • require sustainability plans for festivals it supports
  • work with the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) on potential business eco-friendly activity
  • promote the ‘Cold to Cosy’ scheme – free energy advice and installation of energy saving improvements for applicable residents 

In addition, we have said that we are keen to work with community groups to:

  • finance a ‘Citizens’ Jury’ on climate change
  • promote pollinator projects
  • enhance allotment biodiversity
  • encourage best practices with supermarkets
  • develop community compost schemes
  • initiate rural wheels schemes
  • promote electric bikes
  • educate residents and developers on how to promote bird habitat
  • contact and influence national policy makers
  • review engagement with schools

In the past year we have already made great strides in our climate change work.

As well as declaring a climate emergency, passing the biodiversity motion and adopting a climate change policy, in the last 12 months the council has been involved in other initiatives, including:

  • funding a zero carbon project in Ambleside
  • writing to government to seek a higher level of sustainability on house building
  • approving the installation of solar panels on more council buildings
  • agreeing an enhanced scheme of tree planting
  • implementing the ‘Fill-up’ scheme – which offers free water refills at council offices and participating businesses to cut down on use of single-use plastic water bottles

Councillor Dyan Jones, portfolio holder for Climate Emergency and Localism, said: “By working with communities, businesses and local groups we are committed to finding ways to reduce the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss, which are likely to be the biggest challenges of our lifetime.

“These are serious issues that require serious attention. At SLDC we have taken a lead in making this a priority.

“We have a Green Team of designated officers working to identify how the council can make more energy efficiencies, we are supporting our communities to reduce energy and help protect the environment, and have developed an action plan to give a clear direction for our work.

“We recognise that there is only so much that we as a council can do in isolation, but by embedding sustainable methods of thinking and working; ‘thinking globally, acting locally’ in all we do, using our influence and working collaboratively with our communities and partners, we can take a joined-up, strategic approach, in our response to climate change.

“Our Climate Conversations have already proved to be hugely important in shaping the current list of actions.

 “They have proved very popular and have resulted in some excellent ideas and suggestions. I would urge anyone who cares about this issue to come along to one of the sessions over the next few weeks and make their voice heard.’’

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