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Town council declares war on climate change

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MELKSHAM Town Council has pledged to make the town carbon neutral by 2030.

The town council intends to promote local awareness of the dangers of climate change and create new climate friendly policies to help achieve carbon neutrality.

The move comes in support of Wiltshire Council’s declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’ in February, pledging carbon neutrality across the county by 2030. The two councils are amongst a number of local authorities across the UK who have supported the ‘Climate Emergency’ movement – the UK Government also pledged its support in May this year.

The movement was sparked off by a United Nations report published last year, which stressed that the world has less than 12 years to make the necessary changes to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. At last week’s Melksham Town Council meeting councillors voted unanimously to accept cllr Martin Pain’s proposal to create a climate change policy for the council.

“Everybody has something they can do,” said cllr Pain. “We need to use this motion to educate, make people aware, have events, invite speakers to the town, and have town meetings  in the Assembly Hall about climate change.”

As part of cllr Pain’s  proposal the town council has also agreed to embed issues relating to climate awareness and action in all council activities;  to recommend that the Neighbourhood Plan has a policy to ensure that new homes in the area are built to a  standard to support carbon neutrality; and to investigate if the council could become ISO 14001 accredited – an  internationally agreed standard that helps organisations improve their environmental performance. 

In support, deputy mayor cllr Hayley Illman said, “We need to get moving on this. We are local government, we need to be seen to be taking action, we are the representatives of this town and we need to be leading by example, so let’s start right now.”

Cllr Kathy Iles added,  “We are local government – we are talking about this, we are listening, we are doing something. One person can do a lot – we can all do something, everybody can do something, and every little thing does help.”

The proposal received support from members of the public in attendance. However, some called for the town council to go one step further and host a people’s assembly in the next two months on the matter, so the community could identify solutions and quickly move forward.

This is not the first time the town council has pledged to take action on environmental issues – in early 2018 the council declared war on single-use plastic, announcing their plan to become an accredited plastic-free town.

Cllr Pain said, “I feel that we haven’t focussed on this – and I am hoping that this motion might help us to take the next steps to go further.”

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