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Climate Emergency

In September 2019 Georgeham Parish Council declared a climate emergency in recognition of the clear evidence that climate change represents a threat to the life opportunities and well-being of future generations, and needs to be addressed at all levels of government.

The Council further declared that all its future actions and decisions will take account of the need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reach net-zero carbon by 2030.

The Council also recognises that addressing the challenges of climate change will result in many benefits in terms of health, wellbeing, and community resilience.

As a major tourist destination the parish has a special opportunity to show leadership on this issue and to engage with the many thousands of visitors who come here to enjoy our beaches and coastal scenery.

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In November 2019 a public meeting to launch the climate emergency plan attracted over 90 residents and resulted in setting up four working groups looking at food, energy, transport and biodiversity. This early enthusiasm was soon interrupted by the Covid crisis in the spring of 2020 which effectively stopped meetings and events.

Progress During The Pandemic

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Despite this some activity in pursuit of the climate goals has taken place. A facebook page under the title “Zero Croyde and Georgeham” was established in 2019 and has 160 followers to date and is used regularly to post relevant articles and event news. There is also a Zero Croyde and Georgeham newsletter which has around 60 subscribers.

 

Some positive steps have been taken by the council and landowners and farmers with significant tree planting around the parish and local milk and vegetables on sale direct from the farm. In discussions with the beach ranger at RUDA it is clear that they are already taking steps to improve biodiversity around the site and have ambitious plans for further enhancing habitats on their landholding in particular around the lakes.

In November 2021 a report was presented to the Parish Council setting out the role the Council can play in helping the parish reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, and the steps it needs to take to develop a Climate Emergency Plan to sit alongside the newly approved neighbourhood Plan. 

 

 

The council can support the transition to a net-zero economy in the following ways:

 

Decision making

The Council needs to take the climate crisis into account in all its decisions.

 

Leadership and advocacy

The council can be effective in promoting action in the community by individuals, businesses, and landowners for example by providing high quality advice in the areas of transport, energy, food, and biodiversity at public events and on social media.

 

It can also support the need for more renewable energy resources which can reduce and eventually eliminate the need to use fossil fuels in heating our homes and powering our vehicles.

 

Neighbourhood Plan

The Council now have an approved Neighbourhood Plan. This is a powerful collection of policies fundamentally addressing land use issues around the parish. The plan is a live document that will be updated on a regular basis to reflect changing priorities. An early review of the plan should be undertaken to better reflect the climate emergency.

 

The Climate Emergency Action Plan

The most important action the council can now take is to establish a plan to set out the actions needed over the next ten years or so to meet the climate emergency. This plan should sit alongside, and be reviewed in close relationship with, the Neighbourhood Plan. This plan, like the Neighbourhood Plan, needs to be developed with the support and engagement of local residents, businesses, amd landowners.

 

The actions needed will cover community engagement and education, whole house retrofit, transition to electric vehicles including EV charging provision, habitat restoration and rewilding, localising food production, renewable energy, and alternative transport provision.

 

Kickstarting the Action Plan

An interim working group has been set up including parish councillors and local residents.