A new toolkit giving parish councils advice on how they can act locally on the climate emergency has been published online by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The council’s guide highlights actions that parish councils and communities can take to reduce emissions and energy consumption as well as where they can go to get financial help for local projects.
There is also advice on a range of carbon-reducing measures for areas directly controlled by parish councils, including parks, public buildings and facilities, and infrastructure such as street lighting, as well as promoting individual actions such as minimising waste and encouraging walking, cycling and sustainable transport.
The toolkit signposts resources for parish councils that wish to scope and develop opportunities for generating energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.
The council committed itself to providing the leadership to enable Bath and North East Somerset to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 when it declared a Climate Emergency in March 2019.
Councillor Sarah Warren, joint cabinet member for Climate Emergency, said: “Responding to the climate and nature emergency needs large-scale ambition as quickly as possible, which is why we are leading the way in encouraging people to take direct action to reduce their carbon footprint. We hope this toolkit will enable parish councils to get going on the three immediate priority areas: energy efficiency of existing buildings, a major shift to walking, cycling and mass transport and a rapid increase in local renewable energy generation.
“We recognise that parish councils often don’t have the expertise or capacity to develop projects on their own, so the toolkit points them towards funding sources for renewable energy, support with policy making, and identifying safe walking and cycling routes. We’ve compiled a list of useful resources to support parish councils across the district and hope this will enable them to take action where and when they can.”
Suggested areas of action for parish councils outlined in the toolkit include:
• Saving energy and producing renewable energy
• Reducing pesticides
• Managing land to enhance nature
• Increasing tree cover
• Encouraging sustainable transport
• Minimising waste
• Buying local
• Investing wisely
Some recent examples of parish councils securing funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects:
- Marksbury Village Hall received £5,000 from Bath and West Community Energy’s community fund towards installing new insulation and low energy lighting in the hall.
- In 2017, Stanton Prior Village Committee received £5,000 to insulate the village hall and install ceiling mounted heaters in order to improve energy efficiency.
- The Freshford & Limpley Stoke Community Association (FLiSCA) have installed a row of 64 solar panels to generate electricity for the Galleries Shop & Café.
The toolkit can be found at https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/sites/default/files/siteimages/Environment/Sustainability/parish_toolkit_climate_and_nature_emergency.pdf and will be updated regularly.
To find out more about how the council is tackling the climate and nature emergency go to https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/climate-emergency