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SWT declares ecological emergency

01 October 2020 : Council news, Environment

Somerset West and Taunton Council has declared an ecological emergency complementing the climate emergency declaration made in February 2019.

A meeting of the Full Council unanimously supported a motion proposed by Cllr Dave Mansell and seconded by Cllr Dixie Darch which gives equal importance to ecological issues alongside climate emergency actions.

The motion recognised that societies and economies are intimately linked with and depend on biodiversity and nature, and that steps need to be taken to protect and enhance our natural habitats.

SWT will now seek to address ecological issues alongside climate emergency actions, maximising opportunities from combining both the climate and ecological emergencies together.

It will manage Council services, buildings and land in a biodiversity-friendly manner; embed ecological initiatives alongside climate action in all work areas; and ensure that addressing both emergencies are strategic priorities for planning policies and design guides for new development.

The Council will also -

• Promote woodland planting and rewilding, peatland restoration, natural flood management, wild flower meadows, and habitat creation and restoration.

• Reduce energy and material consumption by promoting waste reduction, reuse and recycling, product durability, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation.

• Work with local, county, regional and national partners to increase wildlife habitats, green infrastructure and natural capital in Somerset West and Taunton.

• Provide advice for local communities on how to incorporate biodiversity, green infrastructure and natural capital into Neighbourhood Plans and other initiatives.

• Encourage residents to take biodiversity measures in their own homes.

SWT is currently producing a Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan which will take these ecological issues and commitments into account going forward. The Council is also working with partners on a joint Climate Strategy for Somerset.