Somerset communities given share of £1 million to tackle Climate Change

Local communities in Somerset received a share of £1 million this week to help them tackle the impacts of Climate Change in their area.

Somerset County Council Leader David Fothergill announced the £1 million Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund last year to encourage innovative community projects that share the Council’s vision of working towards a climate resilient Somerset.

Community organisations and city, town and parish councils in Somerset were invited to bid for grants of between £5,000 and £75,000 for projects that can make a real difference, reduce carbon levels locally and improve our environment.

The funding will pay for projects which will not only aim to reduce carbon emissions but will help to reduce waste, raise community awareness of Climate Change and enhance the natural environment.

More than 136 applications were submitted and Somerset County Council is delighted to announce that 40 projects across Somerset have been awarded grant funding.

Amongst the projects benefitting from the fund are those promoting cycling and walking, improving energy efficiency and ‘rewilding’ projects – improving the environment for both local communities and wildlife.

Grant recipients are spread right across the county, from a wildflower project in Williton, in the West, to the installation of solar panels in Cheddar in the East, and energy-efficient LED lighting in Chard, South Somerset.

Councillor Fothergill said:

“I’d like to thank every community and group who put forward an application. It has been fantastic to see your ideas and I’m already looking forward to seeing the results. As a County Council we’re committed to doing our bit to tackle Climate Change by making the way we deliver services more efficient, but we can have a far greater impact by encouraging people in our communities and local organisations to change their own behaviours, that’s why the Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund is so important.

“Action is needed now, if we do not act decisively, the impacts of Climate Change across Somerset will be considerable – we all have a role to play in tackling the Climate Emergency.”

Councillor Clare Paul, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing and Climate Change, added:

“I’m delighted to see so many great applications for interesting and innovative projects, with communities coming together to help reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment and enhance people’s enjoyment of our beautiful county.

“By working together, we can make a real and lasting impact and inspire others around us to take action on Climate Change; the message is – please join us in making this happen.”

The Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund supports the ambitions of the Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy which aims to develop new ideas and approaches to tackle Climate Change following the County Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019. For information visit www.somerset.gov.uk/climate-emergency.