Investing in eco-friendly training to help Somerset toward carbon neutral goal 

Somerset County Council is funding specialist Carbon Literacy training for City, Town, and Parish Councils to help them take effective actions on climate change in their communities. 

The initiative is part of the Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy prepared by Somerset’s Local Authorities which includes the goal of working towards a carbon neutral Somerset by 2030. 

Somerset County Council has commissioned ClimateGuide to run a series of free, accredited Carbon Literacy training days for City, Town, and Parish Councils, and the training is already proving a success. 

Carbon Literacy is a term used to describe an awareness of climate change and how our everyday actions affect the climate. The training is designed to help local authorities understand the actions they can take to help combat climate change effectively. 

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Community Infrastructure, said: “Somerset County Council is determined to lead the way in moving the County towards becoming carbon neutral. There have already been three successful Carbon Literacy sessions with City, Town, and Parish Councils, and there are a further four events scheduled for the New Year. We have also started to run similar training for Somerset County Council officers and will be extending the training offer to County and District Councillors in due course.” 

Cllr Gill Pettitt from St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council said: “I went straight back to my council and drafted an action plan that was adopted by Full Council and is open to additions by the Environment Working Group. The training continues to inform initiatives, open up conversations and encourage creative ways of reaching all sections of our communities. I would say that it has affected the entire Council – because we are now more consciously considering implications across all our committee work.” 

Somerset County Council has also launched its new Climate Emergency webpage Climate Emergency (somerset.gov.uk), which will provide a hub for anyone wanting information about Somerset’s work towards tackling climate change. 

The new website includes the latest environmental news for Somerset, information and tips for individuals and organisations on how they can reduce their carbon footprints, and details about the actions Somerset’s Local Authorities are taking. 

The site also has a section about SCC’s £1m Climate Emergency Community Fund, which supports projects that not only aim to reduce carbon emissions but also help to reduce waste, raise community awareness of climate change and enhance the natural environment. A total of 44 projects have been awarded grant funding so far. 

Somerset County Council is investing in reducing its own carbon footprint. SCC successfully bid for £4.1m from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) and the Council has committed a further £5.6m into this initiative. This will see 12 projects, including Taunton Library, Yeovil Library, Frome Library, Glastonbury Hub and County Hall all undergo extensive decarbonisation works. Early estimates indicate that the delivery of the various schemes could reduce our non-schools estate carbon output by around 27% – around 400 tonnes of carbon per annum. 

The Council has recently announced the Somerset Bus Service Improvement Plan, which sets out a radical overhaul of services in the county and is being submitted as a bid for a share of a £3 billion funding pot made available under the Government’s ‘Bus Back Better’ initiative. 

The aim is to make bus services greener, more attractive, more affordable, easier to use, as well as faster and more reliable, and it forms an integral part of the Somerset’s Climate Emergency Strategy by getting more people out of cars and onto public transport. The bid is for £163 million from Government – potentially a huge contribution to tackling climate change in the county. 

For more information visit: Climate Emergency (somerset.gov.uk)

ENDS

For more information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk.

Notes to editors

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