Experts who advise the Government on emission targets have visited Somerset to find out more about the local challenges of tackling climate change.
Somerset has set ambitious targets to become carbon neutral by 2030 – but as a large rural county faces a very different challenge to urban areas.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC), the independent statutory body set up to advise governments on emissions targets and adapting to climate change impacts, asked Somerset County Council to convene a series of discussions to find out more about the challenges of achieving net-zero in a rural area.
The group was made up of a range of local stakeholders – from county, district and town council staff to business, environment and community leaders. They met on Thursday and considered a number of ways the county will need to adapt to achieve the goals set out in the Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy. This included debate about how to reduce emissions in rural transport, where solutions like public transport and electric charging points are less commercially viable than in urban areas.
Other topics covered included the creation of green energy, flooding and water management, and planning issues, as well as barriers to change like inconsistent funding and red tape. The Committee is also meeting with councils and organisations in other areas across the UK before feeding back to central Government with recommendations.
Delegates to visit Somerset included Climate Change Committee members Professor Piers Forster and Rosalyn Schofield. Rosalyn Schofield, a member of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, said:
“It was fantastic to visit Somerset as we seek to learn more about delivering a Net Zero UK across regions, local authorities and in communities. It was very encouraging to hear about the work being done by the councils, farmers, businesses, civil society and community groups to adapt to climate change impacts and make Somerset more resilient to significant shifts we’re already experiencing in our climate. What we hear from these conversations will help to inform our advice to the UK Government, due to be published in June, and beyond.”
To keep up to date with latest information about tackling the climate emergency in Somerset, visit Climate Emergency (somerset.gov.uk).
You can find out more about the Climate Change Committee at https://www.theccc.org.uk/.