Lyme Regis town councillor Belinda Bawden feels the Impact Carbon Footprint Toolkit could be a significant help to town and parish councils as well as business and community groups trying to plan for net zero carbon futures. The toolkit shows the main sources of local emissions so local action can be directed effectively. For example, housing accounts for almost half the territorial emissions in Lyme Regis with transport the second largest contributor.
Consumption emissions per household in Lyme Regis compared to Bridport
Once the effect of consumption is taken into account, however, the housing contribution is reduced to the fourth largest, with the emissions caused by the consumption of goods and services; travel; and food & diet categories exceeding those from housing.
The scale of the consumption-based emissions seems daunting but there are personal and family-based Carbon Footprinting Toolkits, for example, Giki Zero (see Local News for Corfe Castle’s initiative with Giki Zero) which are fun as well as functional to use.
Using the Impact Toolkit at a community level alongside encouraging households to adopt small lifestyle changes (with Giki Zero) can create genuine community engagement as individuals realise the impact their personal consumption habits can have in the overall carbon footprint of their towns and villages.
The Impact Toolkit also allows comparisons with national and county averages, as well as other towns. A preliminary analysis of neighbouring and similar towns in Dorset seems to show that towns with more balanced reliance on local and visitor services have lower carbon footprints than those more dependent on the visitor economy.
Lewes District Council’s Climate Change and Sustainability Framework document is highly relevant to Dorset as they have similar topography and demographics - rural, coastal, areas of poverty, retirement wealth, etc. The approach is very positive and interesting, among other reasons, for the very different ‘topic areas’ they have designated. The document is here.
The National Association of Local Councils’ (NALC) projects officer, Claire Goldfinch has written about the role communities can play in protecting the environment.
The effects of climate change were evident within every community in 2020 – most notably in the extreme weather conditions. It is down to every community to understand the tasks that they can implement to tackle climate change. And, as localised community action is part of the solution to climate change, local (parish and town) councils, being the most local of local government and nearest to their communities, are crucial to changing the hearts, minds and actions of individuals.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC), the membership body for 10,000 local councils in England, is taking action to help local councils in their endeavour to rebuild communities after the coronavirus pandemic and create sustainable communities.
NALC is supporting its members by providing solutions to climate change through its website guidance, and by providing good practice examples. For instance, we have highlighted the excellent work local councils are doing round climate change by publishing over 100 occurrences in our Climate Change case studies document.
One featured council is Frome Parish Council, Somerset, which declared a climate emergency in 2018 and has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. It introduced a solar funding project which helps residents install solar panels at a discounted rate. So far, 15 homes have used the Solar Streets programme, and more are in progress. It is also introducing sustainability measures such as pledging to stop using single-use plastics in the town hall.
The council has made a clear impact within the community and has made it easy for others to do the same.
Other featured councils are Penrith and Fownhope.
Read the NALC article and see the case studies
NB Dorset CAN members Belinda Bawden and Josey Parish are part of NALC's Climate Action Task & Finish group. They are currently analysing the results of a climate change survey of town and parish councils to identify barriers to action and support needed to encourage councils to plan effectively for Net Zero futures.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and the University of Exeter have developed a tool that will enable parish councils and local communities to estimate baseline carbon emissions for their area. This is calculated using information about energy use, travel behaviours and the consumption of goods and services modelled at household level and scaled up to better reflect individual communities.
The tool will enable the development of meaningful and locally appropriate carbon reduction strategies by parish councils that allow them to support their district and county councils with well-targeted activity that focuses on big-emissions sectors rather than spending time on well-meaning but low-impact activities.
This is part of a broader set of tools and training offered by the two organisations.
Read more about the footprinting tool for parish councils and communities at the CSE website
See the collection of climate tools at University of Exeter website
Read more at the CSE website