The public consultation ran from 6 June to 15 July 2019 www.cornwall.gov.uk/climatechange and engaged with people face to face, on social media, online and digitally, and asked people what they would like the Council to initially focus on to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030; what people are already doing themselves to reduce their own carbon footprint; and what they would be willing to do in the future.
Engagement overview The majority of people we heard from are very aware of, and very concerned about, the impact of climate change, and the scale of the challenge is widely understood. Many see it as the single most important issue facing Cornwall, the UK and the planet. A small number of people do not agree that there is a climate emergency or feel that there is little they or we can do to make a difference.
What people said the Council can do to make a difference and help Cornwall become carbon neutral: 1. Planting more trees 2. Making it easier to reduce single use plastic(s) 3. Making it easier to reduce, reuse/repurpose and recycle waste 4. Helping nature and wildlife to thrive
There were a number of recurring themes: •Tackle Congestion and Pollution: • Better Education / information: • More Electric cars: • Energy: Cornwall exports a high volume of ‘green’ energy into the national grid, but people want the Council to lobby Government to increase grid capacity into Cornwall and harness wind, wave and underground / thermal. Help to be able to install solar panels on their roofs. • Environment, plant more trees and plants: • Farming / agriculture / animal products: with people typically commenting “Farming has a big part to play in how we manage our environment and in a future carbon neutral Cornwall” • Homes / housing: new homes should have green energy sources installed, including solar panels, rainwater harvesting, thermal energy and facilities such as cycle storage • Reduce Litter: • Lobby Government:’ • Manufacturing / shopping: reduce packaging waste from supermarket purchases • Planning: concerns about the number of new large housing developments without ‘green’ infrastructure in place to help relieve congestion and other problems introduced such as extra pressure on local health care, schools and transport. • Plastics: is not a direct climate change / carbon emissions issue, but it is important to people that there is a better solution available • Public transport: buses are too infrequent and too expensive. Trains should be cheaper than flights. • Recycling: more collection points and more products e.g. Tetra Paks etc. We learned of a scheme at Callington Tesco where they are collecting a wide variety of recycling in partnership with a local company. Some suggested public composting centres. • Spaceport / Air travel: some people suggest the Spaceport plans and our ownership of an airport do not sit well with the Council’s aspirations for Carbon Neutral Cornwall • Strong Leadership: people with very strong opinions about climate change and carbon emissions that are looking to Cornwall Council for quick, decisive action. They want strong leadership on an urgent call to action / for change.
We asked people to let us know what was most important to them • Reducing car journeys through more buses and trains, more frequently and helping people to walk and cycle more easily • More public charging points to help people switch to electric cars • Building more energy efficient new homes • Making existing homes more energy efficient and greener • Getting more solar energy panels on rooftops • Creating more large scale renewable energy farms • Planting more trees • Helping nature and wildlife to thrive • Making it easier to reduce, reuse/repurpose and recycle waste • Making it easier to reduce single use plastic(s).
The 10 things people are already doing or have done themselves to help make a difference to climate change and to help Cornwall become carbon neutral. CAN YOU tick off any of these as things you have done ? • Rung my energy supplier to see if I can switch to green energy, if not I have found one • Buy local seasonal produce as much as possible, starting with at least 2 meals a week • Educated myself about the science and impacts of climate change • Contacted my MP and made my friends make these ten pledges too • Walked, cycled, used public transport or registered with www.carsharecornwall.com to travel to work or another regular journey at least once a week • Worked on my own carbon footprint using one of the many easy carbon calculators e.g. www.footprint.wwf.org.uk • Done a home energy check to find out how much I can save energy in my home www.hec.est.org.uk and/or asked the energy saving trust by phoning 0800 512 012 • Turned down my thermostat to reach the lowest comfortable temperature, typically between 18 – 21c, think about putting on a jumper or not using A/C in this heatwave • Reduced my holiday air miles by 50%.
CAN YOU add to this list? Let us know your thoughts, speak to your Parish Councillors. Following the Cabinet discussion on 24 July we will hold further activities / events for stakeholders and young people, including a schools event in the autumn, to explore in more detail the benefits and impacts of the opportunities open to the Council and Cornwall.