We plan to add useful and interesting news in this section. It will be about the work of WCA, its members and anything that we feel the membership will find interesting. We welcome contributions to the site. Please click on the 'contribute' button to send us items you would like added to this news section.
National Planning Policy Framework and National Model Design Code: Consultation proposals - Closing Date 27th MARCH
“Don’t forget to respond to the National Planning Policy Framework and National Model Design Code: consultation, which closes at 11.45pm on 27 March 2021. This is an opportunity to let the Govt. know that climate change mitigation and adaptation needs to be a key priority and properly aligned with Climate Change Act/ national net zero target.”
The Town and Country Planning Association has a good guide to responding. They suggest that the current proposal "is currently underwhelming in relation to climate change" and that even a short response to say this would be helpful.
Please respond online. For any enquiries about the consultation please
Wiltshire Pension Fund responsible investment survey: deadline 19 March
The Wiltshire Pension Fund is carrying out a survey of members on their attitudes towards "responsible investing" including the extent to which climate change should be taken into account. The Fund manages the pensions of a wide range of organisations, as well as Wiltshire and Swindon Councils and Salisbury City Council. These include many schools, academies and colleges, Wiltshire Fire and Police services, and housing associations - ie a good slice of the public sector. The deadline is 19 March. If you are a member of the Wiltshire LGPS (paying in, deferred or pensioner) please complete the survey here and pass it on to anyone else you know who is a member. While some of us have received an email about this, it doesn't seem to have reached all members. The Wiltshire Fund has made some progress in divestment from fossil fuels, but still has 2% of the fund invested in fossil fuels. Please help the Committee to divest completely by making your views known."
Please complete the survey here and pass it on to anyone else you know who is a member.
WCA Youth Conference with WC Councillors Monday 22nd February - Watch the video here
Congratulation to the WCA Youth group - they did so well. Here is the video of the excellent meeting. So many superb statements, poems and artwork presented by young people
Rural attitudes to climate change – equipping UK rural councillors to engage with their communities
Policies for a low carbon future present rural communities with unique challenges and opportunities, in particular in terms of transport, work and the way that land is used.
We wanted to understand how to engage with UK rural citizens in ways that are meaningful and relevant to them, so we dived into our Britain Talks Climate research to draw out relevant insights and recommendations for this group.
Click HERE to view this very helpful report
WCA's first Annual General Meeting - 30th January 2030
Here is the video of our first AGM held on 30th Jan 21 where many of our member groups provide an update of their plans for 2021
Wiltshire Climate Summit, hosted by Danny Kruger MP - Morning Session
WCA Question Time meeting with John Glen MP and Richard Clewer - 22nd Jan 2021
Here is the video of the meeting we held on 22 Jan 21 with John Glen MP and Richard Clewer deputy leader of Wiltshire Council - Thanks to all who took part.
For those who would like to download the slides used during the meeting please click HERE
Members meeting 6th January 2021 - notes and slides
What a great meeting - It was great to see about 40 members join this meeting with so many positive suggestions for the way forward.
You can view the slides used at the meeting using this LINK
The notes from the meeting will be added HERE shortly.
Our next meeting is our AGM on 30th January - do register for the meeting using this LINK
Wiltshire Council Climate Task Group - Part 2 of the report now been published.
The WCA have received the following E mail from Wiltshire Council:
Wiltshire Council’s Global Warming & Climate Emergency task group has published on the Wiltshire Council website its second report – covering the theme of planning. As you were one of the many people who supported the task group by providing expert advice and evidence I am sending you a link to the document. Also published is the response of the council’s Executive to the task groups first report which looked at transport, air quality and energy.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council is currently operating streamlined Overview and Scrutiny arrangements, allowing officers to focus on supporting Wiltshire communities during the ongoing restrictions. The Environment Select Committee is therefore next scheduled to meet on 13 January 2021 and will consider the two published reports. The council welcomes public participation at meetings of its committee and arrangements for engaging in this meeting will be set out in the meeting agenda, to be published on 5 January 2021.
Read the REPORT HERE
Govt's 10 Point Plan for Green Industrial Revolution
The Prime Minister’s 10-point vision for the UK’s transition to Net Zero emissions has been welcomed by many, including the Uk’s independent Committee on Climate Change, although it has been criticised by others as lacking ambition in key areas (e.g. see: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/17/the-key-areas-of-boris-johnsons-green-industrial-revolution ). On the face of it, there is a lot in it to welcome and it is the most significant Govt. commitment so far, in the run up to next year’s COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. However, it’s clear that despite (mostly) being an important step in the right direction, much more will need to be done to reach our net-zero emissions and nature recovery targets (including strengthening the targets themselves in terms of nature recovery). Moreover, the Government’s ‘2050’ target is still a major obstacle to driving action, and nearer term targets, like the one announced for the phase out of fossil fuel vehicles by 2030, are urgently needed. Importantly, at a local level, lots will need to be delivered via or with the cooperation of local authorities, and we (WCA) need to make sure Wiltshire Council steps up to the mark.
Nick Murry, WCA 03/12/20
Click HERE to read the plan
Salisbury People Friendly Streets - Your help is needed
Here is a piece written by some members of the WCA Transport group explaining the history of Salisbury People Friendly Streets, what has happened and how you can help to ensure it is not a project that is totally abandoned.
Click HERE to see the article
Responding to the Planning White Paper
Next Thursday (29th October) at 23:45 a consultation on the future of planning closes. If the Government's proposals are enacted they would represent a fundamental assault on people's right to influence how development takes place in their community. Not only that but they would focus most housing in rural areas, served by big new access roads with little or no sustainable transport. They would drive up car use and carbon emissions and create large, socially isolated, dormitory developments which undermine people's health and well-being.
Click HERE for more information
WCA Newsletter No5
Time for another WCA newsletter already, because things are moving fast in Wiltshire, and there's a lot to catch up on – especially news regarding the A303 Stonehenge Tunnel and the proposed Westbury Waste Incinerator, and the council u-turn on People Friendly Streets in Salisbury. Our Youth Group and various Topic Groups have also been busy, we will have special guest speaker presentations at our December members' general meeting, and we are planning an online AGM in January at which we will also plan how to mark the 2nd anniversary of Wiltshire's Climate Emergency Declaration in February.
On top of all that, Wiltshire Council has just unveiled its draft Local Plan revision, which will shape planning decisions for the next decade.
Lots happening, so please read on ….....
In This Issue
Diary Dates for December/January
Local Plan will shape vital decade
Stonehenge “Tunnel Vision”
Other road news – good and bad
Salisbury People Friendly Streets U-turn
Incinerator Decision due in January
Wilts Council Climate Strategy update
Topic Group Updates Energy, Engagement & Land Use
Shout outs for help
Read the NEWSLETTER HERE
WCA Newsletter No4
In this newsletter we cover the following items:
Forthcoming Meetings - Dates & Links
Roads to Ruin – An opinion piece. Wiltshire Council's new roads policies are incompatible with its Climate Emergency aims
Transport Topic Group - info and next meeting date
Other Topic Groups – How WCA is moving forward, with groups covering Energy, Economy, Land Use & Management, Waste & Recycling, and Outreach
New Creative Writing Team – WCA reaches out to the local press
WCA Youth Workshop with Wiltshire Council – Young people get their say
Engaging with MPs - We need your help!
Opposing the Governments Planning System - How the present system works – Public Inquiries and Appeals - The Government's proposals and the WCA response
Wiltshire Council Gags Questioners – Row leads to complaint
Why Soil Matters - An invitation from Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon
Read the NEWSLETTER HERE
WCA Respond to the Planning White Paper
The planning White Paper has the potential to significantly impact on this country's ability to reduce carbon emissions. Here is the letter which has been sent to the Secretaries of State in response. Thanks to Dr Nick Murry for researching the white paper and preparing the well crafted response. You read the letter HERE
Notes from WCA member's meeting and Ellen Gale's talk - 7th October 20
We had a great meeting on 7th October where the main theme was about engagement. 29 members attended and we had a very interesting and productive meeting.
The notes and and actions can be seen on the following link.
Here is the video of Ellen's excellent talk on "The Business Case for Environmentalism"
WCA Newsletter No3
In this newsletter we cover the following items:
WCA & Wiltshire Council Recovery Plan Zoom Conference
Proposed WCA Youth & Wiltshire Council Zoom Conference
Next WCA Members zoom meeting
New Topic Groups & how to join
Latest news on the Westbury incinerator
Questioning Wiltshire Council – Keeping up the pressure
Government plans to 'reform' the planning system
The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill
Other forthcoming local events throughout Wiltshire
Read the NEWSLETTER HERE
Local Charity - Avon Needs Trees (ANT)
Local charity Avon Needs Trees (ANT) is celebrating its first land purchase at Hazeland near Calne this Sunday, and has plans to create new, permanent woodland in the River Avon catchment. The 34 acres purchased at Hazeland will be followed by another 20 acres at Seend, near Melksham, if funding can be raised in time.
For more information, or to donate or get involved, please contact Nick Murry email@example.com who is an ANT Trustee.
Carbon Brief's article - Wind and solar are 30-50% cheaper than thought, admits UK government
Electricity generated from wind and solar is 30-50% cheaper than previously thought, according to newly published UK government figures.
The new estimates of the “levelised cost” of electricity, published this week by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), show that renewables are much cheaper than expected in the previous iteration of the report, published in 2016.
Read MORE about it HERE
Natural Capital Commitee - Interim response to the 25 Year Environment Plan Progress Report & advice on a green economic recovery
The Government-appointed Natural Capital Committee’s 2020 Progress Report is unable to provide an assessment of progress, of which there has been very little....not only little evidence of progress, but worrying evidence of declines
Click HERE to read the full report
Wiltshire Council C19 Recovery Plan - Consultation with WCA Members 14th August 2020 - Report
The workshop took place on 14th August as planned and 49 participants took part. It was very encouraging to see ten Wiltshire Council Officers attend along with five Wiltshire Councillors including the Deputy Leader Cllr. Richard Clewer. The feedback that we have received from those who attended has been very positive indeed.
The suggestions and ideas that came out of the workshop can be seen on the PowerPoint slides that can be downloaded on the link. The report was presented to a meeting of Wiltshire Council's Climate Emergency Task Group on Tuesday 19th August and we are delighted to confirm that some of the suggestions have already been adopted and will result in action being taken. We will monitor progress closely and report back.
A big thank you to all who took part, particularly those who helped to facilitate the workshop
Please feel free to comment in the forum section
Boris Johnson cries 'nimbyism', but his planning changes will be disastrous
Proposed planning reform due to be announced soon, are set to take control from local planning authorities and the people they represent and hand it to Govt. led zoning commissions, overturning the Town and Country Planning Act, which has successfully guarded against uncontrolled development for decades. The reforms would remove people’s democratic right to have at least some control over the character and appearance of their neighbourhoods.
According to many commentators, the new system could unleash a development sprawl never before seen in this country, with landowners able to build at will. It will essentially result in the exact opposite of ‘building back greener’ and ‘building back better’, stifling a green and equitable recovery before it’s even begun.
According to the CPRE ‘This surge of appreciation for quality local green spaces is just one indicator of the increased appetite for action to tackle the climate and nature crises head on.”
People need to write to their MPs as soon as possible.
Further information below:
Cycle questions from WC Task group
Wiltshire Council has asked us if we could gauge opinion on the following questions. Please can you send answers these to Simon bennett by 24th July. Sorry about the short notice
• What would a more cycle friendly Wiltshire look like? How can we make this come about?
• What are the cycling initiatives in Wiltshire / UK / Europe that we should be aware of?
• What is holding back the take up of cycling across the county? How would we break down those barriers?
• How do we better connect our communities with cycle routes?
Bradford-on-Avon Declares an Ecological Emergency
Bradford on Avon Town Council's Environment Committee today (8th July) added recognition of an EcologicalEmergency to the town's Climate Emergency Declaration of last year, noting that the two issues are linked and must be dealt with together. They resolved to:
Review the carbon and ecological footprint and sustainable sourcing of all projects and procurement,
Mandate all management and procurement to be consistent with the joint declarations,
Issue instructions to its suppliers and contractors to that effect by end of July, and
(last but not least) Host a Climate Action Day, with attendance open to all Parish and Town Councils in the (broadly defined) surrounding area.
This is thanks to determined lobbying, but of a receptive Council, by BOA XR and Climate-Friendly BOA. It enables the Council's spending and communications to align better with the twin emergencies. It puts pressure on other Wiltshire local authorities to follow suit. It is so good to see Bradford-on-Avon demonstrating what can be done.
UK gives go-ahead to giant windfarm project off Norfolk coast
A good news story(!) amidst government dithering on a green recovery, as a 1.8GW offshore windfarm gets the go ahead off the Norfolk coast.
“Investments in major clean energy projects like these are great examples of how we can get the economy moving again,” said Hugh McNeal, the chief executive of the industry body.
Let’s hope Wiltshire Council takes note, and puts supportive policies in place to stimulate investment in renewables in Wiltshire.