WCA Newsletter No2
Newsletter #2 3 July 2020
We’re experiencing a serious global crisis and Wiltshire Council are creating a Covid-19 Recovery Plan to help the county. Wiltshire Climate Alliance (WCA) would like the Council to ‘build back better’ with a green recovery, and to challenge and support them to do this. The next Full Council meeting is on 21 July - we’re calling on Wiltshire groups and individuals to ask questions and suggest how the county can achieve this.
We hope you can join this campaign – see below for details
Green Recovery Survey - we need your help…
To ensure Wiltshire Council hear our calls for a Green Recovery we have devised a survey to discover what issues our members think are the most important to include in the Covid-19 Recovery Plan. We hope it will also give you some ideas on specific questions you may wish to submit to prior to the Council Meeting. The survey will close on 14 July, so get your 2 cents in before it is too late! Take the survey here.
Questions and statements for 21 July Full Council meeting
Wiltshire Council’s central policy is Economic Growth. To change this to Climate and Ecological Emergency Action, the Council need to hear - loud and clear - that Wiltshire residents care more about the future of the planet, than economic growth. WCA wants to help Wiltshire’s climate-aware groups Act Together - showing our councillors we care about our environment and building pressure for policy change.
Within your group there are experts in the areas you care about most. You can make your voices heard regularly in Cabinet and at Full Council public meetings in the ‘Public Questions and Statements’ section at the start. WCA are providing a folder for each public Cabinet and Full Council meeting into which questions and statements from you or your group can be added. This will: ensure the environment is highlighted in every meeting, help avoid repetition, generate a resource of Council answers to our questions and remind us we are not lone voices!
WCA can help you understand the process and timeframe for submitting questions or statements (which can be written or even read out in person). We ask that your group collate a series of questions on a particular theme and that one member from your group commits to submit one question from this series at consecutive council meetings. Before moving onto questions on another theme.
In addition to the public section at the start of meetings, three slots are given per agenda item for public questions or statements related to the item. On occasion, in addition to filling the public section at the start, WCA will co-ordinate our members to populate agenda item slots with related climate or ecology questions. The Full Council meeting on 21 July is one of those occasions – lets demand it’s a green Recovery Plan, not a turbo-charged version of ‘Business as Usual’.
Record the date and contact us now to add your voice, thanks.
Calling All Cyclists!
We are asking cyclists from all over Wiltshire to jump on their bikes and meet us outside the County Hall in Trowbridge at 10am on Tuesday 21 July to celebrate new funding Wiltshire has won from central government in an effort to promote cycling as an alternative to public transport. The funds will be used to provide new infrastructure for both cyclists and pedestrians in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is greatly welcomed and comes after years of campaigning by cycling enthusiasts. Our presence outside County Hall will also be a clear reminder to councillors that much more is still required to fulfil their commitment for Wiltshire to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Film your cycle to County Hall and show us your journey if possible, to help us report back to the Council on the cycleways (or lack of) from different starting points around Wiltshire. Of course, we also invite those who don’t have a bike, don’t get on with bikes, or may have a bike but are too terrified to use the current cycling infrastructure to join us at County Hall too!
There will be a PA system with live audio from inside the Wiltshire Full Council Meeting and an opportunity to meet fellow WCA members from all over the county. Please respect social distancing and wear a mask if possible.
Our chance to shape a greener recovery for Wiltshire
Workshop with WCA members
Wiltshire Council is keen to develop a Covid-19 recovery plan that is as green as possible. We know our WCA members are knowledgeable and passionate about the environment and want to help build a greener recovery. WCA met with Wiltshire Council’s Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods and the Head of Carbon Reduction and was invited to be in the Recovery Community Resilience Group. We also discussed opportunities for WCA wider members to be involved in shaping the recovery plan and are delighted the Council has agreed to hold a workshop, with our members, to generate ideas together.
We’re planning an online Zoom meeting which many people can join. There will be several topics to discuss in small groups using virtual ‘breakout rooms’ where we can develop ideas and recommendations for Wiltshire Council. We aim to hold the workshops in late July/early August.
Ideally we would like two or three members from each association to participate along with other individual members. Please let us know if you would be interested in taking part by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information will be added to the event on our website here as plans develop.
Most of these items are being debated on the Forum page of our website - please join in the discussions.
Build Back Better
On Monday 29 June the Wiltshire Climate Alliance was one of more than 350 organisations who came together to call for a new settlement that protects vital public services, repairs inequalities, creates good jobs and prepares us for the climate emergency. Join the call to #BuildBackBetter www.buildbackbetter.org.uk.
There is a debate now happening on our Forum page about the Government's response to this and industry responses to that - you are welcome to join in here.
Government Planning system reform
Another worrying change coming down the track, with a Planning Policy paper expected next month to set out a reform of the entire system. The government will launch a planning Policy Paper in July setting out our plan for comprehensive reform of England’s seven-decade old planning system.
Our website Forum page has information and debate on business responses - please join in with your thoughts here.
Incinerator Plan Changes
Locally a joint venture company of Hills and Bioenergy, NREL, behind the proposed 'gasification plant' in Westbury are intending to change their plans to a more straightforward, and even more polluting, conventional waste incinerator which would be operating in Westbury for the next 25+ years and taking over 250,000 tonnes of waste in every year. Not in line with carbon reduction, waste reuse etc.
Local MP Dr Murrison has already written to them and Wiltshire Council to express his deep concerns.
They are apparently going to submit a new planning application in July or August which means their schedule is well developed.
They are holding an online evening meeting at 6pm on 7 July to explain their plans and to take questions. To send questions in advance you need to go to their website here and if you want to join the meeting you’ll need to register here. It’s also on the WCA Forum.
Opposing New Roads
At least 30% of Wiltshire's carbon footprint comes from road transport, but Wiltshire Council and we are threatened by lots of new road building plans. Join the debate on our forum page here.
Our new website is up and running at www.wiltshireclimatealliance.org.uk with lots useful information - please give it a look. See our Facebook page for updates, link below.