LAST week’s report on Somerset West and Taunton Council’s debate on Extinction Rebellion’s petition needs a correction.

Another councillor did say the demand for a citizens’ assembly was bonkers; but comments, attributed to me, that the council’s current actions on the climate emergency were sufficient are not correct.

During the debate, I said progress was being made, but that more action was needed, along with resources and officer time for new policies and projects.

I said we should look at outcomes from citizens’ assemblies elsewhere, including a national one planned by parliamentary select committees.

However, it would be expensive for all local authorities to hold their own and this did not seem necessary.

READ MORE: Somerset councillor dismisses Extinction Rebellion idea as 'bonkers'

Somerset and SWT climate plan frameworks are now being issued for consultation, alongside a series of events. This will be followed by county-wide and district action plans to be prepared for adoption by early summer.

Personally, I would have preferred an approach closer to the one in Devon, where Councils have issued a joint declaration and called for ideas.

An independent task force has been established to produce an evidence-led plan, with recommendations to be put to a representative citizens’ assembly later this year. The assembly will have the opportunity to develop informed opinions and review policy recommendations. Decisions will then be taken by Devon councils and it will be interesting to see how these compare to those in Somerset.

As a member of the Somerset-wide and SWT working groups, I will push for action to achieve carbon neutrality as quickly as possible.

There should be much councils and the community can do, although we need constraints removed and support provided by government.

We will also need to ensure new policies are implemented fairly, so that changes are affordable for all and extra assistance is provided where needed.


Green Party, Wiveliscombe and District Ward

Somerset West and Taunton Council