FOR many of us in the Taunton area, three positive things stood out from the news that our Liberal Democrat-led district council - SW&T - had passed the proposed budget for the current year.

Not only had the council successfully balanced the books in very difficult times, but also there were no cuts to services.

In addition, the pledge to support various sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives, in line with the local implementation of the Climate Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan, is to be maintained.

Very importantly, community action is at the heart of the plans for ecological regeneration and I’m delighted that, in line with this, the recent acquisition by SWT of the historic Fox’s Field at Tonedale is to give scope for a ‘green’ project led by the Wellington Transition Town voluntary group, who are about to canvass online the views of local people on how best to develop, care for and enjoy this much-loved public open space.

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In addition, both Taunton and Wellington hope to embark soon on ambitious and far-sighted plans to plant street trees in their town centres as well as some car parks.

And it’s worth remembering that as well as absorbing excess carbon emissions, trees transform towns and urban areas into pleasant places to live, work and shop while, at the same time, mitigating threats from flooding, giving cool shade and softening hard-edged man-made landscapes and structures.

I am also delighted that as a district council, SWT voted to support the nationwide Climate and Ecology Bill going before Parliament and to write to our MPs asking them to challenge the decision to authorise the use of neonicoid insecticides on sugar-beet, given the significant risk to pollinating bees.

If, as a community, we are in any way to beat the threat posed by the climate and ecology emergency, our local council and we as individuals must continue applying pressure to central government for pivotal changes in future environmental policy.