AN environment group has merged with a community organisation to create the West Somerset Green Forum (WSGF).

Forum 21, which launched in 1998, has joined forces with West Somerset Together to launch and support carbon-reducing and nature-supporting initiatives.

Projects include Minehead Farmers' Market, The Steam Coast Trail, Surviving Winter and Woodcombe Community Woodland.

The forum is now recruiting directors to its board of management and will advertise volunteering opportunities on its new website.

WSGF held its first annual general meeting (AGM) on Monday, December 5. 

The AGM was addressed by councillor Dixie Darch, who leads the climate change response for the county council and Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT).

Cllr Darch spoke about the councils' plans drawn up after declaring a climate emergency in 2019 and an ecology emergency in 2020.

Their climate plans were ranked the best in the UK at the start of this year by Climate Emergency UK, a not-for-profit cooperative.

She and Jonathan Stevens, SWT's assistant director for climate change, then discussed the challenges councils are facing to achieving their aims.

Cllr Darch said: “However, there are barriers to achieving the aims, the main one being funding, and there is inevitably a gap between intentions and achievements as councils’ powers are limited and what is needed is policy changes at national government level, for which SWT lobbies.

“Where funds are available, the timescale for bids is often unrealistic and unhelpful.” 

At the end of the meeting, she said: “Change is needed at international and national level and at behaviour change level, which is hard for people when the infrastructure is not there.

“Research shows that if you just frighten people, it ends in paralysis. People need to be engaged in a constructive way.”

A new WSFG website was introduced after the AGM (

It will have information on its past and future activities and volunteering opportunities.

For more information, email or call on 01643 709478 or Hester on 01643 821768.