Growing the green recovery was discussed on Saturday 13 March at a virtual conference organised by Action on Climate Emergency (ACE) Settle and area. Last autumn’s ACE conference ‘Making the Most of the Green Recovery’ heard presentations and discussed ideas around ‘building back better’. This conference took the next step by discussing how these and other ideas could be put into practice.
Developing the conference theme, the meeting heard from a wide-ranging panel of speakers. Neil Heseltine, chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority outlined the role of the national park, set up in 1954, in combating the climate emergency and species decline. He told the conference of the actions they were taking in the areas of farming and land management, 95% of which is privately owned, housing and tourism. The aim was to make the national park an example of sustainable living which would be a model to others.
Anna Clayton a co-ordinator from Food Futures North Lancashire spoke about how the food system interacts with climate change and how to achieve a thriving local food system that is healthy, resilient and fair. Food Futures was made up of representatives from the local farming community, local food businesses, the public sector, Lancaster City and County council, NGOs, community food groups and our local academic institutions. She explained that through the activities of six working groups they were drawing up a Sustainable Food Action Plan for Lancaster District which other areas could also benefit from.
Carol Douglas Woodlands Development Officer for the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust explained that they were a small charity doing big things in the Yorkshire Dales. Since they were established in 1996 the trust, working with many different organisations, had helped plant around 1.5 million broadleaf trees and creating native woodlands, an important tool in combating climate change. Working with school groups and communities, the aim was to create 6,000 hectares of woodland habitat in the Yorkshire Dales National Park by 2030. With a grant from the European Outdoor Conservation Association they were working to collect and recycle plastic tree guards used to protect trees in the early years of growth. The trust’s Plastic Free Woodlands project was also examining biodegradable alternatives.
John Forbes from Cumbria Action for Sustainability’s ‘Zero Carbon Cumbria’ project explained that their aim was to make Cumbria carbon-neutral by 2037 and bring about a more sustainable way of life for all. A registered charity and a company, it brought together seventy organisations ranging from local authorities, the NHS and NFU to community groups and individuals around a radical programme of action to achieve its objective. He stressed the importance of citizen and community engagement in the project.
He concluded by saying that on 12 March they had released a report The potential for green jobs in Cumbria which calculated that around 9,000 jobs could be created for local people during a 15-year ‘transition period’ towards the county reaching net-zero. The report was drawn up in co-operation with Green House Think Tank and Opal Research and Consulting Ltd.
The speakers were followed by a wide-ranging questions and answers session which included discussing ways of reducing food waste, the environmental impact of housing development, and the government’s decision to now hold a public inquiry into the proposed Whitehaven coal mine.
Earlier Richard Boothman reported on the 17 March launch of the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission. This independent partnership will bring together representatives from the private, public and civic sectors to tackle the climate crisis, making it the biggest regional climate commission in the UK.
The Commission’s focus will be on reducing carbon emissions as quickly as possible and ensuring people in Yorkshire are prepared to cope with the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, heatwaves and sea level rise.
Richard will be posting an article on the commission following its launch.
A preliminary record of the conference can be found at: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/UqTvT1qA9eyckuARk0f2-qUrBVfeSsaxOBEibrk5Oc9i3pTafQ0RjkBGce-bK6I.Jyrw4DW7w8ZXIcTQ