Councillor Neil Moore, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council has penned an open letter to residents, responding to the Climate Emergency facing the County.
In the letter, he said:
I felt it was important to contact you to inform you about what the Council has been doing in relation to the Climate Change Emergency that we declared last year.
Responding to this issue is a key priority for the Council particularly after we joined Welsh Government and Local Authorities from across the United Kingdom in recognising the seriousness of the situation.
In declaring the emergency, we sought to build on a firm foundation of work that has been undertaken over a number of years to address the challenge of climate change in the Vale of Glamorgan.
That is why we have installed solar panels on Council buildings and increased the use of teleconferencing to reduce travel, minimising our carbon footprint. Addressing climate change is and remains a central aim of the Council.
This commitment is also reflected in our Corporate Plan, covering 2020-2025, which includes a Wellbeing Objective focused specifically on the environment. Detail on how we will take forward specific work to address climate change is also set out in our Annual Delivery Plan. Therefore, a great deal of activity has taken place, or is planned, to tackle climate change in our area. However, we are fully aware that responding to the emergency and reducing our emissions to net zero before 2030 will require a great deal more work.
Since declaring the climate emergency, we have held discussions through the Vale of Glamorgan Public Services Board with young people and others from across the Vale to find out the key environmental issues important to them.
Similarly, we have conducted a series of workshops with our staff which have helped to identify the opportunities for us to take more innovative approaches to tackling climate change.
What is clear from these discussions is that there is a wealth of knowledge in our communities and across the organisation, and a genuine desire to embrace the types of changes, small and large, necessary to address this emergency.
While we were in the process of formulating our organisational response to this climate emergency, as you know, another unfolded.
Over the last nine months, the coronavirus pandemic has required us to focus on keeping communities in the Vale safe and well, and while we know that the pandemic continues to have an impact on all of our lives, we must recognise that the Climate Emergency will still be an issue we have to consider.
In developing our coronavirus Recovery Strategy, we have identified the need to respond to the Climate Emergency as a major priority. Addressing it will require the type of focus and collaboration that we have seen in the Vale of Glamorgan and across Wales in response to the pandemic.
This month we joined Public Services Board partners, including Natural Resources Wales, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, South Wales Police and Glamorgan Voluntary Services, in agreeing a Climate Emergency Charter for the Vale of Glamorgan Public Services Board.
We now hope to begin a conversation on our response to this important matter with you. Over the next month, we will be starting a conversation on this issue through social media as well as launching an online survey.
This is both to share some of the good work that has taken place so far and to ask for your help and ideas on what more we could be doing.
Whilst our work to address the climate emergency continues, for example by recently confirming we are to build the first net-zero in-use carbon schools in Wales. We will also publish our Climate Change Action Plan early in 2021, which will reflect your feedback. We intend it to be a ‘living’ document designed to evolve in response to future challenges and opportunities, ensuring the Council is well placed to respond to this emergency, as the situation develops.
You can find out more about the climate change survey and action plan via https://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/our_council/consultation/Responding-to-the-Climate-Emergency-in-the-Vale-of-Glamorgan.aspx