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Gloucestershire Business News

Forest of Dean residents invited to have their say on climate emergency plans

Residents, organisations and businesses in the Forest of Dean are being asked what they think about the District Council's proposals for driving forward the local response to the climate crisis.

The Council's draft Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan 2022-25 sets out ambitious plans to tackle the climate and ecological emergency, and puts forward a package of key actions the Council would like to take under the seven broad headings of built and natural environments, renewable energy, transport, economy, waste and community.

Councillor Chris McFarling, cabinet member for the climate emergency at the Forest of Dean District Council, said: "Protecting the local environment and addressing the climate emergency is an absolute priority for this Council. We are forging ahead and making changes to how Council operations and assets are managed so as to be carbon neutral by 2030, but we want to hear what residents think about our wider plans to get the district to net-zero too."

Just some of the proposals up for comment include the installation of electrical vehicle charging points - making it easier for motorists to move away from fossil-based fuels and to improve air quality - changes to planning policy to support greater energy efficiency in new builds and encouraging more people to retrofit their existing homes with measures to make them eco-friendly. The draft plan also looks at how local infrastructure can be adapted to support 'greener' travel by creating more cycle ways and footpaths and how sustainable drainage systems can be used to alleviate flood-risk.

"Some of the actions identified in the plan are within the District Council's control but others are where we think we can add most value by working alongside stakeholders and supporting local communities to help them take their own steps to mitigate the effects of climate change. This consultation is a real opportunity for those living and working in the area to tell us whether they agree with our ideas and to add their own.

Councillor McFarling continued: "There is much to be done and we must act quickly to meet the massive challenge we are facing locally, nationally and worldwide. Globally, the six hottest years on record have all occurred in the last six years and this trend is deeply concerning. The UK is already experiencing the effects of climate change, including more extreme weather patterns leading to floods and heatwaves. Such impacts have already been felt here in the Forest of Dean and the wider Gloucestershire area, which has suffered some of the worst flooding in the country in recent years. The floods in Lydney in 2020 are a shocking reminder of the havoc that increased frequency and severity of heavy rainfall brings."

"We must respond to this crisis as a matter of urgency and work together to shape the district to make it environmentally and economically resilient, and to be blunt, protect all those that live here from what is fast becoming the inevitable impacts of a changing climate. We would urge everybody to take a look at our proposals and comment as soon as possible."

The Council will review all the feedback it receives before developing a final plan from which more detailed and specialist projects will emerge.

To take account of new technological and scientific advances, plus future national and international policy, the new strategy will be adaptable while the action plan will be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure the Council is on track with meeting its climate change objectives.

All areas of the community are invited to provide feedback on the draft consultation documents, which can be found on the Council's website at: www.fdean.gov.uk/about-the-council/having-your-say/consultations/ 

The final closing date for responses is 23 September. Any questions should be directed to the District Council's sustainability team: climate.action@fdean.gov.uk.

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