Warwick District’s People’s Inquiry Panel on Climate Change reconvened on 24 February for an update on the Council’s climate change work since the panel gave its series of recommendations last year.
Out of a random selection of 5,000 residents, thirty people were chosen to form the panel in late 2020, reflecting the district’s population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, geography, and attitude to climate change.
They were asked to consider, “what do we need to do in Warwick district to help address climate change by 2030?”
Through a number of sessions with a series of expert commentators focussing on areas such as transport, housing, waste, and finance, the panel submitted their recommendations to the Council in February 2021.
Amongst other recommendations, the panel asked the Council to:
- Promote and encourage cycling by improving cycle paths and providing secure bike storage
- Ensure every new house constructed in the district is carbon neutral
- Undertake a communications campaign to encourage everyone to take action and make small lifestyle changes
- Encourage the reuse of items to reduce the amount sent to landfill
- Retrofit Council owned properties to improve energy efficiency
The panel were updated on the range of work the Council has undertaken in the past year, strengthened by the recent adoption of the Climate Change Action Programme, including:
The panel were also advised of the work being undertaken to adopt a net zero carbon development plan document which requires all new builds to be zero carbon, as well as the recent work to provide a series of free webinars for SMEs in the area to help them become carbon neutral.
Panel members responded with enthusiasm for the Council’s progress and commitment to tackling climate change in the area and commended the work undertaken, particularly against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and amidst limited resources.
“It is great to see the effort the Council makes to tackle Climate Change. I appreciate that they have limited – human and financial – resources and not everything is within the remit of the District Council,” says Ignaty Dyakov-Richmond, a resident from Leamington and member of the Panel.
“I do hope that they feel supported by what we said at the last meeting and will be bold in implementing solutions which will help people live healthier and more sustainable lifestyles – for the planetary and human sake. There is no reason why Warwick District cannot lead the way for others in this country and beyond.”
Councillor Alan Rhead, Cabinet member for Climate Change, said:
“The input and feedback from the panel has been invaluable to us in recognising the areas that people want us to focus on. I’m grateful to them for the time and commitment they have given to tackling the climate emergency.
“We have achieved an incredible amount in the past year, but there’s always more to do. All of the Council’s services are playing their part in addressing climate change and we are using our budgets in areas like housing, assets and waste management to make a real difference. In addition, the Council has recently agreed to provide £500,000 for the Climate Action Fund that will allow us to continue our work, in addition to £140,000 for our large-scale tree planting programme.
“Our ambition is bold but it’s achievable – to become a net zero carbon Council by 2025 and for South Warwickshire to be low carbon by 2030. Working together – residents, businesses, Councils – we can achieve this.”
Find out more about the Council’s Climate Change Action Programme and see what steps you can take to reduce your impact.
People’s Inquiry Panel on Climate Change
In submitting their recommendations to the Council, the inquiry members wrote and supported the following statement:
“We are just a group of ordinary people from the Warwick District. We are a diverse group who were randomly selected to join this Climate Change Inquiry. We have different viewpoints but have reached a shared understanding. We now recognise we are in a climate emergency. We must act now all together and with urgency.
“Through our conversations with experts and with each other we have come to recognise the importance of immediate action.
“We are not experts, and we recognise that it may not be 100% possible to implement all our recommendations immediately, however we ask all local organisations and institutions including Warwick District Council to take our recommendations as a mandate to be as ambitious as you can, within the areas we have highlighted, in responding to the emergency we face.
“This is everybody’s problem; everybody has a role to take action. We are just a small group of people but through our coming together we have become a group bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. We believe that to respond to our emergency the District Council and other organisations must harness the energy and enthusiasm of our people and our communities. We must all make a change for climate change. Your district needs you.
“We believe the solutions are out there already we just need to make it happen. If we can’t find the examples, then we must be those examples.
“The District Council and others must look for every opportunity to influence all who have a role in our district. We must make this happen and the frameworks must be in place to make sure there is accountability (named people) and monitoring (performance indicators) so that everybody can check progress.
“THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.”