CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT ALARM BELLS ARE RINGING EVER LOUDER
The following news reports, taken from the BBC News website this week, are but the tip of the iceberg in terms of the evidence concerning mankind’s impact on the planet, we universally call home, and the underwhelming impact that efforts to mitigate it are having.
News Report 1
Next year will be warmer than this one, and one of the hottest on record, the UK Met Office is forecasting.
Predictions suggest it will be the 10th year in a row the global temperature is at least 1C above average.
The Met Office explained that a cooling effect known as La Niña will likely end after being in place for three years – part of a natural weather cycle.
It also noted the warming impact of human-induced climate change. Scientific evidence shows that climate change is driving up the global temperature.
Governments globally have promised to cut emissions to keep temperature rise below 1.5C to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
The world has already warmed by around 1.1C compared to the period before the Industrial Revolution in 1750-1900 when humans began burning large amounts of fossil fuels, releasing warming gases into the atmosphere.
Temperatures in 2023 are forecast to be between 1.08C and 1.32C above the pre-industrial average.
The warmest year since records began in 1850 was in 2016, when meteorologists said the weather phenomenon known as El Niño boosted global temperatures.
But the past three years have been affected by another weather pattern called La Niña when cooler-than-average sea temperatures in the Pacific lowered the average global temperature.
Malcolm Prior, BBC News Rural Affairs team
News Report 2
Government efforts to improve England’s environment and to protect the natural world are falling “far short” of what is needed, a watchdog has warned.
A report by the independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) also says the country is facing a “deeply concerning decline in biodiversity”.
It found many of the government’s 23 environmental targets were at significant risk of not being achieved.
The government said it would consider the report carefully.
The study assessed 32 environmental areas – from species numbers to air and water quality improvements – and found nine trends were improving, 11 were static, and eight were deteriorating. In four areas, there was not enough data to make a reliable assessment.
“The situation is poor across the board, with adverse trends across marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments,” it said.
Of the 23 environmental targets it looked at, it assessed 14 as “off track” while the remaining nine could not be assessed because the evidence was not available.
A spokesman for Defra said it would publish a new environmental improvement plan later this month that would help it to meet its targets to protect the natural world, tackle climate change and halt the decline in species populations by 2030.
The OEP – set up under the 2021 Environment Act to hold the government and other public bodies to account – said there had been “a frequent failure” by the government to meet its own legally-binding targets.
It said the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis had worsened a lack of coherence in environmental strategy within Defra and across government.
Georgina Rannard, BBC News Climate & Science
It is easy to lay the blame at the door of Government at national and local level, and businesses both large and small for the situation we find ourselves in globally and expect them to ‘do something about it’. But the reality is that we all have a part to play in ‘doing something about it’. That said, we need to continue to put pressure on our National Government in particular, because it is only there that the policy changes and funding needed to turn words into deeds can happen.
In 2019 Bridport Town Council along with many other councils declared a Climate Emergency. Unlike many councils BTC also committed funds totalling £100,000 towards delivering climate change mitigation projects.
Projects already in delivered include:
- Installation of double glazing at Mountfield
- Installation of solar panels to provide energy generation and charging facilities at Plottingham car park
- Establishing and delivering the Energy Champions programme
- Implementation of a procurement policy for BTC that supports a net zero carbon future whilst promoting local businesses tackling the climate emergency.
- Adoption of a ‘Climate First’ planning policy based on policies in the Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan cross referenced with ‘rising to the Climate Crisis’.
- Working with Bridport Business Chamber to: promote the reduction of Single Use Plastics; promote locally produced goods; promote shopping local eg Totally Locally, and encourage energy reduction measures (i.e. keeping shop doors shut in winter)
- Climate impact is now one of the key determinants in all grant giving.
- Development of an Investment Plan to support businesses in the transition to a net zero future and develop sustainable local economy.
- Replaced a diesel power grounds maintenance vehicle with an electric one which is charged using power generated by the Plottingham solar array.
- Supported tree planting initiatives across the town
- Revised the verge and opens spaces grass management policy to make it more wildlife friendly.
- Supported local food groups in a variety of ways including facilitating the annual Food and Beer Festival and part funding initiatives.
- Introduction of a Carbon Offset Budget which sits alongside the Fiscal Budget.
The UN Sustainability Development Goals provide the global framework.
With the limited funds it has available I believe Bridport Town Council is doing all it can to work towards achieving a sustainable future for our town. But I am sure there will be local residents who think it should be doing more. By all means challenge the Town Council to do more, but as you do so question what National Government, Dorset Council, and you yourself are doing to work towards achieving a sustainable future.
HALL AND WOODHOUSE COMMUNITY CHEST
The Hall & Woodhouse Brewery, located right in the heart of Blandford Forum, has been brewing Badger beers sine 1777. Today, the family owned brewery operates over 180 public houses and inns (both traditional and contemporary) at the heart of their communities across the South of England.
A strong sense of community is at the heart of the Hall and Woodhouse ethos and the Community Chest is an obvious manifestation of it in action.
The Community Chest is now in its 21st year of giving a helping hand to local people in supporting and strengthening their community, by encouraging charities and community interest companies to apply for a grant to go towards improving their local area. The Community Chest in 2022 included a pool of funds totalling £50,000 pledged by Hall and Woodhouse.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the the awards evening held at the brewery’s visitor centre. Attending the event was a pleasure but coming away with a cheque for £1000 for Bridport’s Citizens Advice topped off the evening.
A few days layer I was thrilled to present Rovarn Wickremasinghe and some of the CA team with the cheque.
I would encourage Bridport community groups to have a look at the Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest when thinking about applying for funding for a project. Click HERE to find out more.
BEST DRESSED CHRISTMAS WINDOW AWARD
On Monday morning I had the pleasure of present Bridport’s world renowned hatters T. Snooks with the Christmas Cheer cup for the Best Dressed Christmas Window.
The windows at Snooks always look fantastic but this year their Christmas window was a particularly striking one. Well done and congratulations on behalf of the Christmas Cheer team.
AND FINALLY – BRIDPORT COMMUNITY ORCHARD WASSAIL
News about Bridport Community Orchard’s annual Wassail celebration is spreading. The Western Daily Press, a regional newspaper covering parts of South West England, mainly Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset as well as the metropolitan areas of Bath and North East Somerset and the Bristol area had the picture below on its front page on Tuesday morning.
The images below taken by local photographer Tim Riss capture the spirit of the occasion beautifully.