Steyning 10:10 is joining forces with green groups across the South East to get our District and County Councils to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’. This is all about ramping up our ambitions and getting climate change onto council’s agendas in a much more central and explicit way than it has been in the past. It starts with a council motion to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’, but it needs to be followed by concrete steps decided at the local level to galvanise action.
The Climate Emergency movement started in Australia, but has been gathering pace rapidly. It has really taken off in the UK since Bristol declared in November 2018. Over 40 councils have declared since then, including Oxford, Brighton and Hove, London, Frome and Totnes. The ClimateEmergency.uk website provides an up to date picture of what’s happening, plus some excellent resources.
We are campaigning to get Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council to follow suit. Happily, we’re not alone. There are many others in our area with similar ideas, and after a packed meeting of green groups in Horsham on 2nd February we’ve joined forces to create a new coordinating group – the South East Climate Alliance – to campaign for this across the region. The campaign is being coordinated by Sally Barnard, from Steyning, so we’re hoping local supporters will be able to help us.
To find out more about the campaign, check out the SECA website or stay in touch via Facebook: @seclimatealliance or Twitter: @SECA_UK
West Sussex County Council
We now have some significant progress to report! Following a county-wide campaign led by SECA, West Sussex County Council passed an amended motion on 5th April to step up action on climate change. The amendment was tabled by David Barling, the Steyning representative on the Council. In front of a public gallery packed with climate protestors, it was passed unanimously!
Protesters were disappointed that the amended motion ‘noted’ a climate emergency, rather than ‘declaring it’. But it did pledge the council to aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, well ahead of national targets. Here’s a blog article on what happened, which SECA is presenting as a potential ‘tipping point’ – provided the motion is followed up by concrete action.
Horsham District Council
At the District level, we’re using the upcoming District Council election on May 2nd to jump start this campaign. We’ve contacted candidates from all parties to garner their support for Horsham to declare a climate emergency. You can help by writing letters and speaking with candidates. We need to show how widespread the concern is about this issue – and encourage them to get behind the idea. The idea is to be deliberately non-political, as this issues goes far wider than party politics.
We’re holding a special ‘meet the candidates’ event in Steyning so you can get to know your local candidates and hear what they have to say. It’s part of Green Drinks on April 24th, at Steyning Cricket Club. Doors open at 7.30pm. The event starts at 8.00pm.
We have set up a working group in Steyning to coordinate our efforts on this and will be reporting back on progress via our regular email updates and at Green Drinks. We’ll be looking for volunteers to get behind this and help with writing letters and approaching candidates. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved.