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Scilly Council declares Climate Emergency

Members declared a Climate Emergency at last week's Full Council meeting.

Some 51 local authorities across the UK have passed Climate Emergency motions, including Cornwall Council, which has set a target for the county to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Jonathan Smith put forward the motion, which follows last month’s march by the islands’ schoolchildren to protest the lack of action on climate change.

He said: ""Climate change is a huge threat to us on the Isles of Scilly. We are vulnerable to sea level rises, changing weather patterns and extremes in weather. Our coastline is being steadily eroded, risk of flooding rises, and let's not forget that most of Hugh Town is just a few feet above sea level. Changing weather patterns have, in my opinion, undoubtedly resulted in challenges for food production and our fresh water supplies.

"However tackling climate change is a global issue, and requires not just international political leadership, but for all citizens of the world to commit to reducing their carbon emissions - particularly those in industrialised countries like the UK.

"Today I have endorsed change on two levels; in March we were all reminded by our School children that it is their future we need to consider when taking actions today. So I have brought a Climate Emergency motion to Full Council today, and will be looking for support from Members that our Council becomes carbon neutral by 2030. This is ambitious, but achievable - and we will be in good company of the 51 local authorities in the UK that have already made such a pledge.

"At the same time, this time with a Transition Scilly hat on, I am encouraging all residents and business to switch to a 100% renewable electricity supply as soon as possible. It's a really quick and easy way to cut 10% of your carbon footprint as soon as you make that switch. We've done some legwork on this and got some good resources on the Transition Scilly blog to help people make informed decisions. Turns out you may even save money on a renewable energy tariff too!

"Moving forward I think this could kick start a new movement on Scilly whereby we encourage all individuals, families, organisations and businesses to take the 'Climate Challenge'. Who can reduce their carbon emissions fastest? What tips can people share with each other? How can we all contribute to making Scilly a genuinely 'green' destination, with added multiple benefits to tourism?I'm looking forward to helping this change happen, and for us to be part of the solution rather than the problem."

Transition Scilly is a not-for-profit community group that encourages all initiatives that reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lowers carbon emissions on the islands. It has run the Community Orchard at Trenoweth since 2010.


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