South Brent Parish Council

Declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency

South Brent Parish Council notes that:

1. The global scientific consensus is that humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that human activities are estimated to have already caused 0.8-1.2°Celsius of global warming above pre-industrial levels.
2. To reduce the chance of runaway global warming and limit the effects of climate breakdown, it is imperative that we as a species significantly reduce our CO2 (carbon equivalent) emissions to less than 2 tonnes per person per year as soon as possible. Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption.
3. Individuals cannot be expected to make this reduction on their own. Society needs to change its laws, taxation, infrastructure, etc., to make low carbon living easier and the new norm.
4. Current plans and actions are not enough. The world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit before 2050. (i)
5. The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in November 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause, compared to a 1.5°C. However, limiting global warming to 1.5° C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities. (ii)
6. Local Councils around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency. (iii)

South Brent Parish Council believes that:

1. All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of climate breakdown. Local governments that recognize this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies. It is important for the residents of this parish and the UK that parishes, towns, cities and counties commit to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible.
2. Parishes, Towns, Cities and Local Authorities at all tiers are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions; they are well placed to help decarbonize villages and more remote areas as they have closer links with their residents. (iv)
3. The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be humanity’s number one priority.
4. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities, as well as improved personal, social and environmental well-being for people, locally and worldwide.

South Brent Parish Council thus:

1. Declares a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency’;

2. Aims to encourage and support the community of South Brent to: a) become carbon neutral by 2030, considering both production and consumption emissions (scope 1, 2, 3 (v)) b) increase biodiversity;

3. South Brent Parish Council will encourage and support the community of South Brent to fulfil some of the aims in the South Brent Parish Plan 2016+ namely:

“The community will take steps to sustain itself, socially and economically and with opportunities for all who wish to make their lives here. This will include affordable and environmentally friendly homes to enable families and individuals with low to moderate incomes to continue to live and work within South Brent. It is also about our broader impact on the environment, which in turn impacts on us, economically and socially.

We will play our part in the global efforts to mitigate climate change and resource scarcity, in ways that are compatible with the need to maintain and improve the quality of life in the community for all. We will therefore include locally produced energy solutions such as hydro, wind and other renewables, encourage more domestic recycling and in so doing strengthening the local community and protecting the long term economic, social and environmental health of the village.”

a. Carbon Reduction: “Work to assess the Parish’s carbon footprint and identify and incentivise a programme to reduce it to an agreed series of targets compatible with UK goals and the need to achieve sustainability across the community.”

b. Environment & Renewable Energy: “Identify opportunities to protect the local natural environment and minimise negative impacts to ensure that a healthy and vibrant natural environment underpins the quality of life and health of the community. Support community and household renewable energy projects that complement our distinctive environment. Locally owned renewable energy schemes will support the local economy and provide job opportunities, reduce the reliance of fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions. Reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency. Provide help in reducing fuel poverty and the carbon footprint of the community and to reduce domestic and commercial water consumption.”

c. ERE 1. Encourage and commission surveys to record and monitor wildlife, and management plans to promote and sustain our natural environment and biodiversity.

d. ERE 2. Encourage domestic, agricultural and industrial renewable energy use. Raise awareness of the benefits and encourage the inclusion of such systems in new buildings. Support for community owned renewable energy generation schemes and social enterprises.

e. ERE 3. Encourage and promote energy schemes which reduce the carbon footprint of the parish, including retrofitting, the collection of rain and wastewater for garden and grey water usage. Support local micro-hydro schemes where appropriate.

f. Traffic & Transport: “…maintain recent improvements in public transport serving South Brent and a reduction in the need for car usage to encourage other means of travel, to minimise the need for individual car use and thereby reduce congestion and the community carbon footprint.”

g. TT 3 Maintain, and where possible lobby to improve, public transport, local ring-and-ride services and develop community transport options

h. TT 4. Improve the cycling experience: increase cycle walk lanes; shared use signage, develop SB bike bank project; e-bike charging points.

i. H 3. Favour planning applications which provide sustainable and energy efficient housing using sustainable materials and renewable technologies

4. Calls on Westminster, Devon County Council and South Hams District Council to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;

5. Calls on Westminster to appoint Citizens Assemblies to develop the policies to deliver this target;

6. Agrees it will work with other local authority organisations such as neighbouring town and parish Councils, DALC (Devon Association of Local Councils) and appropriate government departments (both within the UK and internationally) and other organisations to determine and implement best practice methods to limit global warming to less than 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels;

7. Agrees it will continue to work with partners across the district, county and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;

8. Agrees it will place this issue on Parish Council agendas to agree strategies and action plans;

9. Agrees to form an Advisory Group that will produce a scoping document to develop a council strategy that will support this declaration, leading to the group forming a 10 year climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan as a working document for the Parish of South Brent.

10. Pledge to do whatever is in its power to make South Brent carbon neutral by 2030

11. When making other decisions, including planning decisions, take into account the effect on the progress towards the carbon neutral target and increasing biodiversity

12. Where necessary consider a partial diversion of funds to reinvigorate the actions outlined in the Climate Emergency Declaration that help achieve the target

13. Regularly review progress and consider acting on recommendations to address this emergency

14. Explain and inform people in the Parish and beyond about the implications of the emergency, about the measures we are supporting, and actions individuals can take themselves to mitigate the crisis

15. Support and work with Sustainable South Brent and their Zero Carbon Group together with other organisations throughout the parish and provide SBPC Councillor/s as a point of contact.



Dated 26th November 2019


I. World Resources Institute:
II. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °s Celsius:
III. For example Bristol and Manchester City Councils: Also US cities, Berkley: And the C40 cities:
IV. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, provides many examples of good practice, models and toolkits for Climate Change Adaptation and Urban Resilience:
V. Scope 1,2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas protocol explained:

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