... what has happened since?
In December 2019, Council agreed 5 recommendations from the Climate Task and Finish Forum. Progress on implementing these has been considerable. Exmouth Town Council has:
Agreed the composition and terms of reference of the new permanent Working Party on the Climate and Ecological Emergency, at the recent videoconference Council meeting, the first since lockdown. We are now getting back towards a normal programme of meetings, and as soon as a date is set the new group will have a first meeting. Transition Exmouth representative (s) will sit on that group.
Commissioned an Environmental Audit on the impact ETC activities have on carbon emissions and biodiversity. A draft report has been received, and the final report is awaited.
Endorsed the 10 point joint TE / ETC plan, with early action on 3 points, described in more detail in separate articles, the eco-hub, the website, and solar panels at Gorfin Hall.
Several other projects have either had starts delayed, or been stopped in their tracks by lockdown. The water refill station project is well under way, but has been set back by the inability to carry out certain work, because of lockdown. The water refill station project is well under way, but has been set back by the inability to carry out certain work, because of lockdown.
Allocated the agreed budget of £2,500, and funds are being spent on the environmental audit, and website design. The solar panels at Gorfin Hall have been funded from a separate budget
Carried out regular lobbying of EDDC and DCC eg on cycling developments, and tree planting is taking place. In our lobbying, we recognise the progress Devon CC are making with their Climate Emergency Response Group, their convening of a Citizen's assembly, and EDDC's recent progress on the issue by setting up two new portfolios with strong environmental input. Many local government activities are taking place against a very difficult lockdown background, with people working in unusual and restricted conditions.
A particular recent focus of lobbying has been of Devon County Councillors involved in decision making on the Roadspace reallocation funding from Government, which is managed in Devon by the County Highway department. The criteria for the fund were very difficult for Exmouth to meet, involving routes in town where commuting to work by bus and train takes place, and where a few "shovel ready" changes could be implemented to encourage cycling to work rather than driving for those displaced from the bus. Many came together to lobby for the money to be used for safer cycling on the seafront, an area very important to the town's economy but not travel to work by bus. We look forward to further Government money being available later in the year, and hope the criteria are more favourable then.
The Plastics Reduction Working Party has achieved some acceleration towards accreditation of Exmouth as a Surfers against Sewage plastic free community, and we now see Plastic Free Exmouth as a key partner.
It can be hoped that there is a recognition, especially at Government level, that we cannot return to life as it was, and efforts are put in place for a "green recovery".
Report from Cllr Tim Dumper, Climate TAFF Chairman. Comments to Transition Exmouth