Thursday, 31 January 2008

Working together can save West Somerset environment - and the £ in your pocket

WEST Somerset residents can make a difference to their environment by working together – that is the message emerging from a climate change strategy being drafted by the district’s local strategic partnership.
Loretta Whetlor, chairman of the West Somerset Strategic Partnership, which commissioned the strategy, said the draft document also showed climate change was hitting residents’ pockets as hard as it was affecting the environment.
Mrs Whetlor said: “Because climate change is such a big issue, some people think they do not have the power to influence it.
“Our strategy shows that by working together, we can make a very real difference to the environment locally and our pockets.”
The strategy’s hard-hitting facts about West Somerset reveal:
  • Installing insulation into 5,500 electrically heated homes would save the local economy at least £3.5 million and reduce CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year
  • Currently, grid-imported electricity costs the district’s domestic sector an estimated £11 million a year
  • Moving five per cent of households to wood fuel would prevent £300,000 leaving the district’s economy
  • If 10 per cent of diesel transport switched to biodiesel, expenditure would be reduced by £1.4 million

The draft strategy showed climate change was happening - and happening now.
West Somerset should expect milder, wetter winters, while sea levels were predicted to rise.
By reducing CO2 emissions, West Somerset’s reliance on fossil fuel energy would also be reduced.
The draft climate change strategy, entitled ‘Developing a Low Carbon Economy’, explains the issues and suggests ways in which people can reduce CO2 emissions.
West Somerset Council’s economic development and tourism portfolio holder, Councillor Michael Downes, said: “Rising energy prices and climate change affect everybody.
“More than £60 million is spent on energy in West Somerset every year, and all this money leaves the local economy.
“We need to encourage cleaner, greener businesses, and help develop and promote eco-friendly tourism options
“Every person living in West Somerset can do their bit to help.
“By making relatively easy lifestyle changes, we can all reduce our carbon footprint.”
‘Developing a Low Carbon Economy’ has been sent to a wide range of consultees, from parish councils to big businesses.
Forum 21, which drafted the document, is keen to hear the views of local residents so that everybody’s view is considered and incorporated into the final strategy.
Lorna Scott, of Forum 21, said: “A lot of time and research has gone into the strategy and we feel it will be quite an eye-opener when local people realise just how much money and energy is wasted at the expense of our environment - much of it unnecessarily.
“Climate change is often associated with gloomy news, but our strategy shows how we intend to turn this challenge into a positive story for the people of West Somerset, our environment, and our economy.”
The strategy can be found on West Somerset Council’s website at
There is a questionnaire which can be completed online, or downloaded and returned to Sarah Wilsher, West Somerset Council, Killick Way, Williton, TA4 4QA, or emailed to
The deadline for comments is Wednesday, April 30.
There will also be a series of presentations for businesses and the public on the draft strategy which include:

  • For the business sector - Thursday, February 14, from 6.15 pm at the Queens Hall, Minehead, hosted by Minehead and District Chamber of Commerce
  • For everybody - Tuesday, February 26, from 7 pm at the Forum 21 meeting in the Methodist Church, Watchet
  • For everybody – Thursday, March 6, at a public meeting from 7 pm to 9 pm at Exmoor House, Dulverton.

Envision, a partnership of not-for-profit independent environmental business support organisations in the South West, is also running free training in February on how businesses can implement environmental measures, use sustainable design and construction, manage waste, and discover more about renewable energy.
For more information on the February training options visit or call 01823 366830.

  • Our photograph taken on Minehead sea front shows (left to right) s Loretta Whetlor, Councillor Michael Downes, Lorna Scott, and strategic partnership manager Simon Hankinson. Photo submitted.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.