News: Contribute to the future of Dorset: A User Guide for Responding to Dorset Council's Climate Emergency Strategy

In May 2019 Dorset Council declared a climate emergency and recently published a draft Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy. It contains eight key areas for action the Council can take to change the way it delivers services in the area. The Council have invited our feedback on their plans, this is an incredibly important opportunity to make our voices heard!

Planet Purbeck want to make it easier for more people to respond to the consultation. Therefore we've created this user guide to help. Please share it with your friends and remember to respond to the consultation by 20th January 2021.

We recommend you keep this page open in your browser along with the CEE Strategy as you complete the survey.

  • The online form can daunting, but as the consultation survey says, you can save your answers and come back to it later, or if time doesn’t allow part complete the sections that you find most important.
  • In order to help you fill in some of the “free text” comments boxes, we have added our collated ideas and comments in the sections for Dorset Council’s role, Carbon Targets and for each of the Topic Areas, including Making it Happen.
  • Ideally these ideas and comments will act as a stimulus for your own response, but where your time is short, those you agree with can just be “copied and pasted”.
  • Dorset Council say that they will be carefully considering whether people agree or disagree with their strategy and action plans, and why.
  • Dorset Council says the strategy proposes what, after considerable work, they think is achievable. If you honestly think it isn’t enough, it isn’t achievable or something else, disagree with it and say why.  If however, you think it’s a realistic, acceptable target to have in the strategy agree with it and say why.
  • Dorset Council say the comments will be fully considered and reported in summary form (and in full form in an appendix), and that the comments are very useful to them to understand people’s answers better, particularly on difficult questions like targets.

  1. Notes to help you respond to Dorset Council's Role
  • The Draft Strategy shows a welcome recognition of the severity and importance of the Climate and Ecological Emergency.  There is an awareness of the nature of the problems, and of the broad components of the Actions needed to tackle the crisis.
  • The Strategy is correct in stating that, if the 1.5 degree C warming target is to be reached, we have less than 10 years to reduce emissions to a sufficiently low level.  As is pointed out, 1.5 degree C warming “would lead to catastrophic impacts to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth” (p11).   As the December 2020 report of the UK Climate Change Committee notes, we need to achieve “a reduction in UK greenhouse gas emissions of 78% by 2035 relative to 1990, a 63% reduction from 2019.”
  • The Council must design all of its strategies and policies, in transport, land use and other areas where it CAN have a direct effect, around the central requirements of addressing climate and ecological targets.
  • Given the recommendations of the December 2020 Sixth Carbon Budget Report, it is clear that we need to move faster than previously envisaged, but that this can be achieved relatively cheaply, with huge benefits for job creation, quality of housing stock, public health, and ultimately poverty relief.
  • Dorset Council must ensure ALL policies and actions are based on the principle that achieving net-zero is not considered optional, but as essential. The role of this strategy, and the supporting Action Plans, must be to map out all of the change needed, even if some are not possible yet.  The term ‘emergency’ should have due consideration given to it.  Any activities incompatible with net-zero emissions by 2040 at the latest must be reconsidered.
  • Dorset Council must be innovative and dynamic in our pursuit of a net-zero Dorset, and should aim to lead and steer policy and action ahead of national initiatives.
  • There is obviously a need to remain flexible but not to allow the targets to become buried because of short term costs.
  • Priority should be given to targets that can be achieved very rapidly and will have the biggest effects on emissions.
  • There should be a clear focus on lobbying local MPs, the LGA, organisations representing business and community interests – the LEP, LNP, local CBI, Chambers of Commerce, NFU, etc. – and, of course, Central Government Ministers to include suggested target dates and budgets. A concerted effort is needed to encourage Central Government to create the legislative and financial environment within which the Council can proceed faster towards the mutually agreed goals of sustainability, public health, a fairer society, and a more prosperous Dorset.
  • The Strategy identifies two key areas in which progress to date has been inadequate:  transport and agriculture.  However, it concludes “Dorset Council only has control over the carbon emissions produced from its operations and this will be a key focus of our initial programme” (p.22).  It is difficult to see how the Council, as the Planning and Transport Authority for the area, can justify such a statement.  It is the policies adopted by previous authorities in relation to land use, transport and other policies (tourism, minerals extraction, waste management) that are responsible for the growth in traffic, tourism impact, and many of the rural land-use practices which are the cause of static or rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions.  Therefore, the Strategy underestimates the scope for influencing changes in emissions through its own policies, particularly in relation to land-use planning and transportation.
  • Actions to decarbonise Dorset must not be at the expense of other communities or ecology globally.  Dorset Council must make the commitment that getting to net zero will not push Dorset Council’s emissions to elsewhere in the world.

Researched and collated by Kathy Hollidge with thanks among others to East Dorset Friends of the Earth.

2. Notes to help you respond to Carbon Targets

  • The action plan lacks overall targets and dates.  Challenging targets reflecting the Climate and Ecological Emergency are required now, which focus action on what needs to be done by 2030 and 2035. Yearly reviews as Dorset Council plans and acts will be vital.
  • The Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) Sixth Carbon Budget shows that it is possible to identify the key areas for action, and to set strong, time-bound targets for reducing emissions.  These need to be translated into specific targets for Dorset.
  • It also needs to be recognised that the UK has much higher per capita emission levels than many countries, and so we shall need to go deeper in cutting emissions.  Fortunately, as the CCC Report shows, this is likely to be less expensive than previously thought, and to have revenue-saving benefits, especially in the areas of health, energy poverty and reducing unemployment  

Researched and collated by Kathy Hollidge with thanks among others to East Dorset Friends of the Earth.

3. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is one of the Key Areas where rapid investment now can lead to major benefits for us all. 

  • Central Government should be lobbied to revise planning guidelines and building regulations to ensure all new building is carbon neutral.  The current NPPF guidelines and building regulations are not fit for this purpose.
  • Dorset Council to take a leading role in local area energy plans, alongside network operators, especially in relation to building community consensus on plans for decarbonising heating.  Dorset Council to develop and deliver an Energy Plan / Roadmap to decarbonise the energy system using a whole systems approach (buildings, heat, transport and power generation). 
  • Formal policies should be adopted to oppose new or expanded fossil fuel extraction in the County, (mainly gas and oil, including fracking).
  • The Council must divest its pension funds from fossil fuel investments with immediate effect.
  • Develop a plan to increase the use of hydrogen energy as use of fossil fuels reduces, in line with the Government plan for the Growth of Low Carbon Hydrogen.
  • Investigate the use of Dorset’s natural environment to generate energy from tidal, wave, hydro and geothermal technologies.
  • Develop all not-for profit-housing/community builds with microgrids and District Heat Networks (systems that distribute hot water heated by centralised power plants, in a network of highly-insulated pipes to a collection of buildings), including bidding for funding from the Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP), under which the Government has committed £320 million to ‘gap fund’ District Heat Network projects that would not otherwise be economic.
  • Partner with commercial house builders to do the same, as well as investigating the use of CIL to compel the provision of microgrids and District Heat Networks.

4. Notes to help you respond to Action Plan - Renewable Energy

  • A major offshore wind turbine development similar to the Navitas project is essential if Dorset Council and BPC areas are going to be able to generate sufficient renewable energy. On-shore wind and PV can help but land is needed for food production, biodiversity, carbon sequestration (CS) leisure, health & wellbeing, and our important tourist industry.
  • I support Dorset Council’s ambition to build sufficient PV and wind generation on its own land to supply its own needs.
  • I support Dorset Council’s intention to explore the County Farms and other county land to be exemplar test sites for renewables.
  • Central Government has to be lobbied to provide a ‘Strategy for Heat’ and to introduce (or restore) incentives to install on-shore renewable energy by relaxing planning regulations and reintroducing the FIT subsidies.

Renewable Energy Topic Area researched and collated by Ian Duckworth (Science and Environmental Educator, Wareham)

5. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Buildings

  • provides high quality housing and locally accessible jobs in attractive, healthy and sociable communities’
  • Home retrofit plans (e.g. as part of 'Green Building Passports') should be rolled out as soon as possible across the full housing stock, setting out a clear path to reaching zero emissions.  These should be integrated with widespread local energy planning, with local authorities and network operators to broaden awareness and support broader decision-making, particularly around heat infrastructure.
  • Higher buildings standards will need to be a key feature of Local Plans.  All new developments to be required to be constructed from sustainable, carbon-neutral materials designed for reuse with circular economy principles in mind from as early a date as possible.
  • Work with stakeholders to develop a holistic systems-based approach that considers the whole-life cycle of construction to occupation including the consumption of energy and water, and SUDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems).
  • Tighter restrictions on developers; prioritisation of brownfield sites for development; making sure all new buildings are built with high energy efficiency, solar panels, heat pumps, EV charge points and community energy production to be expected in all new build and in approval of plans to upgrade existing building stock.
  • Develop building performance measurement to reflect real-world energy use and real-world performance of buildings and heating systems.  This can be achieved in homes by rolling out digital Green Building Passports across the stock.  The passports should build on proposals from the Green Finance Taskforce, and extension to cover water efficiency, flood resilience and other resilience measures should be considered.

6. Notes to help you respond to Action Plan - Buildings

Additional possibilities are…

  • Lobbying Central Government to produce revised National Planning Policy Framework guidelines and Building Regulations to meet the needs of Zero Carbon developments will give Dorset Council a chance of achieving its targets.
  • Encourage landlords to implement building improvements, lobby Central Government to make the ‘Green Deal’ easier to access and consider tax incentives to landlords achieving high standards in heating and insulation in their properties. An increasing proportion of the population are tenants not house owners.
  • All new developments, including alterations to existing buildings, to be assessed on the amount of embodied carbon (the carbon associated with the production and transport of building materials and the energy used on the construction site) during the planning process and/or as part of Buildings Regulations, following on from Objective 2.
  • Set Targets for Objective 3        Assess the extent of retrofitting of existing non-LA housing stock required, including insulation, household renewable energy and heat pumps, through both whole-house retrofit with a package of improvements at one time and supporting householders to make their houses energy efficient incrementally over a period of time.  Produce a plan for the work to be done with targets for completion of each type of upgrade required; for example:
  • [Number to be assessed] lofts insulated by 2023
  • [Number to be assessed] cavity walls insulated by 2025
  • [Number to be assessed] solid walls insulated by 2030, 
  • [Number to be assessed] heat pumps installed in existing homes by 2030
  • Low Carbon District Heat Networks deployed with the connection of [Number to be assessed] homes by 2030.
  • Any remaining houses [Number to be assessed] to be switched to a combination of carbon neutral hydrogen (requiring the installation of hydrogen ready boilers and national distribution infrastructure), hybrid heat pumps and biomass boilers by 2030.
  • A small number of homes (just 1,000 nationally) using direct electric heating (such as heritage homes or others unable to use heat pumps or hydrogen). 
  • Require the accurate performance testing and reporting of new buildings - going beyond airtightness testing - to hold developers to the standards they advertise.
  • For non-residential buildings, develop a scheme based on the Australian NABERS model, and develop a plan for retrofitting buildings to reduce heat and energy requirements and decarbonising heating systems.
  • The planned retrofitting of existing LA owned buildings (offices, public buildings, schools and social housing, etc.) also has the benefit of leading by example and should be done as soon as possible.
  • All LA new builds to be exemplar not only in terms of carbon neutrality, but in smart energy systems and future resilience.

7. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Food & Drink

There is an absence of strategies and mechanisms which Dorset Council intends to use to ‘encourage’, ‘promote’ and ‘work to develop’ changes of consumption patterns. 

Although the background given by the Strategy seems very thorough the target dates of beyond 2023 for much of the action are worrying.

  • Given that Dorset is a rural County, and that 10-12% of emissions come from agriculture, the Council must seek innovative ways to encourage changes in farming practices. Though encouragement of local, sustainable food production is a vital first step, more fundamental changes in rural land management will be required.  
  • The Council must show leadership, both through radical changes to rural planning principles, and through strengthening protections to natural systems.  The latter are vital for carbon capture and storage, groundwater and soil conservation, reducing run-off and flood risk, land stabilising (especially along coasts), and maintenance of healthy food chains which support natural predators of food crop pests. Through public education and engagement, the Council can promote solutions such as permaculture, organic farming and local food production. Engagement with the farming community and landowners to actively promote regenerative agriculture and land management that actively absorbs carbon and nitrogen is an essential part of any strategy.

8. Notes to help you respond to Action Plan - Food & Drink

Dorset Council’s strategy could go much further and also look at the following ideas.

  • Support significant growth of the local food economy with a greater number of local farm businesses supplying to local markets, businesses and public sector.  Provide shared retail, processing and marketing resources for local food producers; offering engagement programmes to empower people to engage with food and its production; and use the spending power of local institutions to support farming businesses, to have a positive impact on the environment.
  • In addition to the Council ensuring protection and expansion of community gardens and allotments through its planning and other policies these could be run on Soil Association principles.  
  • Dorset Council to discourage / ban using harmful chemical fertilisers, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides on its own land which negatively impact on a wide range of animal species including humans.
  • Encourage movement towards a plant-based diet throughout the general population, promoting eating less (and better) meat, dairy and fish – by Dorset Council direct and indirect actions, and the use of education to support Dorset residents to informed purchasing decisions which reduce the impacts on the environment, support healthy, less carbon intense diets and locally sourced products and produce.  Eating less meat and dairy can free up land for more tree planting and forests – good for nature and for tackling climate change.  Eating more plants and less meat is good for health. Processed and red meat is linked to heart disease, bowel cancer and other illnesses.  Shops now have a great range of milk alternatives, find one to suit needs / tastes – from an oat milk cappuccino to almond milk on breakfast cereal.  Choosing sustainable fish with accreditation by the Marine Stewardship Council logo or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
  • Maximise carbon sequestration and storage by natural carbon sinks: trees, hedgerows, peat and other wetland habitats and soils.  Establish a Land Use Framework, including mapping and evaluating the carbon sequestration and storage potential, underpinned by a Nature Recovery Network, to promote coherent long-term land-use planning to meet our needs, nature recovery and climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as maximising the Natural Assets resource to cut carbon emissions across Dorset.
  • Increase carbon sequestration and storage in coastal and marine habitats.   Protect Dorset’s marine ecosystems and their carbon sequestration and storage capacity to reduce and prevent blue carbon emissions arising from their loss and degradation.  Equally, measures are needed to restore and enhance lost and damaged marine and coastal habitats such as seagrass beds and saltmarsh to increase carbon sequestration and storage.
  • Where cheap, efficient solutions are available, the Council should actively encourage innovative industries in carbon capture, e.g. farming algae, biochar creation.
  • Support legislation that provides labelling of food and drink products to show the Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that come from different foods.
  • Amend the procedure for awarding contracts to give preference to low carbon food producers and carbon storing products such as those from forestry.
  • Encourage avoidance of palm oil, which is widely used in many products, including cosmetics, shampoos, margarines, bread, crisps, ice cream and cleaning products.  Some products say they contain sustainably-sourced palm oil – inferring that they aren't linked to deforestation.

Food and Drink Topic Area researched and collated by Kathy Hollidge. Retired teacher and grandmother working and hoping for a resilient, sustainable future for us all.

9. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Economy

The Sixth Carbon Budget Report of the Committee on Climate Change makes it clear that a shift to a Zero Carbon future can be cheaper than previously estimated and would generate potentially huge carbon savings, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and ultimately save huge amounts on energy bills and the costs of the NHS.

  • Dorset Council should choose to buy from sustainable businesses, assessing businesses on the climate and ecological commitments, and choose to bank and invest ethically.

Dorset Council also needs to:

  • Support communities and businesses to make the transition to net-zero livelihoods using innovative channels of finance, fostering innovation and ensuring we have the skills we need for the emerging economy.
  • Assess any proposals for economic growth to allow everyone’s needs to be met more equally without exceeding planetary boundaries.
  • Ensure the costs and benefits of these changes must be distributed fairly.
  • Purge pensions funds of fossil fuel investments.
  • Consider the development of a Dorset Climate Service to directly employ people in well paid, secure, skilled and unionised jobs.  Those in Climate Jobs could be retrained as new kinds of work are needed and would also ensure that anyone losing a job in carbon intensive industries would be guaranteed a job in the new Climate Service at a similar rate of pay and skill.
  • All ‘Indirect’ and ‘Influence & Partnership’ statements are unspecified and un-costed, and these areas need to be developed further as rapidly as practicable.
  • The Procurement Policy is fine.
  • Developing Dorset as a ‘sustainable’ holiday destination has considerable economic potential and by promoting and celebrating our natural environment, rolling countryside and coastline, the visitor experience has an appeal beyond the environmentally conscious.

10. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Economy

Effective engagement with commerce and industry, partners and the public will be necessary to create a zero-carbon economy and hence zero carbon emissions. Dorset Council could add:

  • Implement climate change impact assessments into the council’s decision-making process 
  • Support growth in key sectors, including advanced engineering / manufacturing, agritech, maritime commercial opportunities, sustainable aquaculture, tourism and the care sector 
  • Retrofit energy efficient measures in public buildings early, to stimulate local supply chains and provide reskilling and retraining programmes to support these e.g. insulation, solar panel and forestry, heat pump installation.
  • Work with schools, colleges, universities as well as businesses to raise career aspirations and improve skills.
  • Assess and disclose how Dorset Council will be impacted and the actions they are taking in response to climate change risks and opportunities, including transition risks (mitigation) and physical risks (adaptation), through the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as well as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
  • Support for high-speed broadband is welcome and needed. Develop a plan to provide access to superfast broadband to all Dorset premises as quickly as possible.
  • Ban the advertising of high emissions products or sectors where Dorset Council has the power to do this.

11. Notes to help you respond to Action Plan - Economy

Effective engagement with commerce and industry, partners and the public will be necessary to create a zero-carbon economy and hence zero carbon emissions.

Dorset Council could add:

  • Implement climate change impact assessments into the council’s decision-making process 
  • Support growth in key sectors, including advanced engineering / manufacturing, agritech, maritime commercial opportunities, sustainable aquaculture, tourism and the care sector 
  • Retrofit energy efficient measures in public buildings early, to stimulate local supply chains and provide reskilling and retraining programmes to support these e.g. insulation, solar panel and forestry, heat pump installation.
  • Work with schools, colleges, universities as well as businesses to raise career aspirations and improve skills.
  • Assess and disclose how Dorset Council will be impacted and the actions they are taking in response to climate change risks and opportunities, including transition risks (mitigation) and physical risks (adaptation), through the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as well as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
  • Support for high-speed broadband is welcome and needed. Develop a plan to provide access to superfast broadband to all Dorset premises as quickly as possible.
  • Ban the advertising of high emissions products or sectors where Dorset Council has the power to do this.

Economy Topic Area researched and collated by Kathy Hollidge with suggestions from Ian Duckworth and other Planet Purbeck members.

12. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Waste

I suggest the following are considered for inclusion in the Waste area for action:

  • Commit to Dorset Council becoming an exemplar in the County with regards to waste management and use of their purchasing powers to change the local commercial waste market, and optimise recycling across the public sector estate by providing the means, scale and guidance for recycling a wide range of products and material types.
  • Adapt council policies to include circular economy aspects and embed material re-use and redeployment systems and tools, into procurement process by 2024, including businesses taking responsibility for the full costs of waste disposal including collection.
  • Set a target of 2030 for a fully developed circular economy, managing all Dorset Council’s own waste and resources.
  • Investigate the use of new technologies to process organic and plastic waste and convert it for reuse as energy, fertiliser, feedstock, etc. as appropriate.
  • Facilitate a transparent and open discussion of waste policy to demonstrate to the public if any further incineration in Dorset would be a benefit and provide evidence of it being in line with Dorset Council's Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy

13. Notes to help you respond to Action Plan - Waste

I suggest the following additional actions are considered / targets for inclusion in the action plan:

  • Establish a Plastics Forum, with supermarkets, business representatives and environmental groups, to identify ways to reduce unnecessary packaging, especially plastics.
  • Ban the use of plastic packaging by 2022 wherever Dorset Council is able to take this action or influence this.
  • Increase recycling facilities, with much clearer instructions on what and how to recycle and provide residents with practical advice on the adoption of a circular waste economy
  • Provide specific ideas on how to reduce, reuse and recycle commercial and industrial waste which is half of Dorset's waste. 
  • Set up a series of grants for businesses who facilitate improved recycling, including deposit return schemes, develop new materials and make goods from recycled materials.
  • In the short term demonstrate the final destination of the segregated waste.
  • Create a plan for tackling fly-tipping. Promote education and working in partnership (monitoring schemes, incident intelligence sharing).
  • Develop a Dorset Materials Datahub to provide comprehensive data on the availability of raw and secondary materials, including chemicals, across the economy to industry and the public sector, and by modelling scenarios around material availability.
  • Work with LEP, local authorities, businesses and other partners to save money through resource efficiency clusters to promote measures that cost little or nothing to implement, and offer free resource efficiency audits and financial support for subsequent investments.  
  • Promote pooling of resources within communities to share things like lawnmowers and power tools through grants.
  • Investigate the development of a platform for community car pool, and financial support for increased insurance costs.

Waste Topic Area researched and collated by Kasia Zagloba, mum of two, architect/artist from Swanage.

14. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Water

I agree with the action plan in principle.I feel the following could be considered at the same time. 

  • Rigorously protecting natural systems, especially wetlands and water meadows, can help to conserve and replenish groundwater resources, reduce run-off (erosion and flooding), contributing to enhanced water quality.
  • As lead flood authority, work with the Environment Agency and district councils, to develop and deliver a programme of works to minimise flood risk and its wider impacts and advise on major development applications to future-proof their climate resilience.
  • Work with landowners and farmers to protect waterways from fertiliser run-off and other non-sustainable farming practices that can pollute drinking water supplies and are causing rising Nitrogen levels in areas such as the Poole Harbour Catchment Area.
  • The Council’s Planning and Transportation policies can play a crucial role in reducing the need to travel which will reduce pollution from car tyres and brakes (now a major concern for its impact on ecosystems and on human health).
  • Assess the impact of invasive non-native species on the water environment and manage appropriately.

15. Notes to help you respond to Action Plan - Water

I agree with the action points and feel that the following could also be considered as part of this plan:

  • How will Dorset Council enable residents to save water? Water butts could be offered at 'bulk buy' prices, which Dorset Council working with water companies could negotiate with a provider.
  • Has Dorset Council considered providing an exemplar system for wastewater usage on some of its buildings, which could be open to the public?  
  • Introduce and increase native deciduous tree planting (not conifers, which do not store as much CO2) to replace marginal farmland, which can reduce agri-chemical run-off, eutrophication and poor water quality, whilst simultaneously increasing natural carbon capture and decreasing flood risk. Conversely ensure that wooded areas that could ameliorate flood risk are retained.
  • Educate residents and communities so they better understand the changing patterns of flood risk, sea level rise and extreme weather events, and increase resilience by the development of co-created solutions, including advising residents how they can protect their properties against extreme weather events.
  • Will Dorset Council consider introduction of beavers to the County's waterways, to assist flood prevention, improve water quality, habitat creation and increase biodiversity?
  • Building developments should include measures to address increased run-off and sewage pollution of nearby rivers: e.g. use of permeable surfaces and reed bed creation.

Water Topic Area researched and collated by Mrs K Snelgrove – Wareham Resident.

16. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Natural Assets

Dorset Council could also:

  • Support local farmers, woodland owners, foresters and land managers to make environmental improvements through agri-environment schemes such as ELMS.
  • Collect litter before cutting! Educate staff not to cut flowering plants at the wrong time.
  • Encourage Town Councils (TC) and Parish Councils (PC) to promote good ecological practice within their own greenspaces and communities.
  • Work with TC and PCs and other partners to utilise the Dorset Local Nature Partnership ‘Ecological Network Maps’ to provide connections between nature rich areas through more urban neighbourhoods and agricultural landscapes.
  • Develop a Dorset Pollinator Action Plan to set out actions to ensure pollinators are factored into decision-making and planning, that pesticide use is reduced, habitat increased, protected, connected and improved, and awareness of the importance of pollinators to the UK economy for food production is raised.
  • The continued depletion of soils through application of chemicals is a grave concern on land owned by Dorset Council and other landowners in the county. Dorset Council should make their own farms an exemplar of good soil management.
  • Lobby Central Government to revise the current NPPF guidelines on planning so that all new developments are wildlife-friendly by design and increase the biodiversity of the area developed. The Climate and Ecological Emergencies require that this takes priority over development in all designated or protected areas.  This will require tougher and more consistent planning controls.  It will also be assisted by reversing the growth in private transport, and a shift to active tourism and leisure, (i.e. based on walking, cycling and linked public transport).  An example of the inadequacy of current policies is provided by the Heathlands SPD.
  • Encourage and support the creation of saltmarsh habitat as an effective way of locking up large amounts of carbon.  Coastal re-alignment, with the creation of saltmarsh, could offer large scale carbon sequestration opportunities while protecting vulnerable communities and infrastructure in Dorset.
  • Vigorously support the creation of a National Park in Dorset, as this would bring the following benefits:
  • All planning and development would be brought back within the county.
  • Development would be in cooperation with all Neighbourhood Plans and ensure a sufficient supply of truly affordable, and social housing to provide for local needs.
  • Help local landowners access grant funding to make their practices more sustainable providing for better food, better soils, increased biodiversity and CS and improved flood mitigation.
  • Bring much needed capital support into the NP to manage these improvements.
  • Encourage a ‘Sense of Place’ for residents to be proud of and visitors to respect.

17. Notes to help you respond to Action Plan - Natural Assets

  • I agree with woodland regeneration and tree planting schemes where the Council plants more trees and supports others to do the same.  All schemes to be based on the right tree in the right place, using native species of trees to sequester the most carbon in the short, medium and longer term and which can survive in a changing climate.
  • Dorset Council to ‘re-wild’ areas it controls and make use of land gained via planning to increase carbon sequestration and biodiversity, and to provide wildlife connectivity.
  • Dorset Council should work with tenants of County Farms to promote and ensure the best environmental practices are upheld and develop them to transition to low carbon production.
  • Dorset Council should develop and improve greenspace management and provide everyone in Dorset with access to good quality natural environments resilient to Climate Change benefitting their health and wellbeing and increasing productivity.

Natural Assets Topic Area researched and collated by Ian Duckworth (Science and Environmental Educator, Wareham)

18. Notes to help you respond to Topic Area - Transport

As stated, Dorset transport is responsible for an estimated 765 kilotons of CO2e each year and is the single biggest contributor to the county’s footprint.

To reach zero-carbon emissions, fossil fuel use in the transport sector will need to be eliminated.

Planning is also an area where progress could be made. Dorset Council could consider the following additional items:

  • Effective Planning to address transport inequality by reducing the need for car travel through improved spatial planning, public transport options / availability and public service delivery.
  • Encourage the use of sustainable transport by making it the most attractive choice, particularly in urban areas, and assess how best to deliver active travel opportunities for rural communities, improved public transport and shared mobility facilities for less densely populated parts of Dorset.
  • Encourage land-use policies which reduce the need to travel e.g. promotion of live-work housing units (long a feature in our neighbouring county, Devon).
  • Rejuvenate villages and small towns with improved local services, mass transport and encouragement of micro-businesses.
  • Restrictive policies towards growth in major towns (of peripheral growth of housing, shops and businesses).
  • Sustainable Tourism is not mentioned as a concept but is crucial if existing communications are not to become overloaded. Possible housing developments in the near future will further load these routes with commuters, contractors and carers trying to get to their work. 
  • Park & Ride schemes with added tour minibuses travelling to tourist destinations in a circuit. Passengers could get on and off and places of interest much as with ‘City Tour’ buses. These vehicles could be electric with charging points at the P&R sites. Landowners could be encouraged to support the idea by provision of shelters with information at each location. These routes would also link with existing bus and rail provision.
  • Invest in bus, rail and tram services which may need to be subsidised.
  • Consider if we should go back to the previous system where in general, children attended their local school, which would decrease car travel.

19. Notes to help you respond to Action Plan - Transport

All Dorset Council’s Action planned actions sound very good. However, in this Climate Change Emergency we need to be creative and do more, more quickly, including considering the following:

  • Use restrictive measures such as parking charges and prohibition, Clean Air Zones (including bans on diesel delivery vehicles in residential areas), car-free days in towns and traffic management measures such as pedestrianisation, one-way streets, no-through roads and segregated cycleways, for example.
  • The charging network for EV is particularly lacking in Dorset and should be one of the priorities now.  The 44 new public fast charging points to be available by Feb 2021 are a good start.  As a priority, increase EV charging points and ensure that they are well-maintained, which unfortunately is not always the case now.  EV charging needs to be greatly increased in every locality including carparks at village halls so as many people as possible can access regular charging near their homes.  There must be a way of standardising methods of payment at these – the current system of Apps and cards for each different provider is unhelpful.  We do not currently have to have these to buy fossil fuel at any service station.
  • Increase park and ride schemes, using parking charges to discourage unnecessary car journeys.
  • Stop using car parks as general revenue support and encourage the use of public transport, walking and cycling.  At present cars and parking are given too great a priority.
  • Educate and engage the public to increase awareness of no-idling zones e.g. outside schools.  It is already an offence which should be enforced.
  • Encourage drivers to switch off engines in traffic jams.
  • Discourage any potential future airport expansion, and encourage residents and businesses to minimise air travel.
  • Encourage the development of green ships, including support for the deployment of a hydrogen ferry at Sandbanks similar to that already in use in Finland or being trialed in Orkney.
  • Hydrogen supplies are investments that the Council could encourage and facilitate in the short and long-term.
  • Reduce carbon emissions from transport by encouraging and facilitating behaviour change including: 
  • Reducing the number of single occupancy vehicle journeys undertaken by promotion of car sharing, and investigating shared mobility schemes or e-vehicle rental or taxis;
  • Increasing public transport use;
  • Combining trips;
  • Replacing vehicular journeys with e-cycle or e-scooter use;
  • Replacing vehicular journeys with active travel modes (walking, scooting and cycling).
  • Assess the viability of support / development of business(es) undertaking the conversion of diesel / petrol engines to zero carbon engines (electric or hydrogen).
  • Lobby Central Government for a more efficient and fairer tax system on cars taking into account real-life emissions.

Transport Topic Area researched and collated by Planet Purbeck members, other local environmental groups and Kathy Hollidge

20. Making It Happen - Leadership & Governence

  • Dorset Council could consider setting up a collaborative partnership with all other interested parties, similar to The Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG) or The Hampshire 2050 Partnership.  This partnership will then be responsible for the delivery of the actions in Dorset required to achieve net zero as soon as practicable which is separate and independent from the council but with councillors embedded in this partnership providing oversight, and with accountability to Dorset Council under the terms of reference of the partnership.
  • Also, to provide an opportunity for meaningful engagement, the council should convene an Expert Consultative Forum, made up of relevant professionals, academics and community representatives from a range of organisations across the county, that would advise on the practical delivery of actions within Dorset Council’s plan.
  • Dorset Council should set up a Dorset Youth Climate Panel to engage young people aged 16-25 to ensure we have an effective action plan that meets the aspirations of the next generation.
  • Dorset Council should invite all Town and Parish Councils to declare CEE to show local leadership, support their own communities and Dorset Council, and also to join the collaborative partnership above.
  • Dorset Council to use their strategic role as the statutory highways, transport, minerals, public health, flood, education and waste disposal authority to directly and significantly change how Dorset Council, its partners and the community behave. 
  • Dorset Council to use their full potential to bring stakeholders together, and facilitate dialogue and strengthen relationships, to enable the development of mutually beneficial projects that contribute to decarbonisation, both as Dorset Council and as part of the collaborative partnership above. 
  • Dorset Council to add 'Improve Biodiversity/Wildlife Stewardship' wherever lobbying for Climate Change, giving both climate change and ecological emergencies equal importance.
  • Dorset Council to ‘Walk the Talk’, following through the strategy framework with persistence and positivity.
  • Dorset Council should embed fairness as a core principle of council policy design in respect of the Climate and Ecological Emergency.  The crisis has exacerbated existing inequalities and created new risks to employment in many sectors and regions, placing even greater priority on the fair distribution of policy costs and benefits.  The response to the pandemic has disproportionately affected the same lower-income groups and younger people who face the largest long-term impacts of climate change.  The benefits of acting on climate change must be shared widely, and the costs must not burden those who are least able to pay or whose livelihoods are most at risk as the economy changes.
  • Dorset Council to use procurement rules positively to help drive emissions reductions in a number of areas (e.g. uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, energy efficiency and low-carbon heat in buildings, low-carbon products). 
  • Dorset Council to consider learning from the work done by Somerset Climate Action Network (Somerset CAN), which led selection of Marginal Abatement Cost Curve -30 (MACC) analyses to support decision making in Somerset with prioritisation of investments in policies and actions and the ongoing monitoring of progress towards carbon emissions reduction across the county.  The MACC summarises overall cost-effectiveness and can be further developed by assessment of the net social costs or benefits of each project. The analyses will consider the different types of benefits between, for example, health and the wider environment. This information can then be added to MACC charts, so that co-benefits of projects can be included in decision making. The overall Net Zero carbon target can be shown as a vertical line on MACC charts, helping to ensure that interventions can be prioritised so that collectively, they meet the target. MACCs can be updated regularly to monitor progress.  Dorset Council could work collectively with Somerset Council, and any other local councils, to further develop the MACC approach.
  • As a significant employer, Dorset Council should help staff to understand how they can play a role day-to-day in reducing emissions, by considering how they commute and travel for business, and at work by minimising waste, water and energy use. 

Researched and collated by Helen Sumbler, (semi-retired Railway Signal Engineer, resident of Corfe Castle, trying to become much greener along with her partner, 3 children and 2 dogs), with input from other Planet Purbeck members.

21. Making it happen - Funding The Response

Initial funding will obviously not be cheap, even if there are future savings. Every ethical method of funding will need to be utilised.

  • Explore Crowdfunding, particularly by adding more local Energy schemes such as those of Dorset Community Energy.
  • Community projects can be encouraged with advice, help with planning and contacts etc. without necessarily costing the Council money.
  • Collaborate to make use of a range of financing opportunities, e.g. find financially viable, self-sustaining solutions and work with the private sector to develop these. 
  • Work with national government to develop public-sector support.
  • Community investment.
  • Investigate the availability of finance through the Green Finance Institute.
  • Establish funding mechanism for carbon sequestration and storage.  Funding mechanisms considered include working with government on the Environmental Land Management Scheme, environmental net-gain initiatives and the development of carbon sequestration accreditation systems locally.
  • Lobby Central Government to introduce a Wealth Tax so that those owning most pay a larger share (except the National Trust!)
  • Lobby Central Government to greatly increase tax on land sold for building – earmarked for use much as the current SIL levy. 
  • In addition to the very welcome decarbonisation of the Dorset Council pension scheme, look at ethical banking and investment.

Researched and collated by Kathy Hollidge with thanks among others to East Dorset Friends of the Earth.

22. Making It Happen - Engagement & Communications

Engagement

  • Dorset Council is to be commended for its thorough consideration of engagement or “making the CEE strategy happen”. Dorset Council is the single most influential organisation in the county able to affect change. If staff including policy makers, department heads, those with the power to grant tenders and commission projects are personally committed to reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment from further human damage, we stand a chance of seeing enormous changes in the coming decade. The depth of staff commitment to fight the ecological emergency will be directly correlated with the education they have received on the issues. Climate change awareness training must therefore be top rate.
  • Similarly, local residents need to be led in making the necessary changes. The strategy’s intention is to “encourage behaviour change”.  There should be a strong strategy for innovative engagement involving all aspects of Dorset Council’s publicity around CEE, including but not limited to the use of social media, which should not only “encourage” but incentivise behavioural change. Suggestions are that once engaged people are more likely to make more changes rather than feeling overwhelmed and powerless in the face of the totality / reality.
  • The CEE strategy does not outline its intentions to work in partnership with educational institutions to engage children and young people on the climate emergency. As the heirs to the planet we seek to protect, the next generation must be included in the local vision. This should include colleges and the university in the county, not be limited to schools.
  • At the moment, while the public are generally supportive of action to tackle climate change, and 75% of people are concerned about climate change, just 35% of people report having heard of ‘Net Zero’ as a concept, and only half of people are aware that their gas boiler causes emissions.  People who wish to reduce their impact on emissions are not currently provided with sufficient support to make decisions that achieve this, and Dorset Council will need to provide help to people to make low-carbon choices, both in terms of behaviours and in adopting low-carbon technologies. This will require making low-carbon choices more available and easier to use, provision of information, trials to see what works and policy that learns by doing. Some of the difficult decisions that will be required, (e.g. on the balance of electrification and hydrogen that replaces natural gas heating), will only be possible if people are engaged in a societal effort to reach net-zero emissions and understand the choices and constraints. 
  • Existing local environmental groups could be powerful partners with whom to work on behavioural change.
  • Dorset Council has gone through the motions of engaging the public on the CEE strategy- Dorset Council purports to “Consult with residents and organisations on this strategy and plans as they develop”. We have seen little to no effort so far to achieve this aim.
  • Provide a flexible range of training opportunities to enable everyone to manage carbon and energy both at home and at work.  How many people would know, for instance, £143 and 522kg of CO2e can be saved over a year simply by turning off a single tv / computer monitor?
  • Launch an awards programme for projects tackling climate change.

Engagement researched and collated by Hester Viney, Planet Purbeck lobbying team, Swanage resident & mum of 2 primary aged daughters.

Communication

  • What Dorset Council does next after declaring an emergency could be crucial to whether citizens become empowered and energised, or fearful and despairing. Here are some ways declaring a climate emergency can be used by the council to help inspire people to take action, and help keep the focus on positive outcomes. 
  • Be solutions focused. Having a local emergency action plan can help. Straight after one local council declared a climate emergency, they rubber stamped an airport expansion. If emergencies aren’t backed up by the necessary actions, this will render them empty rhetoric. Developing an emergency action plan will help think about what the next steps look like in practice. 
  • Citizen action. This is a chance to bring citizens in the community together. Climate emergency citizen response teams could be groups of people responding appropriately to the current climate situation: learning from each other. Discovering where their geographical area fits into national adaptation plans. Collecting data to monitor biodiversity. This is a chance to empower our communities. 
  • Accountability to the global south. Learning from, and acting in solidarity with grassroots organisations who are working for climate justice with indigenous, black, brown and diaspora groups here in the UK and in the Global South. This will help keep a global focus on the issues. 
  • Support for each other. The language of emergency can produce panic and burnout. The speed and intensity of action that is implied by an emergency framing could work against an inclusive and supportive space for people to act on climate change. Support for each other – especially the most vulnerable – is important. It reflects how a world adapting to climate change will be required to help vulnerable people, if we want climate justice. 
  • Leave no one behind. In the UK and beyond,
    the poorest and more vulnerable people will be affected the most by climate change. They also have the most to gain from good climate policies and adaptation. Far from ‘giving up’ anything, for poor and working-class people a net zero carbon society can add multiple benefits to life: better social housing, transport, redistribution of wealth and resources, access to nature and better-quality diets. 
  • Positively frame the language used around climate change, e.g.
  • Climate emergency Climate transformation 
  • Survival Co-operation 
  • Individualism Internationalism 
  • Climate refugees Displaced people/ movement of people 
  • Growth Steady state/degrowth 
  • Collapse Adaptation 
  • Environmental security Environmental peacebuilding 
  • Scarcity Sharing 
  • Risks Solutions 
  • Environmental crises Environmental justice 
  • Fear Empowerment 

Communications researched and collated by Helen Sumbler, (semi-retired Railway Signal Engineer, resident of Corfe Castle, trying to become much greener along with her partner, 3 children and 2 dogs), with input from other Planet Purbeck members.

23. Any Other Comments

Soil

  • There appears to be little or no mention in the strategy about the soil.
  • The state of the soil reflects the way that our current behaviour is heavily impacting on the environment.
  • A healthy living soil supports increased biodiversity for nature in and outside of the soil. Healthy soils support the complex network of nature, enable healthy crops to grow, provide a good carbon sink, and encourage a healthy range of pollinators and birds.
  •  Dorset Council to include a policy to support and encourage healthy soil regeneration. Support crop rotation, low impact mixed farming and smallholding within its County Farms.
  • Microplastics are widespread in our soils with unknown consequences which need to be considered.

Planning

  • Land is precious, it is more than a cash value commodity. It should be valued as such. Please consider changes of planning policy within the Dorset Council CEE. The NPPF states that decisions be based on Sustainable Development (Brundtland – one earth policy).   The way in which the Council frames and implements its Planning Policies is the most important mechanism under its control for reducing the ecological crisis.  Examples of inadequate policies would be the Heathlands SDP, which gives insufficient priority to preserving and enhancing heathland over any other form of development.  Very strict policies to protect SSSI’s, AONBs, RAMSAR sites and other specifically protected habitats and species are required – i.e. a strong presumption against development that does not both increase ecological stability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This will require a more balanced interpretation of the National Planning Policy Framework.  The Council needs to be prepared to defend its stance against more “flexible” interpretations of NPPF from Ministers and the Planning Inspectorate.
  • Land has multiple regenerative uses, it is precious for building HOMES for NEED, carbon sinks, natural habitats for the regeneration of wildlife, for growing crops, sustainable smallholdings, planting woodlands, wildflower meadows. Too often unsustainable developments are being passed that are at odds with regeneration of nature, i.e. are impacting on biodiversity, impacting on loss of good tree stock, destroying hedges, etc. Many housing developments do not meet the NEED for genuinely affordable housing and so are not a sustainable use of land.
  • At present much building is used as a way for landowners and developers to make inflated profits, often at a high cost to nature.
  • Planning should include and adopt a One Planet Policy, as Wales. Policies need to be set in place to value the land for its environmental worth.
  • The habitats of protected species are being destroyed.  Though it is against the law to destroy or disturb the habitat of a protected species.  This law is not upheld. Please ensure that planning takes a genuinely sustainable approach that considers the impact to the AONB, World Heritage Site, environmentally designated sites. Please can there be a focus on assessing ‘Ecocide’ for land use impacts.
  • Discuss and reassess within the Dorset Council CEE whether SANGS, Community Infrastructure Levy, Biodiversity Offsetting, Heathland Mitigation, etc, are helping or negatively impacting genuine sustainable/regenerative outcomes for nature/climate emergency. In terms of the environment these objectives are not taking a joined-up approach and are resulting in loss of key habitats.
  •  A Principal Residency Policy for all new builds. i.e. A genuine regenerative HOMES policy. See (St Ives Neighbourhood Plan) Tested and achieved in the High Court.
  • Actively provide discussions and platforms with local environmental and community interest groups, to enable communities to plan short, medium and long term for a resilient, regenerative, low carbon future.
  • Include a discussion / conversation with groups about ‘Eradicating Ecocide’ in terms of balanced harm done to the Planet re making decisions within a Climate/Environmental Strategy.
  • Enact planning policies and strategies to create a positive and proactive environment to enable renewable energy generation and which supports the transition to a smart, flexible energy system.
  • Where things are in Dorset and how they connect shapes most areas of our lives and is a driver of GHG emissions.  Dorset Council needs to consider how to organise new development to best support achieving net-zero, such as where we site renewable energy or how we locate new housing so that workplaces and services can be accessed by walking, cycling or public transport.
  • Give sufficient attention to climate adaptation in local plans, and use Dorset Council’s significant local powers to improve adaptation.
  • As strategic planning authority (minerals, transport, waste), Dorset Council must call on Government to provide additional powers and resources to support local and national action towards the net zero target. Dorset Council to ask for stronger planning powers, to further influence the types of buildings in the county and support the districts in being able to make their changes.
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