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Ecological Emergency Vision and Action Plan in July 2022

The former Somerset West and Taunton, and Sedgemoor District Councils published a joint Ecological Emergency Vision and Action Plan in July 2022.

Some additional actions undertaken by the council included:

  • Declaring its authority boundary a fracking-free zone in July 2019
  • Beginning to retrofit council properties in Spring 2022 to improve their energy efficiency
  • Rolling out electric vehicle charging points after receiving a grant of £136,000 and grants provided to parish and town councils for installations
  • A full decarbonisation strategy for their main offices with phase 2 then focused on the council’s smaller buildings
  • Over 60kg of wildflower seed was sown across open spaces to support local wildlife and had its own in-house tree nursery which is peat free
  • Approving two zero-carbon developments based on its Zero Carbon Affordable Homes Pilot. North Taunton Woolaway project delivering 227 social and affordable homes, and Seaward Way, Minehead for 54 homes
  • Developing a series of climate-friendly planning guidance. Including:
    • Linkages between Climate and Ecological Emergencies have been improved
    • Commentary in relation to the national legislative and policy contexts has been updated with regards to the Environment Act, Building Regulations, Net Zero Strategy, Heat and Buildings Strategy and Levelling Up White Paper
    • Links to the Districtwide Design Guide SPD and Public Realm Design Guide SPD have been strengthened and explained better in terms of how they work with existing policy, building regulations and aspirations to go further (particularly regarding building standards)
    • Linkages have been added in relation to the Net Zero Carbon Toolkit in a similar vein. Originally published by Cotswold District Council in partnership with The Centre for Sustainable Energy
    • Changes clarify that once in force, compliance with Part L 2021 of the Building Regulations will supersede the specific carbon reduction requirements of policy DM5, although other parts of DM5 will continue to be relevant. However, developers are strongly encouraged to aspire towards zero carbon and the higher aspirational standards set out in the Districtwide Design Guide SPD and the SWT Net Zero Carbon Toolkit
    • Changes note that in advance of national mandatory requirements coming into force, our existing planning policies do not explicitly require biodiversity net gain in all circumstances. However, the council worked to secure a 10% net gain in biodiversity from development proposals through a combination of existing policies, the NPPF , the declaration of an Ecological Emergency and clear intent from the Environment Act including the incoming upgraded Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act duty for local authorities to conserve and enhance biodiversity

View the full consultation report.


Somerset West and Taunton Council published a monthly climate newsletter. You can view all previous editions of the newsletter.

Last reviewed: November 3, 2023 by Qi

Next review due: May 3, 2024

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