In a letter to the Minister for Net Zero, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Climate and Environment has voiced her “frustration” at recent changes to green policy.

Writing to the Rt Hon Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, Councillor Dixie Darch said she fears the changes announced last week will “seriously jeopardise Somerset’s and the UK’s ability to reach Net Zero.”

Cllr Darch, today advised Full Council that the letter had been sent. In it she said Somerset was at the “sharp end” of the effects of climate change and urged a rethink to the changes which included a delay to the ban of new non-electric vehicles and a removal of the need for landlords to make properties energy efficient.

Cllr Darch said:

This is an issue that must transcend party politics – it is too important and too urgent.

The shift in policy undermines our work in Somerset, in practical terms and in the message it sends to the public about the commitment of elected members of all political parties to address the climate emergency.

Rather than stepping back from policies, action needs to be stepped up – not just in reducing carbon emissions, but in investing in adapting to the effects of climate change.

All of Somerset’s local authorities declared Climate Emergencies before becoming the unitary Somerset Council in April. The new council has formally declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency and is working to deliver on a Climate Strategy that covers energy, transport, waste and the natural environment.

Recent successes include the launch of a ten year tree strategy, a rapid expansion of the county’s EV charging network and a successful bid to fund work to assist the uptake of energy efficient home improvements.

A somerset landscape with wording beneath saying a greener more sustainable somerset

About this article

September 27, 2023

Lorraine Hemmings

Climate Emergency

Press Release