Marlborough Town Council voted unanimously to make a Climate Emergency Declaration at a meeting of the full council on Monday September 7. An accompanying Action Plan will be drawn up and will bring together the various groups and individuals in the town already concerned with climate breakdown.
Marlborough resident, Sandra Rogers, first aired the issue of Climate Change with the Town Council at a meeting in February 2019. Since then there have been several groups in the town working independently to make changes and to raise awareness of Climate Change.
Transition Marlborough and Extinction Rebellion (XR) have demonstrated in the High Street – the latter bringing traffic to a standstill. Students in the Climate Change group at St John’s Academy protested on the Town Hall steps when they participated in the global school strike for climate on March 15 2019. This group has also worked with their school community to raise awareness of Climate Change. Packaging Not Included and Action for the River Kennet (ARK) are other groups who directly address Climate Change issues. There is clearly a wealth of support in Marlborough for the Town Council’s Declaration and Action Plan.
The U.K. Government declared a Climate Emergency in May 2019 and in June 2019 also made a commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Wiltshire Council formally acknowledged the Climate Emergency in February 2019, seeking to make the county carbon neutral by 2030. Actions include investment of £17.2m for energy efficient buildings and highway LED lighting, a corporate electricity contract with a green tariff, solar projects and a climate change team for 2020/21. An overview of Wiltshire Council’s commitment can be found here
In making the Declaration, Marlborough is following the Town Councils in Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge, Frome and Stroud who have already declared a Climate Emergency. Frome and Stroud Town Councils have shared the progress they have made so far on their websites.
Although Marlborough Town Council has not set aside a budget specifically for Climate Change actions, it is hoped that having an Emergency Declaration in place might give access to funding. The supporting Action Plan for the Declaration will be crucial in moving forward.