A Climate Emergency Response Programme is to be developed in Bridgend county borough with plans for an annual sustainability summit, a citizen’s assembly and a cross-party member committee to oversee the programme.
The new programme which follows the declaration of a Climate Emergency by Welsh Government in April 2019 will be centred on a strategy and prioritised action plan while a dedicated officer role will be created to lead on the coordination of all local authority services, engage with residents and collaborate with key public, private and third sector partners.
Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Richard Young, said: “The local authority has a crucial role to play through the management of its own resources and assets and the way in which it works with and supports local residents, organisations and businesses to respond to the challenges.
“There is an increasing financial risk to BCBC if no action is taken. The harmful impacts of events arising from climate change affect people and property which in turn presents both direct and indirect challenges and costs for the local authority.
“I believe there is a huge amount of enthusiasm and support among the public for responding to climate change and we need to harness that, the public need to see that they are engaged. Town and community councils will also have a part to play in this strategy.
“Within this particular sector, we are regarded as leaders – this new programme is another building block in our aspirations for the future.”
The Leader, Cllr Huw David, said: “We want Bridgend county borough to be at the forefront of the new sustainability industries of the future. This response programme is about us being there so we can secure that for our communities.”
He added: “The importance of our residents in the programme cannot be over-emphasised. We’ve seen what a difference they make in terms of recycling where Bridgend has the second highest recycling rates for plastics in the UK and that’s only because of the support we’ve had from residents.”
The council’s cabinet approved the creation of the climate emergency response programme and a funding pot of £215,000 for its first year at a meeting on Tuesday, June 30.
The county borough is working on a number of schemes as part of its role as a pioneer of renewable energy projects. They include the innovative Local Heat Scheme in Caerau and the Bridgend Heat Network Scheme.
It is one of three areas in the UK, alongside Bury in Greater Manchester and Newcastle, chosen by the UK Government to facilitate projects that could then be rolled out across the country.