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Somerset declares ‘climate emergency’

Somerset County Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’ in a bid to reduce emissions in the region and go carbon neutral by 2030.

Details of what this will entail for the county are currently thin on the ground but councillors agreed that ’emissions must be cut’ following a cross-party initiative which was backed at a council meeting yesterday (February 20).

£25,000 has been allocated to fund the formation of a Council Climate Change Strategy, which they say will come before the end of 2019.

The Somerset County Gazette reports that environmental campaigners, who have staged several recent protests outside the council HQ at Shire Hall, ‘erupted into applause’ at the news.

Shire Hall, Taunton

Somerset County Council cabinet member David Hall said: ‘Council members have come together across party lines to recognise the global threat we face in climate change.

‘We know we can’t wait – action has to start now for the people of Somerset and beyond. Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits, creating new jobs, saving money, creating new market opportunities, and above all improving the well-being of individuals and communities.’

In related news, Bath & North East Somerset Council will hold a specially convened cabinet meeting in March to discuss its proposals for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the city.

The meeting, set to be held on Tuesday March 5, will consider a report currently being prepared on the suggested charging zone after the council consulted over 8,400 people about the proposals late last year.

Under the plans,  the council is planning to impose a Class D charging zone in the centre of the city by the end of 2020, which would require commercial drivers to Euro-6 standards for diesel and Euro 4 standards for petrol to avoid being charged.

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