Major Climate Award for Bridgwater Town Council

Cllr Kathy Pearce is the new Climate Change PFH

At last weeks meeting of Bridgwater Town Council Westover Councillor Kathy Pearce was reassigned to the role of Climate Change Portfolio Holder and  Fairfax Councillor Graham Granter brought in as Community PFH. This change of roles tops off an excellent year for outgoing PFH Cllr Li Gibson (Westover) which saw a major award heading Town’s way.  Bridgwater Town Council, in its quest to become Carbon Neutral, applied to Somerset County Council’s Climate Emergency Fund and has now been informed that the application has been successful. The successful application was for the maximum amount of £75,000.

Town Clerk David Mears said “Bridgwater Town Council is looking to replace the current heating system at the Town Hall from an aging gas fired system with 72 panel heaters that will be LOT20 compliant, powered by electricity – electricity that will be generated by solar PVs installed onto the roof of the Town Hall. As part of this project, all sash windows will be fully refurbished, all roof voids insulated and secondary glazing being considered where single glazed metal frames are present.”

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Cllr Li Gibson “Trees are crucial to heal climate change”

Cllr Kathy Pearce said “I am overjoyed that Somerset County Council could see the benefits of Bridgwater Town Council’s application. This project will help reduce the Town Council’s carbon footprint, produce sustainable energy, which will reduce electricity costs and will remove the need to use gas thus saving the Town Council in excess of £20,000 per annum”.

Climate Change Portfolio

At the handover of roles last Thursday Cllr Li Gibson passed over a strong portfolio with a climate focused workload which Cllr Pearce has worked with her on throughout her time in office and will continue to take forward.

  1. TREE POLICY : Town needs to move forward with this and as such I would ask that PFH Climate be authorised to develop and implement the strategy proposed by the Tree Policy. This would entail reviewing the application form to ensure it is adequate and calling on ward members to identify areas for planting in their wards and thereafter present these to the PFH Climate indicating which have community support and a priority list be drawn up matched against available funding

    Residents need to be involved in finding locations for trees
  2. FAIRTRADE :Town should investigate the benefits and practicalities of becoming a Fairtrade council and if proven forward a request to Town Team to take this forward
  3. SEED THE DAY: PFH Climate should establish a working group to consider the practicalities of organising this years Seed the Day Festival scheduled for September
  4. PESTICIDES POLICY:  To bring forward a framework to establish a Pesticides Free Bridgwater. To acknowledge the impacts of pesticides on-Health and Food , Economies , Biodiversity , Pollution – including looking at water, soils and air
  5. CEMETERIES PLANTING:  To bring forward the plans and implement Tree planting and Wildlife areas in the town cemeteries.
  6. SINGLE USE PLASTICS: To establish connections with all businesses /traders in Bridgwater to look at reduction /elimination/alternatives of SUPs in their businesses.
  7. BIODIVERSITY: To increase biodiversity in the parks and green areas
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Cllr Smedley “We must not just pay lip service to climate change emergency”

Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) said “I’d like to thank Cllr Li Gibson for her time as Climate portfolio holder and  welcome the agreement that Cllr Kathy Pearce will now take on this role and move these ideas forward. In particular i want to emphasise the council’s tree policy.  I am asking all councillors to identify land in their wards where new trees could be planted. But I want to stress that this has to be agreed in consultation with local residents who live in the vicinity. “

Trees Help Bring our Heritage back to Life

Another major initiative this week in the Westover ward has seen town horticulturalist Roy Cheek campaigning to encourage Castle Street residents to put trees outside their properties. In a letter to them he says “Castle Street is known as the most complete historic and architecturally beautiful street in Bridgwater. At the time it was built sizeable plants in containers were in fashion and it was highly likely that there were some outside the entrance to your property . In these times plants are not only recognized for their beauty , research has revealed how they are good for our physical and mental health. My hope is that you may be interested in this unique project . Therefor I have researched and listed the plants of the period which in my experience will do well in your environment and I am volunteering to give free individual advice to encourage you .” 

Residents of Castle Street are doing their bit

Cllr Smedley said “We absolutely welcome and support Roy’s initiative. Roy was crucial in helping us produce our popular town tree trail treeflet and again is trail blazing his way in greening up the town.  He is very keen for people to contact him for specialist advice.”

Roy Cheek can be contacted via westoverward@gmail.com.

Seed of Hope Project for Sydenham

At the same meeting Bridgwater Town Council approved a project by Sydenham based Seed of Hope to help the local food pantry by growing their own foods at the community centre and involving local people in the wider initiative. Fairfax Councillor Hilary Bruce spoke at the meeting in support of the Seed of Hope project which was awarded £2,500.

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