Through our project The Great Collaboration – Leading to a Zero Carbon Herefordshire we are inviting communities to come together. Discussion, sharing of information, inspiration, and peer-to-peer support is at the core of this work supporting parish councils and their local communities. Around the county people are starting to respond to Herefordshire’s declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency with their own shared, locally-relevant, practical projects and plans.
Which councils have already declared a Climate Emergency?
Stage 1 of The Great Collaboration
Between August 2019 and February 2020 during Stage 1 of The Great Collaboration project HGN took a zero carbon focussed workshop to six locations across Herefordshire (Hereford, Bromyard, Ledbury, Ross- on-Wye, Leominster and Kington). HGN engaged with 155 councillors from 57 different councils representing 41% of the 139 (including Herefordshire Council) councils. These councillors represented the full spectrum of local governance in Herefordshire across all areas and all levels; parish, town and county councillors were all represented.
Stage 1 of The Great Collaboration aimed to engage as many councillors as possible with the aim of raising understanding about the issues of becoming carbon neutral. Workshops focused on achieving zero carbon across four key areas; transport, energy generation, energy saving in buildings and land use.
Stage 2 of The Great Collaboration
The next stage of this project aims to support the feeling of local momentum towards carbon reduction. Using online resources to enable ease of peer-to-peer communications and sharing across parishes we hope to work towards our target of net zero by 2030. We are currently developing a portfolio of tailored webinars and workshops for parish councillors covering the subject areas that they requested from The Great Collaboration stage 1 workshops.
The workshops / webinars will all be made available on our website and YouTube channel.
We have just received funding from MCS to develop an Online Platform for local parishes as an engagement tool for their communities. The locally focused websites will encourage individual households on their journey towards zero carbon, whilst guiding and supporting the development and uptake of local zero carbon initiatives.
As councillors become increasingly aware of the vital role they have to play in the climate response HGN, Caplor Horizons, Herefordshire Association of Local Councillors (HALC) and also The National Association of Local Councillors (NALC) are pooling understanding, contacts, expertise and resource to develop a facility that will be responsive to local needs, and supportive of future carbon reduction planning.
In the experience of HGN, councils across the UK are concerned about declaring a climate emergency because of the perceived risk of being unable to make tangible plans towards achieving a zero carbon target. The website resources we were developing will offer support for those councils in developing their own local strategies, and a way of working with their local community that will be both inspirational and practical, enabling communities to engage with the climate emergency in a way that provides local outcomes, and allays feelings of impotency in the face of climate anxiety.
We will trial the project with Fownhope Parish Council in the Autumn / Winter of 2020. HGN will then coordinate with HALC to ensure good uptake for the website around Herefordshire – and then with NALC to extend the offer to parish councils around the UK. We plan to have the website resource available for local use across Herefordshire by Spring 2021.
… And we are happy to invite local councils who would be interested to work with us on this to get in touch as soon as possible.
Contact Beth Williamson, The Great Collaboration Coordinator for HGN
Resources for Councillors
Join our Network
Our strength is in our network so joining means that you can share skills and experience with those who live and work near to you, link with those further away who share your interests, and help HGN to set up the tailored support and specialist events that you want. Further details here: https://hgnetwork.org/network-links