Dorset Council’s Executive Advisory Panel for Climate Change recently hosted two Inquiry Day sessions where organisations and members of the public were invited to present their ideas for how the Council can help tackle climate change.

Back in December 2019, the Council launched its Call for Ideas, inviting people to submit suggestions for how they think Dorset Council could change the way it delivers its services to help reduce its carbon footprint and preserve the county’s biodiversity.

Of those people who submitted an idea and indicated they would be prepared to present, the panel shortlisted over 30 organisations and individuals to invite to one of two Inquiry Day sessions, which took place on Friday 21 February and Tuesday 3 March respectively.

Invitees were given 5 minutes to present, with additional time allowed for the panel to ask questions. Both sessions were open to the public to view, with over 100 attendees.

Organisations represented included (but not limited to) Damers School, The Arts Development Company, Wimborne War on Waste, Extinction Rebellion, Dorset Youth Council, Lyme Regis One Planet Working Group, Sustainable Dorset, Stop Ecocide, Dorset Cyclists Network, Transition Town Dorchester and Skills and Learning at Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Council.

The ideas covered a wide range of possibilities, including suggestions regarding renewable energy through wind and tide, solar panels for car-parks, bespoke training courses on how to mitigate carbon emissions, rewilding and tree planting schemes, communication campaigns, vehicle speed restrictions, sustainable public transport and initiatives to encourage walking/cycling to school and work.

All the presentations were warmly received by councillors on the panel, as well as by the public. The presentations will be discussed by the panel as part of its ongoing Climate Emergency work and considered alongside the estimated 600 ideas that were submitted as part of the Call for Ideas.

A selection of the presentations has been uploaded to Dorset Council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency webpages. These will also be passed to the Council’s Task and Finish groups to be discussed and incorporated into the forthcoming strategy and action plan on climate change, which will be published for consultation this Summer.

Cllr Ray Bryan, panel chair and Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said:

“I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to present their ideas to the panel at our Inquiry Day sessions. The enthusiasm that each presenter put into their ideas was inspirational and the panel were really impressed by some of the creativity on display.

While Dorset Council has a key leadership role to play in tackling climate change and dealing with its consequences, we can only hope to make a real impact by working closely with communities, organisations and individuals.

The Executive Advisory Panel for Climate Change is looking forward to taking these ideas and presentations forward, considering each idea and incorporating as many as we can into our strategy and action plan for the climate and ecological emergency.”

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