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Responding to the Climate Emergency

In March 2019 the Council declared a Climate Emergency, resolving to provide the leadership enabling the Bath and North East Somerset area to be carbon neutral by 2030. 

Our research into where the main sources of carbon emissions come from has defined three immediate priorities for action for the Bath and North East Somerset area. It also outlined the scale and speed of ambition needed to achieve the 2030 target.  

  1. Energy efficiency improvement of the majority of existing buildings (domestic and non-domestic) and zero carbon new build; 
  2. A major shift to mass transport, walking and cycling to reduce transport emissions; 
  3. A rapid and large-scale increase in local renewable energy generation.

In July 2020 the Council declared an Ecological Emergency, resolving to: work with partners locally and regionally to drive coordinated leadership and collaborative action, resist the destruction of habitats through planning policy and development management, identify appropriate areas for habitat restoration and continued collaboration with communities, businesses and other organisations, existing networks and partnerships, schools, colleges and universities, to improve ecological literacy and encourage greater biodiversity, tree-planting and management.

Corporate Strategy 2020-2024.  The Corporate Strategy sets out our priorities for the next four years, as well as how we will deliver them. Tackling the climate and ecological emergency is one of the council’s two core policies designed to shape everything we do.

Climate Emergency Action Plan

Council Reports and Democratic Process

Progress Report (21 January 2021)

Progress Report (10 Oct 2019)

Climate Emergency and Sustainability Policy Development Scrutiny Panel Meetings are listed on the What's On page.

Connecting Communities Area Forums Regular climate and ecological emergency updates are provided at these meetings. A growing number of Parish and Town Councils have declared climate and ecological emergencies. Climate and Ecological Emergency Working Groups have been set up acorss the area, reporting into Parish and Town Councils.


  • Parish and Town Council Toolkit
  • Volunteering database - add and search for volunteering oppotunties linked to responding to the climate or ecological crisis
  • Of Pollinators and Placards - Cllr Warren’s Blog where she shares her experiences as Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency
  • Keep up to date with local news & events related to the climate and ecological emergency in and around the B&NES district on twitter @GreenBathNES.
  • Community Renewables Initial Site Assessment Service - The Council supports community renewable energy projects that keep the benefits of renewable energy in the local area. This assessment service augments the Council’s support for community-owned renewables by providing an early, low-cost steer on site suitability, identifying any clear barriers prior to progressing a scheme.

Webinar recordings

Council Webinar Archive - Panel discussions on topics such as Green Renewal, Green Skills, Green Homes, Climate Change policies in Local Plan Update.

Climate Conversations - catch up on Cllr Warren’s conversations with local citizens involved in actions that support the environment (Spring/Summer 2020).

Background papers and research

  1. Appendix - Synthesis of Evidence October 2019
  2. Climate Emergency Study Discussion Pack (slide deck), Anthesis, September 2019
  3. Climate Emergency Study, Carbon emissions from households and citizens, Centre for Sustainable Energy, September 2019

Individual action and system change

Responding to the Climate Emergency requires action across all aspects of society, from intergovernmental agreements, such as the Paris Agreement 2015, to real action by national governments and major corporations to deliver radical system change to stop the primary cause of carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. It is this level of change that will enable individuals, households and local businesses to cut their carbon emissions and achieve zero carbon by 2030. 

Bath and North East Somerset Council will be playing its part not only to provide the leadership to enable change on the ground locally and through the West of England Combined Authority, but also by pressing for change and for the powers and resources needed from central government.

Many residents and local businesses ask us what they can do. Below is a list of relatively simple actions that can be taken. However it must be remembered that, whilst we should all do what we can, these individual actions on their own are not enough and we will be seeking support from the community for the larger system changes that are needed.

Suggested actions

  1. Avoid food waste; buy local and seasonal food when you can
  2. Avoid palm oil in ultra-processed food and some cleaning products and toiletries
  3. Buy less stuff, make it last; eliminate single use plastics
  4. Get home energy advice via the Council's  Energy at Home helpline and see if you can make your home more energy efficient; switch to a green energy supplier
  5. Walk, cycle and use public transport as much as you can; use your car less and take fewer flights
  6. Talk to friends, neighbours and share ideas on what do to; engage with your local school, employer and become active in your community through a local community group, or through your Community Forum or Parish Council helping to work out what your local community could do

Suggested actions for businesses or organisations

  1. Improve the energy efficiency of your buildings. The West of England’s Green Business Grants Fund helps small and medium size businesses to improve their energy efficiency through capital works and operational equipment.
  2. Switch to a green energy tariff, if available
  3. Implement a sustainable Travel Plan. There is support available and opportunities to either remove the need to travel altogether, use sustainable transport more, and reduce individual occupancy car journeys, for both the daily commute and in-work travel
  4. When placing contracts for products or services, ask your supply chain about how they are responding to the climate emergency
  5. Source local and seasonal food when you can
  6. Have waste management and recycling in place, including food waste collection where possible


  • About one third of the food produced worldwide is wasted
  • Palm oil production has been rapidly accelerating and is the main cause of forest destruction. Forests are an important ‘sink’ for carbon dioxide and need to be protected and expanded
  • Making your home energy efficient will make your home more comfortable and will save you money