Action on Climate in Teignbridge (ACT) is a Community Interest Company (CIC) set up in 2019 by volunteers in response to Teignbridge District Council declaring a climate emergency in April 2019.
ACT believed that the council and community needed their support, and the council recognised that it couldn’t do it alone.
The challenge for ACT is trying to bring about change across an entire district. They currently work with Teignbridge District Council as well as fifty-three town and parish councils, and found that although their public events appeared to be successful, once over, people walked away and carried on their business as normal.
The solution has been a switch in approach to emphasise the importance of having trusted people for residents to speak to. ACT approach councils who they believe will be most likely to respond and task a councillor with coming up with a plan for their declared emergency.
They work at a grassroots level, collecting specific data for parish and town councils so they understand exactly the profile of an area’s emissions.
When town or parish councils claim they don’t have any assets which contribute to climate change, ACT encourages them to look at their carbon footprint as individuals and find out how to reduce it. Once they have gone through this process, the council is then in a position to encourage parishioners or businesses to do something similar.
ACT has created a resource pack which includes guidance on declaring an emergency developing a plan as well as the support available. They have recently set a target of finding someone in at least half the councils they are in contact with to be active, to have 50 per cent of those start a plan and to have at least one council to have implemented a plan by the end of 2020.
ACT has met with three quarters of local councils across the district to discuss why there is a climate emergency and what actions they can take to help. They successfully walked council representatives through what to do next having declared a climate emergency. The resource pack and carbon footprint tracker has been put to good use and several councillors have now actively reduced their emissions.
ACT has learnt that many councils need a lot of help and has been instrumental in finding expertise to support their plans.
Fuad Al-Tawil, coordinator for the Built Environment & Energy matters at Action on Climate Teignbridge:
Direct communication is important. Try to understand problems of local groups i.e. if they are opposing new development work to understand why, so you can overcome future challenges together.