Gloucestershire County Council: Youth Climate Panel

In May 2019 Gloucestershire County Council joined many other local authorities in declaring a climate emergency. They committed to setting up a Youth Climate Panel so young people could play a key role in informing future plans to bring about a low carbon, resilient and attractive Gloucestershire.


The challenge

In May 2019 Gloucestershire County Council joined many other local authorities in declaring a climate emergency and held a Climate Summit jointly with the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, whose mission is to drive sustainable economic growth throughout Gloucestershire. They work with business, education and the public sector in the county and help us to ensure a wide audience.

At this event, the council committed to setting up a Youth Climate Panel and it was agreed that young people want and need to play a key role in informing future plans to bring about a low carbon, resilient and attractive Gloucestershire where people want to live, work and visit.

The solution

We launched a communications campaign via social media, press releases and direct contact with schools and youth organisations in the county in August 2019, and in October 2019 had set up the Youth Climate Panel which has 40 members aged 16 – 25:

  • These positions will be held for a maximum of two years.
  • Members will advocate for Gloucestershire’s young people, representing thoughts and ambitions of the county’s younger generation.
  • Where possible we have targeted a diverse membership, as representative as possible of the demographics of young people in the county. This includes choosing members proportionality to the demographic characteristics of the population of the areas of the county that they come from.

The panel represents the young people of the county and in being a member gives them the opportunity to have their say on:

  • what the county council will do to act on climate change
  • how we can encourage people to behave in a more sustainable way
  • our climate change policy and action plan.

The panel supports future proofing of our climate planning for the county:

  • The panel will provide the opportunity for young people to have a voice on climate change issues, giving members the platform to influence and have their say on how we respond to the climate emergency together.
  • They will ultimately help to bring about a low carbon, resilient and attractive Gloucestershire where all people are proud to live and work, with the county aiming to be net zero by 2045.
  • They will also help Gloucestershire County Council fulfil its’ climate commitments; working with partners to collectively reduce Gloucestershire’s carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2030, when compared to 2005, and secure a carbon neutral (net zero) county by 2045.

The impact

The first Youth Climate Panel meeting took place on 21st September 2019. We are pleased to be working with 40 young people aged 16 - 25 years on developing our Climate Change Strategy. 

Members of the panel gave Gloucestershire County Council feedback and raised ideas about improvements to the draft Climate Change Strategy 2020 – 2025 and action plan.

We will be using the feedback from the panel in our annual reviews of our county council Climate Change Strategy, along with the results from a public consultation held in the summer of 2019.

Lessons learned

The Youth Climate Panel has been able to meet virtually through the pandemic, but we are looking forward to re-invigorating this group as the county moves into COVID-19 recovery. We will also be working to embed the into county wide governance on climate change working alongside the new County Wide Climate Change Coordinator, and joined up county wide activity and action planning which we and partner local authorities in Gloucestershire are committed to.

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