Midsomer Norton Town Council held their bi-monthly meeting on Monday evening, leading to a debate about whether or not the Council should follow suit and declare a climate ‘emergency’. Radstock is currently looking at whether it should do so, too.

First of the public speakers, was local resident, Brian Snellgrove, who spoke on the matter: “I am Chairman of the local Allotment Association and believe that the name ‘climate emergency’ is ill-advised.

“The planet, as a living entity, adjusts itself to the sun. It is now at a low period of CO2, but it has been lower, and yet, we are still living.

“What the public is being told about climate change and what is actually going on are two different things.”

B&NES Councillor, Paul Myers, (Conservative, Mid- somer Norton Redfield), spoke seconds after, explaining: “For me, it is about the reality that I see. I go into our local shops and see vegetables from all over the world, in December, and all packaged in plastic.

“We should make an effort to cut out plastic and use paper to wrap the produce we buy.

“I pick up on the point mentioned by Mr Snellgrove, we should not make people feel miserable about the climate emergency, but we should enable people to feel empowered and involved in making a change.

“We called together a group to ask how we could empower people and how to help, and decided that we want to work with you [the Town Council] in partnership to see what ordinary people can do every day to help.”

Martin Plant, also speaking in favour of declaring a climate emergency, said: “I am a teacher in a local school and Trustee of the Community Trust.

“The environment and effect on the climate are prevalent within schools. We

revolve our drama productions around climate emergency to raise awareness, and on recycling.

“I am part of the Town Fayre Committee and this year, we voted for a green theme to make it as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.”

To add to the arguments to positively change Midsomer Norton for the help of the environment, Lucy Tudor, from Radstock Museum, spoke about the local people in and around the town doing their bit to make a change: “I set up a Zero-waste page on Facebook, which is now just shy of 1,000 local members.

“We have people from all areas working to help the environment: people reducing waste and CO2 through: Repair Cafés which are happening once a month in the local areas, Chew Valley Dairy, who supply local shops with milk dispensers, Solar panels on buildings, Baby equipment banks, refill stations in green shops, Westfield TerraCycle, which recycles most rubbish that would normally go to landfill, and veg boxes.

“By bringing Midsomer Norton into all of this, and shopping more locally with locally sourced food, we will cut CO2 and pollution.

“I wanted to talk about the positives and show that there are things happening locally, and some people are doing everything they can to change the environment.”

Mayor of Midsomer Norton, Councillor Michael Evans, addressed the meeting after lis- tening to the public speakers: “We have a clear list of actions to take. We have agreed that everything we are going to do is going to help our local community.”

Councillor Gordon Mackay said: “What upsets me most is when people declare an emergency, it often makes things worse.

“My family reduced energy use from twenty one to fifteen watts. If you do not measure what you use, how do you know what you need to cut?

“There is an argument that we need to do something, but also we need to change what we can before we declare anything.”

Councillor Baker added: “There is no climate emergency.”

Councillor Lawrence voiced his concerns: “I am not sure what good it does to declare a Climate Emergency, what are we declaring?

“What concerns me, is the plastic situation, and we are never going to be able to stop that.”

The Mayor finalised the arguments, saying: “I think there is a disagreement on whether to declare a climate emergency.

“The word ‘emergency’ makes me feel uncomfortable, this is really something that is long-term. I am personally not in favour of claiming it, but there is a cultural and political pressure to do so.”

The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Steve Plumley, suggested the Council calls it ‘raising awareness’, rather than an emergency. To which a motion was put forward: “Do not declare Climate Emergency, but that we should campaign for a better environment.”

The Council came to the conclusion that rather than join others, they would declare a ‘commitment to an environmental raising and action campaign.’