Working together to help make Torbay carbon neutral

Undated handout photo issued by Sky Kids of the Prince of Wales appearing in the Sky Kids documentar

The Prince of Wales appearing in the Sky Kids documentary Cop26: In Your Hands ahead of Cop26 - Credit: PA

Preparations for the COP26 in Glasgow this week have been all over the news.

It’s disappointing that a number of world leaders are choosing not to attend, and the jury is out on whether the Prime Minister has failed in his statecraft by not ensuring that there was enough buy-in from key leaders around the world.

Not so long ago, there was some debate whether climate change was happening.

Over recent years it has become the role of those who believe in a flat earth to actively campaign against the climate change emergency.

With an overwhelming challenge before us, it can feel that as individuals whatever we do will not make a difference, but in reality, while Government policy at national and local level needs to change to tackle the climate emergency, we all as individuals need to take responsibility for our own actions.

Working together to save our planet has never been so important and there is so much we can do in our own communities to unlock the potential of local action and find solutions to adopt.

As part of the national COP26 programme of regional events, Torbay Council is holding its third community conference at South Devon College next week to explore how we can work together to help make Torbay carbon neutral by 2030.

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The conversation, supported by the Southwest Energy Hub, will enable everyone who attends the opportunity to share their hopes and fears for the future and what support they want to provide for the changes needed.

Climate change experts from the University of Exeter will also be there, along with local community groups and businesses who will be showing how they are making changes in the areas of travel, open spaces and food and waste minimisation.

We want to hear everyone’s views on what is working and what could be improved.

There is lots of work going on and much to celebrate, but much more can be done.

We know that tackling climate change is good for our environment, can create new jobs, improve our health, save us money, and help Torbay thrive.

The council’s most ambitious climate-focused project this year is to invest millions of pounds in two solar farms that should power Torbay Hospital and our sewage plant.

This is in tandem with projects putting in place more tree planting, better walking and cycling routes, and electric charging points.

We have a lot planned. Making Torbay carbon neutral by 2030 is one of our partnership administration’s key priorities.

We will be putting in place our own action plan by April 2022 so we can become a carbon neutral council.

This plan will look at how to decarbonise our estate and it will look at our fleet, our decision-making processes and how we buy and commission services.

We can all take action to help make Torbay become carbon neutral and tackle the climate emergency together.

Simple steps include leaving the car at home, walking, and cycling more and reducing our energy use.

We can reduce the amount of waste we create by reusing and recycling more and we can put in more trees and biodiversity-rich plants in our gardens.

If you enjoy gardening, then you might be interested in a range of volunteering opportunities in parks and open spaces that are being offered by the council in partnership with Groundwork South.

This includes gardening, tree planting and lots of other activities.

Visit www.torbay.gov.uk/volunteer-in-parks-and-green-spaces/ to find out how to get involved.

Groundwork South also runs a regular Green Café which is open to all residents.

We want to carry on having conversations and taking action with our communities to help the Bay become carbon neutral.

Helping to save our planet is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and future generations.