On the whole we’ve had fantastic responses from the candidates we’ve spoken to and contacted (see below) that show they are as concerned about the climate crisis as they should be, and they seem prepared to make the difficult decisions necessary to affect change.
Summary of responses to our pledge request
Green Party Councillor Candidate Shane Collins:
Would you be willing to declare a climate emergency? Yes my motion to MDC declaring a Claimte and Ecological Emergency was passed some time back, slow progress on acting on it though.
Will you pursue a planning agenda that focuses on tackling climate change? Yes, we have just got some Special Planning Documents added to MDC planning framework but it mainly comes from central government.
Would you be willing to eradicate single plastic use? Yes again MDC passed my motion banning SUP's in MDC use a few years back. Now no plastic cups or bottles.
If elected would you meet with Frome Families For the Future to discuss the importance of the climate emergency? Any time
Independents for Frome Councillor Candidate Scott Ward:
"I wouldn't presume to speak for Steve (copied in) but I'm sure he would agree that that climate change, negative impacts on ecology and wildlife are things that we both think are massively important. We were both Councillors for the town when Frome Town Council declared both a climate emergency and an ecological emergency and these are stances that we would campaign the new unitary council to adopt should we be elected.
It's my belief that any decisions that a council makes should assess and take into account the knock on effects to climate, ecology and wildlife and at the very least should aim to be carbon neutral and where possible work towards a carbon deficit. This includes identifying and removing single use plastics from anything that is within the councils purview.
If we are both elected to County then I'm sure we'd love to meet with From Families for the Future to discuss areas of concern and ideas for tackling them."
Independents for Frome Councillor Steve Tanner
"To add to what Scott said, we also voted through a supplementary Planning document last year that put the climate emergency at the forefront of our planning policy, and following this Mendip did the same only a slightly watered down version. As Scott said we are all passionate about the climate, environment and how to protect it."
Liberal Democrat Councillor Candidate Adam Boyden
"I / we already have at Mendip District Council (where I am a councillor currently) several years ago, we agreed a cross-party motion to declare a climate (and ecological) emergency there and have been acting on it since. I was a Cabinet Assistant for climate change from June 2019 until the General Election took over my time in autumn 2019, and drafted an Action Plan which led to the current work MDC is doing on climate (which has us ranked 9th in the UK in the recent Climate Emergency UK scorecards (https://councilclimatescorecards.uk/scoring/district/).
Yes, we need more action on climate change to minimise emissions from planned new development, as well as existing housing, industry and transport, and I supported more stringent planning guidance on sustainability requirements which was consulted on recently (see https://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/10495/Additional-Planning-Guidance), but as it is guidance on existing policy we will need the new Somerset Council to draft a new Local Plan policy to make more improvements.
Our manifesto commitment (attached) is to focus on eco-friendly, truly affordable housing options to both rent and buy. New builds should be carbon neutral, insulated and with water harvesting, heating and energy systems based on renewable technologies. Work with other authorities and Government to make new homes carbon neutral as standard. Also as building standards and the National Planning Policy Framework are major drivers and impediments to higher standards, more action is needed politically at national level.
Yes we need to minimise single plastic use to avoid pollution of the sea and rivers and harm to aquatic life, and build up on micro plastics in the environment. Mendip DC banned use of single plastics including bottles again in a cross party motion years ago, and we would do so across Somerset Council.
Meet you? Of course. Maybe see you later at the Frome hustings?"
Byron Taylor Labour Councillor Candidate
"Tackling the climate emergency is a key priority for Somerset Labour. You will always get a hearing from us. We are as worried about the future as you are. Great to see you on Sunday."
Bryon Taylor responding to a question we posed about the Climate Emergency at the Hustings: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdBy93SjS37/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==
We did not receive a response from any Conservative Councillor Candidates nor did they attend The Hustings
We really appreciated the time Councillor Candidates took in responding to us.
The results for the Somerset Unitary Authority were as follows:
Liberal Democrat: 61
Green Party: 5
The 6 councillors for Frome elected to the Somerset Unitary Authority are: