COMMITMENT: Has your local parish or town council agreed that there is a climate emergency and is committed to action?
A first start is for a council to meet and agree that it needs to take action about the climate emergency and declare a commitment to take action. It does not have to agree that it is an emergency, but it should at least agree to make progress to deal with the issues.
Has your council set a target by which they expect your area to achieve net zero?
It is usual to establish a clear target by which a council expects to achieve net zero. The Shropshire Council has set a target of 2030, and we have done the same.
Has your council established a committee or similar who are charged with addressing the issues which are posed by climate change?
It is a good idea to set up a group of people who have the responsibility for reviewing the areas which need to be tackled and then creating recommendations for action to be taken.
1 out of 10
Does the committee or group meet at least monthly?
To progress the issues with respect to climate change, it is important to meet at least monthly and undertake work in the meantime.
ENERGY: Has your council replaced the streetlights with LED Lights and installed Solar panels and wind power where appropriate?
We believe that simple action could be to start installing LED lights to replace current streetlamps and put in solar panels and wind power to support energy generation. Thus, the council can act on its own infrastructure to reduce dependence on gas and oil.
Has your council changed its source to an energy provider which bases its power sourcing on renewable sources?
There are several energy providers who can provide renewable energy based on renewables like wind, solar or nuclear. So another simple action is to switch suppliers.
Has the council provided advice and support to the community on options available to source and use renewable energy?
A local council should provide guidance to householders, businesses, farmers etc. on how to get renewable infrastructure like solar panels, air source heat pumps, and how to source renewable energy. They can also get involved in community projects like creating solar farms, wind power or district heating networks to source electricity and heating.
2 out of 10
Has your council taken action to ensure and know that most households, businesses etc. use energy from appropriate renewable sources?
If the community is well developed in terms of action against the climate emergency, then around 80 % or more will have installed the right infrastructure to support non-fossil fuel energy sources, or have contracts with suppliers of renewable energy.
BUILDINGS: Has your council ensured that all its buildings are built and insulated properly to minimise their carbon footprint?
As part of the programme a council should review the buildings in its asset register and ensure they are built to ensure minimal loss of heat and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Does your council provide information and advice on what is required to effectively create buildings that are eco-friendly?
It is useful if a council provides information on what insulation standards are required, and what should be included in buildings to help prevent leakage of heat into the atmosphere.
Has your council either sponsored or supported a retrofitting project for homes to be effectively insulated and protected?
In each area, there will be homes which have not been properly insulated because they were built several years ago. Hence there needs to be a retrofitting programme to make sure those homes are brought up to standard.
3 out of 10
Does your council insist that all new buildings include features which make them environmentally friendly?
Where councils provide planning permission, they can insist that new buildings are built to include solar panels, EV charging points, air source heat pumps and so on. It will make sense if these features are included now to ensure that in the longer term they are fit for purpose.
TRANSPORT: Do all your local councillors use bicycles or drive electric cars and are EV chargers installed in council buildings?
Under the heading of travel, we should be cycling or using electric vehicles. Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers can be built on council properties as appropriate for council or public use.
Is there an effective infrastructure in place for bicycles and EVs in the area?
As part of developing an effective travel system, then the local community needs access to good bike lanes, and EV chargers across the community to support the use of electric cars.
Is there an effective public transport structure, including community buses where needed, to encourage the use of public transport?
To encourage people to use local transport there is a need to ensure people can use trains easily, and travel locally using a community bus service.
4 out of 10
Do most people in the community use public transport, minimise the use of air travel, or use cycles and EVs to travel?
Travel should be based around the minimal use of fossil fuel-driven forms of transport. Hence cycling is good for shorter journeys. Public transport should help those that need it, and be readily available, with a community bus being available (shared if necessary, across councils). People should minimise the use of aircraft travel.
FOOD: Does the council provide information and advice on how to align diets with what is good for the planet?
We need to change our diet to one largely based on vegetables and minimise those foods that carry a high carbon footprint. In Shropshire there are many dairy farmers, so we should be encouraging them to adapt, and we should source foods locally from markets and local shops that source locally.
Has the council supported the development of growing your own by supporting and encouraging the creation of allotments and local markets?
It is good to encourage people to grow their own food in either allotments or their own gardens. Hence existing allotments could be supported, or new allotments built as necessary. Advice given could support people with information on how to grow their own food.
Do all councillors and families eat a diet based largely around vegetables and locally sourced meats?
It seems important that councillors set an example in the foods that they eat, and encourage greater use of plant-based diets.
5 out of 10
Do most of the households in the area eat a diet which is largely based on vegetables and locally sourced meats?
It should be possible to establish that most people in an area have altered their diet through surveys, or discussions with local residents.
STUFF: Does your council provide helpful guidance on recycling and reusing everything we can?
We should recycle and reuse as much as possible of what we buy. Sending things to landfill only creates Methane. This should cover electronics, clothes, food items, and all household goods.
Has the council provided central areas where people can recycle clothes, electronic items, and other unwanted items?
We can all recycle items which go to the local recycling facilities. However, often people have nowhere to recycle clothes or electronic items and so on, or indeed provide a way of letting other people use or buy - for instance - old clothes. So it would be good to have a central place where this can be enabled.
Has a repair cafe been established in your area?
Many parishes and districts have recognised the value of a repair cafe, to which people can bring anything to be repaired - like kettles, or bikes or anything! It is also a good social focus for the community.
6 out of 10
Does the area have a well-developed infrastructure and attitude to minimising the carbon footprint from the buying and selling of all "disposable" items?
A district which has a well-developed infrastructure would include local recycling areas, repair cafes and shops to help repurpose, recycle, and reuse items that we all buy for homes and businesses - whether it is kettles, clothes or washing machines.
BUSINESS: Has your local council engaged with local businesses (including local farmers) to encourage and develop businesses to become carbon neutral?
There are around 11,000 businesses in Shropshire, 95 % of whom are less than 5 employees in size. They will all struggle to understand how to take action around climate change. Hence it is vital that councils actively help them understand through a programme of education, communication and support on what they can do to become carbon neutral.
Is there a local forum in which local businesses share ideas and best practices with respect to implementing carbon-neutral practices?
It would be great if there was a grouping in which local businesses could get together to share best practices.
Have most of the local businesses implemented the necessary changes in their business to become carbon neutral?
The areas they should tackle are energy supply, heating and lighting equipment and operation, design of products to minimise carbon emissions, and insulation/protection of buildings. They should also develop EV charging points and minimise flights to make business travel eco-friendly. They should also encourage employees to become carbon neutral.
7 out of 10
Have most businesses succeeded in getting their suppliers to adopt carbon-neutral ways of working for the products and services they supply?
Technically the carbon emitted by suppliers is not "within the scope" of carbon reduction activities - they are technically known as "Scope 3". A standard definition of Scope 1,2 and 3 is summarised in the following explanation:
Scope 1 = All direct emissions from an organisation’s activities e.g. emissions from fleet vehicles and boilers
Scope 2 = Indirect emissions from electricity and oil purchased and used
Scope 3 = All other indirect emissions e.g. supply chain emissions, business travel, procurement, waste, water
So hence it is more challenging to deal with this aspect of procurement. However, we need to address this. It also helps to promote the idea of tackling climate change across the supply chain.
COUNTRYSIDE: Has your council provided information and guidance on how to protect the countryside and create space to improve biodiversity opportunities?
The local council should provide guidance on their website or leaflets which explain the importance to a community of the protection of species. Thus, if bees are eliminated as a species, we will lose food, which is vital to our survival. Also, trees and hedgerows play an essential part in absorbing Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere. This helps in making us carbon neutral. In Shropshire peat bogs are a key store of carbon dioxide, so we should stop using them for compost.
Has your council engaged with businesses (including farmers) to promote and develop practices which are good for the planet?
Businesses including farmers are vital people within a community who can make a difference in ensuring best practices in the countryside and how they manage their impact on flowers, insects, trees, and hedgerows. It is important that the council establishes actions within this community to achieve carbon neutrality.
Has your area engaged in an ongoing programme of planting trees and/or orchards to support the activity of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere?
Planting trees will help in absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. It will take a long time before this takes real effect. But it is a useful activity to engage the community, and eventually, make a difference in the concept of achieving net zero.
8 out of 10
Do local farming, forestry, peatland, and land use practices all point to a general commitment to achieve net zero emissions in the countryside?
Through local discussion or a survey discover if there is a general adherence to good green practices in the community.
YOUTH: Has your area actively engaged the youth in the community (5- to 20-year olds) in being aware of actions to take with respect to climate change?
Much of the conversation around climate change belongs to adults. However, it is vital that children and young adults understand how they should develop carbon-neutral lifestyles, from food to travel to managing households. This can be done through schools and local youth activities.
Do all schools and colleges have "Climate Change" and the climate emergency in their curriculum - either mainstream or as an option?
It would be great if all of the local schools and colleges had a regular course or training on climate change either on its own as a subject, or as part of another subject - e.g. geography
Is there a local group or organisation where young peole can meet and discuss the challenges of the climate emergency and take action?
It would be great if there was a local group that met on a regular basis in some forum as young people to discuss climate change and how they can influence the actions people take, or to take actions themselves
9 out of 10
Do the youth in your area actively engage in making a difference by taking action on the climate emergency, and is there demonstrated activity from the youth?
It would be good to find that the local youth make a real difference in the development of the actions around climate change in their community
EDUCATION: Have selected members of the council successfully completed Carbon Literacy training (at least 10%) and gained Carbon Literacy Project certification?
Around 10 % of the council should undertake Carbon Literacy training, which can be provided by Save Our Shropshire CIO. This will enable learners to find out more, and in particular, create pledges on what they will do after the course.
Has the whole council received at least eight hours of training, delivered by someone who has Carbon Literacy certification?
Once some councillors and/or the clerk have received their training from a Carbon Literacy training provider, then they should deliver training to other councillors which lasts a minimum of eight hours to ensure that they all are on an equal level of understanding of the impacts of climate change and give them a clear sense of what needs to be done. It is proven that less than eight hours does not provide sufficient knowledge for people to take appropriate action.
Have 15 % of local households had at least 1 person educated in the principles of Carbon Literacy by attending the SOS CIO householders course?
In order to get a critical mass of people to realise what needs to be done, and to change their behaviour, around 15 % of the local population should get to understand the detail behind the challenges we face, and then the actions we need to take, as well as make their pledges.
10 out of 10
Have an additional 15 % of households had at least one person receive at least eight hours of training on the principles of the issues behind the climate emergency and what action they need to take from someone who has Carbon Literacy certication?
To make sure that a whole community understands what needs to be done, it is important to have a critical mass understanding of the issues that we all face and the actions we need to make. The total to aim for at least 30 % to get Carbon Literacy certification.