South Lakeland District Council: Climate Action Plan

I very much favour articles that are about climate change, biodiversity etc. and I had a write up from Cllr. Dyan Jones from South Lakeland District council, on climate change, that I thought I would share with LDV readers

Tahir Maher

Wednesday Editor


Here in Cumbria, South Lakeland District Council takes the business of climate change seriously, and sustainability underpins everything we seek to do.

Declaring our position last year; recognising the emergency, committing to action and unanimously agreeing to make this a public commitment, we set out to inform, influence and implement actions to address this emergency in all areas under our direct control, where realistic and feasible.

This has meant growing new relationships and reforging old ones. Our leader Giles Archibald and I have met with residents and businesses hosting ‘Climate Conversations’ across the district, where we listened and shared ideas (these were unavoidably suspended at the start of lockdown while we migrated to a remote way of operating). We want to be a catalyst for change in a collaborative manner because we realise we cannot do this in isolation. Thinking globally, acting locally.

There is a clear desire to ‘do more’, and from this desire, we have created the Community Climate Fund to support community action on the ground proactively – does what it says on the tin! One of the things we are determined to do is work with partners. The pandemic has shown how we can work together to great effect. Better together has a new emphasis for many.

We are the first district council in Cumbria to commit to work towards a target (2030 to become carbon neutral). We do what we believe in – working with others to uphold the importance of our environment with ambition, focus and determination.

Some measures in SLDC’s Climate Change Action Plan include:

Operations –

  • Commission building-by-building reports on external and internal measures with recommendations
  • Assess the potential for minimising emissions and improving biodiversity on SLDC owned land and assets
  • Commission report(s) on enhancing biodiversity of SLDC land and parks
  • Review streetlights and potential energy-saving technology
  • Assess and implement measures to significantly reduce SLDC business travel emissions
  • Investigate potential for electric vehicle and bike use for employees on council business
  • Review procurement to optimise carbon-efficient operations in council contractors
  • Work with local partners to create an offsetting and biodiversity strategy for SLDC to offset irreducible emissions, including tree planting and biodiversity creation

Collaboration with partners –

  • Review transport arrangements, improving travel, parking and roads in the district to move to a greener network
  • Install Electric Vehicle charge points and look into discount parking rates for low emission vehicles.
  • Facilitate cycle hire provision, including electric bikes.
  • Support Businesses to become low carbon organisation For example helping with green audits, hosting workshops and collaborate with companies on community energy groups
  • Help the tourism industry transition to be low carbon
  • Help residents to have more energy-efficient homes, including promoting schemes such as LEAP/ Cold to Cosy and offering grants.
  • Consult with communities and stakeholders on policy options for how new development can reduce carbon emissions. Progress work on a local nature recovery and green infrastructure strategy. Deliver climate change training for all council planning officers

More details about SLDC’s climate change strategy, including the Climate Change Action Plan, can be found here:


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  • The first point is that there is no climate emergency. That is alarmism put about by Extinction Rebellion, who will tell you that our children will be dead in a decade; and the Guardian, whose editor instructed her staff to be more alarmist. It is irresponsible for any District Council to use misinformation to needlessly frighten its residents.
    Global warming is taking place, but it is very gradual and has been exaggerated in a number of ways. Most of the concern about warming has been driven by climate models which have been around now for half a century. They have become more complex over the decades but are based on the same fundamental assumptions. These assumptions are flawed.
    Warming last Century was quite extensive and rapid. About fifty percent of this is now attributed to natural warming related to solar effects, decreased cloudiness, reduction in air pollution and the warming phase of multidecadal ocean oscillations. Carbon dioxide is essential plant food and necessary for the existence of life on our planet. The biosphere is now enjoying more vigorous growth and this enormous extra carbon sink has not been taken into account by the models.

  • After decades, we now have plenty of measurements of reality (observations) to compare with previous model predictions. The models have failed. Correct prediction is the test of validation. None of the models has been validated. The current crop of models (CMIP6) have been modified but are worse than CMIP5, which is a significant blow to the credibility of the modellers.
    I would say to the District Council, tone down your alarmism, and get things in perspective. I totally support avoiding pollution in all of its forms especially in the air we breathe and in waterways. Worry less about global warming and more about basic things like sewage being dumped in our rivers, energy being wasted by leaving things on, and one time use items that do not decompose.
    More internationally, wildlife and diversity is under huge threat by man, primarily through loss of habitat. Trophy hunting and pirating of our most rare and treasured species is a most serious problem. Global warming is not a problem, our planet always endures huge climate changes on its own. It is the other man made problems that are the threat.

  • As the first Leader of the Liberal Party group on South Lakeland District Council (way back in 1974) I’d like to congratulate my successors on both their achievements in winning what used to be a safe Tory constituency by excellent down to earth campaigning and casework, and also on the work they have put into this document. Well done, folks.

    We can ignore the odd Climate Change denier. People should just take a look at photographs of the two polar regions to realise what is going on (and to compare photos of Mount Kilimanjaro forty years ago and today).

  • The Melting Snows of Kilimanjaro | Science | › news › 2001/02 › melting-snow…
    The Melting Snows of Kilimanjaro. … More than 80% of the ice on Africa’s highest peak has melted since the early 20th century, joining other glaciers that are ebbing from the world’s tropical mountains at an accelerating rate. Ice in the tropics sits at the knife edge of climate change.

  • Tony Greaves 8th Jul '20 - 7:50pm

    Can I suggest that people like “Peter” who use this forum to promote dangerous nonsense should be told to use their full names and reveal their political connection if any. Otherwise they should be ignored.

  • John Marriott 8th Jul '20 - 8:02pm

    That’s great for South Lakeland; but what about the rest of England? OK, every Council in England goes the same way ; but what about the rest of the UK? OK, the whole of the UK does the same; but what about the rest of Europe? OK, the rest of Europe follows our lead; but what about the rest of the world? Do you see the problems we face?

    Climate change is real. How much of it is due to human activity can still be debated; but clearly we humans have played a part. How we reverse it means that everybody needs to be signed up,

  • David Raw, you obviously scrabbled around to find something to back up your belief. Rajendra Pauchauri, the former leader of the IPCC, made the same mistake. He too, claimed that global warming was causing the melting of the Kilimanjaro ice cap. It was subsequently proven that deforestation of the lower slopes had deprived the mountain of the humidity necessary for adequate precipitation. In other words, cutting down the surrounding forests stopped the generation of moisture that normally fell as snow on the mountain top.

  • @ Tony Greaves. I’m sorry if you think I am promoting dangerous nonsense. Please inform us all of anything I have stated that is misleading or untrue. If you cannot find anything, please have the decency to say so.

  • @ Peter (Anonymous). The only scrabbling around I’ve ever done was back in 1980 when I took three days to climb to Uhuru Point, the 19,308 feet summit of Kilimanjaro. At the time the last 3,000 feet was covered in snow and ice. It’s not now – and by the way I learned the earth is definitely not flat.

    I didn’t notice you there, but there was no obvious forestry activity either in what is a National Park with a well known Forestry Reserve.

    I’d find your nostrums more convincing if you cited your full name, qualifications and experience….. after all, it’s standard practice for acceptance in published academic scientific works, all of which are subject to peer review.

  • I’m reminded of my undergraduate days back in the 1960s. The students’ union repeatedly passed motions demanding that the US Government withdrew from the Vietnam conflict. President Johnson took no notice. Likewise, the South African government ignored the student union’s demands for an end to apartheid.

    As environmental activists keep telling us there is only one planet. It follows that there
    is only one atmosphere. The proportion of that one global atmosphere occupied by the area of South Lakeland is vanishingly small.

    According to the latest available figures on the European Commission’s emissions database (2018) the UK accounts for just under 1% of global CO2 emissions. Putting that into perspective, it’s about half of Germany’s share of the global total and about 10% of the EU’s contribution to global emissions. The EU28, in turn, makes up a little under 10% of the global total compared with 30% for China and 14% for the USA. India’s just under 7%, Russia about 5% and Japan just over 3%. In fact there are 16 countries with higher shares of global emissions than the UK.

    Whatever climate measures South Lakeland decides upon will make no difference to UK outcomes. Climate measures enacted by the UK as a whole will make no difference to the global situation.

    The electors and council tax payers of South Lakeland might be better served if their council concentrated on their statutory duties and focussed on delivering local services competently and efficiently. Who knows, sticking to the knitting might restore some credibility to the party and, let’s face it, the party desperately needs that.

  • The article in “The Australian” that Peter referred to is behind a paywall. However, the article is freely available at

  • It’s a brave person who puts their head above the climate parapet – so well done, Peter.

    I am not a scientist, and my opinion is as relevant as that of a drunken tramp in a city centre subway – but, I do have questions and observations.

    The emergence of Michael Shellenberger from the climate ‘bubble’, and the online distribution of Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans, have only reinforced my opinion that the obsession with CO2 has distracted away from the environmental damage done in other areas.

    Our city council has ruthlessly imposed an economic growth model upon us that has laid waste the environment of our city – whilst lecturing us all on our CO2 footprint.

    I’m afraid that I am more angered by this real environmental destruction than I am by hypothetical models.

    Also, it would help if all MEPs, MPs, and councillors followed Sarah Ludford’s example of never boarding a plane.

  • Peter Martin 9th Jul '20 - 9:11am

    “It’s a brave person who puts their head above the climate parapet……..”

    Or someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about!

  • @Peter Martin

    Would it not be better to take on the arguments than insult the poster?

    I’ll admit to my ignorance on the subject, but who do I listen to?
    There are very eminent scientists who disagree with the CO2 hypothesis; wholly or partly.

    Some, like the recently departed Freeman Dyson, actually believe that some CO2 and warming are good for bio-diversity.
    As somebody who has a plot on an allotment site I know that, were I to be in a market gardening scenario, I would improve my vegetable yields by feeding them more CO2.

    The thing that gets to me is that I am fanatical about the environmental destruction going on around me, but that destruction is ignored whilst people obsess about CO2.

  • John Marriott 9th Jul '20 - 9:49am

    David Raw’s experience in Kenya reminds me of our own experience on the Columbia Ice fields between Jasper and Banff in the Canadian Rockies. On our first visit back in 1972 the glacier almost reached the main highway. You got out of your car, bought your ticket and got on to one of the massive caterpillar tracked vehicles waiting by the side of the road. When we returned in 2002 you had to get on a bus to travel at least a couple of miles Off the highway before you could board the caterpillar tracked vehicle that actually took you onto the ice. Clearly, something had happened; but what proportion of it is ‘man made’ is debatable. Sorry, ‘Peter’; but I don’t think that deforestation had anything to do with what my wife and I witnessed nearly twenty years ago. Now, if the glacier has made a comeback in that time, I shall have to do a ‘Keynes’ (when the facts change …….).

    The point I was trying to make in my previous post was that whatever we do on this small island of ours will be as nought unless the rest of the world plays ball as well. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try; but the kind of antics that the Extinction Rebellion folks have been getting up to is likely to put more people off than win many converts. You know, I was quite heartened to see the reaction of some travellers on the London Underground recently when those ‘protesters’ climbed onto the roof of their train, thus preventing it from departing.

  • Peter Martin 9th Jul '20 - 9:50am

    @ Mike Jay,

    Your Students’ Union may not have achieved a US withdrawal from Vietnam or the ending of Apartheid in South Africa on it own. But it did play its part.

    The history books will forever record that the US did indeed withdraw from Vietnam and Apartheid was ended in South Africa.

  • On the Tanzanian side, John. More to the point I want to challenge the patronising tone towards South Lakeland Council by some of the recent anonymous arrivals on LDV.

    South Lakeland deserve every credit for their initiative. It also warms my heart to see that they seem to be appreciated by the good folk of Westmorland & Lonsdale. They get elected and in control time and again. If every other constituency association followed their dedicated example and grassroots hard work the party might be in a much better place than it is these days.

    I remember from childhood days, ‘thee don’t get owt for nowt’, and I well remember singing that lovely old Victorian hymn in Chapel Sunday School : …… “You in your small corner, And I in mine”. Well done in your small corner Westmorland Libs.

  • After all the in-fighting above, let’s get back to the article.
    Well done, South Lakeland for showing such a determined approach to the climate problem. It’s great to have some actual measures in place rather than vague aspirations. Let’s hope other councils follow suit. I shall certainly pass on the article to our local council, who are thankfully a coalition of reasonable people, having thrown out the Tories in May 2019.

  • richard underhill 9th Jul '20 - 11:15am

    9th Jul ’20 – 8:33am
    After the 2016 referendum there are no British MEPs, so trips to Strasbourg are unlikely except for tourism. There is a beautiful cathedral with an interesting clock.
    In the EU there is peace between France and Germany, which is politically important.
    MPs from Northern Ireland are likely to say that they need air travel. MPs from the north of Scotland, such as from Orkney and Shetland, are also affected.

  • Alex Macfie 9th Jul '20 - 11:20am

    Mike Jay: You invoke Student Union gesture politics, and of course left-wing Labour Councils also used to be notorious for spending a lot of political energy and public money on various political campaigns that were utterly outside their brief (the GLC under Ken Livingstone being the best known example). But that is not the case with what South Lakeland District council is doing here — its Climate Action Plan is all about actions that are entirely in the gift of the Council, and relate directly to its proper business. It’s all about running the Council in a manner consistent with its principles, rather than making grand gestures on foreign policy issues in which it has no stake.

  • Alex Macfie hits the nail on the head. Symbolic action which goes beyond symbolic gestures matters and it is right for Councils and Council Groups to campaign for change through a visible link between what they say and what they do. Yes we do it within the remit of the Council while remaining politicians with a wider vision in our campaigning on a wider canvas. Well done South Lakeland on their work so far – all grist to the mill for others who are finding their way down a similar track in other parts of the country.

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