South Lakeland Good Practice - and challenges

Dyan Jones, Portfolio holder for Climate Action and Bio-diversity at South Lakeland District Council, writes about the council's green accomplishments.

The Liberal Democrat leadership at South Lakeland District Council is pro-active and forward thinking.

  • We’ve increased kerbside recycling, encouraged reducing waste.
  • Partnering and listening to parish and town councils we have set about mitigating biodiversity loss through our council plan.
  • We have engaged with parishes and new community groups such as PEAT, a local action group recently formed with the help of last year's Climate Community Action Fund which has also supported the Kendal Climate Jury, local cycling programmes, a peat restoration project with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, amongst other projects.
  • We’ve planted thousands of trees on our land and through a special scheme encouraged local landowners to plant trees on their land.
  • We have proactively minimised single use plastic in our operations.
  • We have increased the number of solar panels on our buildings. Lake wardens at Ferry Nab now have an electric boat.

These are just some of this council's accomplishments.

Recognising the impact of climate change, we declared a climate emergency two years ago when leader Giles Archibald and I set about meeting with the public. This formed the basis of the SLDC Climate Action Plan.

The world will be watching for action as we emerge from COVID-19 - the Government’s 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution could be good for an ambitious authority like ours, but let’s not be under any illusion, it will take targeted investment and support, along with the right policies, strategies and funding to get to where we need to be to meet their recently revised targets to reduce emissions.

This council takes mitigating climate change and bio-diversity loss seriously. We are not alone in this ambition, other leaders like us are joining the Race to Zero, and as the UK hosts COP26 later this year, we await increased investment from Government in:

  • micro energy
  • hydro infrastructure
  • retro fit energy saving initiatives, accessible to all.
  • improved, greener, cleaner transport - accessible and reliable
  • more resources at a local level for adaptation and resilience.

With a marginal 0.2 per cent of UK GDP investment in ‘green action’ at home compared with USA’s 9% into their new green infrastructure we are keen to see local led action enabled by government.

There is a new imperative, a new business as usual. Emerging from a pandemic into a politically charged world, we continue to make a difference, to lead and work collaboratively around green local issues - we push on. This is what counts to achieve real, significant sustainable prosperity for our residents and businesses. Action and collaboration - thinking globally, acting locally. As Lib Dems we are simply getting on with it!

South Lakeland invited schoolchildren to design posters to decorate the council’s fleet of recycling trucks
South Lakeland invited schoolchildren to design posters to decorate the council’s fleet of recycling trucks