Penzance Council has declared itself as an Earth Protector Town, part of the Stop Ecocide campaign, with unanimous support from all Councillors.
Penzance joins Helston, Glastonbury, Stroud, and Woodbridge Town Councils in becoming an Earth Protector Town, with communities in the South West continuing to lead the way in actively tackling the climate emergency.
At a virtual Full Council meeting held on 18th January 2021, and streamed live on Facebook, Councillors voted unanimously to sign up to the scheme which is overseen by the Stop Ecocide campaign.
By signing up, Penzance Council has committed to collaborate and cooperate with communities, other local government bodies, businesses, and other organisations to protect land, wildlife, air, soil, and water. It also endorses the campaign to amend the Rome statute and declare Ecocide a crime at the International Criminal Court.
The Council unanimously declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019. A Climate Emergency Sub-Committee was then set up to establish a comprehensive action plan and forge local partnerships to help lead the battle to tackle climate change.
The Sub-Committee – made up of Town Councillors, representatives from Sustainable Penzance, Plastic Free Penzance, Extinction Rebellion West Cornwall, the Women’s Institute, and community champions – will act as the steering group to oversee local projects and activities aimed at protecting and enhancing the town’s local environment.
Chair of the Sub-Committee, Cllr Jonathan How, said: “We want people to know that Penzance Council is taking the climate emergency seriously.
“Lifestyle change is always difficult but the sooner that all of us grab the bull by the horns the less likelihood there will be of catastrophic change in the future.”
Since the Sub-Committee was formed, the group has brought about a host of changes and discussed a range of different projects including:
- Securing funding for Refill Pz (part of the wider Refill Cornwall Scheme)
- Writing to the local MP to request support for the Climate & Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill
- Lobbying Cornwall Council to reduce the number of waste lorries in Penzance
- The possibility of a community green space in Newlyn
Work has also been going on behind the scenes in partnership with Sustainable Penzance, a Community Interest Company (CIC), whose aim is to create a thriving town which puts people and the planet first.
A Council information leaflet and a Personal Action Plan have been created and will be mailed to every household in the Parish of Penzance later this month. The aim is to help raise awareness of the climate emergency, what Penzance Council is committed to actioning and how individuals can also help make a real difference.
Penzance Council has also been working closely with Cornwall Council and are pleased to announce that the Penzance Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Caseworker will be taking on new duties to tackle anti-social behaviour that has an environmental impact. This will include engaging with motorists who leave their engines idling – an idling engine can produce up to twice the emissions of a moving car and pumps out harmful chemicals into the air.
There is much work still to be done but this represents a positive step in the right direction and will help establish a framework for future projects and initiatives in the town. You can find out more about the Climate Emergency on our dedicated web page.