by Dr Richard Tabor.
Published in the Central Somerset Gazette on Thursday, 28th February 2019.
In a rare moment of consensus ten of eleven Glastonbury Town Council members attending a meeting depleted by illness on Tuesday 12th February voted to pass a motion declaring a Climate Emergency put forward by two former mayors. Only Conservative representative and County Councillor Terry Napper abstained as other members from all parties voted in favour.
Green Party councillor Jon Cousins spoke to the motion which was supported by his colleague, Emma George. Citing the dire consequences of a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming’s 2018 special report on Climate Change the council’s ambitious Climate Emergency committed Glastonbury to:
“1) Continue to show foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Change, having adopted an Environmental Charter, opposed fracking in the Mendips and throughout the UK, installed solar panels on the Town Hall roof, and banned single use plastics;
2) pledge to make the operation of Glastonbury Town Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.”
After reading out the motion Councillor Cousins spoke of the “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, reminding his colleagues that Climate Change is a serious issue effecting everyone. He noted that Town Councillors as representatives of the community needed to take action because seemingly insignificant every-day actions, such as discarding a plastic bag, can have far reaching consequences as demonstrated by the vast amount of plastic waste floating in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
He went on to say that the decisions we make now as individuals, as communities and as a nation will be judged by our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with the consequences. In calling for the motion to be adopted he concluded that the council had a duty to future generations to be on the ‘right side of history’. He received eloquent support from Councillor Emma George who explained that other Councils across the UK had already passed similar motions and had pledged to make their towns carbon neutral by 2030. Only Councillor Napper was unwilling to support the motion as he felt that the word ‘pledge’ was too strong. The passing of the vote was received with huge cheer from an uncharacteristically full public gallery.
Glastonbury’s Green Councillors are absolutely delighted that – this evening – Glastonbury Town Council declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ and pledged to make the operation of Council carbon neutral by 2030; with cross-party support for the Climate Emergency Motion proposed and seconded by Green Councillors Lindsay MacDougall and Jon Cousins.
Climate Emergency Motion:
In light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming’s 2018 special report on Climate Change – warning of the dire consequences of a 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures, and highlighting the need for rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society – this Council declares a ‘Climate Emergency’ and will:
1) continue to show foresight and leadership when it comes to addressing the issue of Climate Change, having adopted an Environmental Charter, opposed fracking in the Mendips and throughout the UK, installed solar panels on the Town Hall roof, and banned single use plastics;
2) pledge to make the operation of Glastonbury Town Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.
Have you got that burning sense of injustice and would like to channel it on the front line of debate? …then please come and stand with us!
There are many ways in which you can help get your voice heard:
In Glastonbury, there are 16 seats on the Town Council, and we already have more Town Council candidates confirmed than any of the other parties! However, we want 16 GSGP members to stand; ‘a full slate’ – which proved a winning strategy last time.
Find out more, please contact Christine Prior – Local Party Contact & Membership Secretary, e-mail: email@example.com
On Tuesday, 9th May 2017, Cllr. Emma George became the 318th – and third successive Green – Mayor of Glastonbury!
Out-going Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, proposed his Deputy for the position as the final motion of his Mayoralty, telling the assembled Councillors and members of the public: “It is with great pleasure that I propose Cllr Emma George for election to the role of Mayor of Glastonbury. I feel that the election of the current Deputy Mayor to the highest office is something that is both seemly and worthy.”
“Seemly because as Deputy Emma has been a great support to me in my year of office. Joining me on many Civic Occasions, and representing Glaston admirably and capably when I could not.”
“Worthy because time and again she has show real leadership and professionalism with regard to the Council’s business.”
“May I remind Councillors of how she negotiated favourably with Weedingtech; has worked diligently on helping to develop the Youth Council; has worked closely with the Police and One Team to help address anti-social behaviour in the town; has chaired with great skill the Town Centre Working Group, and supported the various projects and campaigns that have evolved from this forum.”
“Her contribution to the Council’s Staffing Committee and as Chair of the Communications Committee reflecting the expertise and experience in these related industries.”
“Finally, I would like to say that the role of Mayor demands that we rise above the petty divisions of politics to represent the whole community; to truly encapsulate the role of First Citizen.”
“This is something that Emma has fully achieved in her capacity as Deputy Mayor. And so, without further ado – I recommend that this Council elects Cllr Emma George as the 318th Mayor of Glastonbury.”
Emma’s nomination was seconded by Conservative Councillor Steve Henderson. There were no other nominations, and Emma was elected Mayor by a unanimous vote.
In her acceptance speech, she said: “I will make sure to do my best to represent you all. Jon is a hard act to follow. He has been an absolute pleasure to work with.”
“I know I am heading into this year with great people around me.”
A first for Glastonbury!
Emma’s first act as Mayor was to preside over the election of Liberal Democrats Councillor Denise Abbot as Deputy Mayor; a first for Glastonbury – as the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor have never been held by two women during one Mayoralty before!
As the third Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Emma follows Cllrs. Jon Cousins (2016-17) and Denise Michell (2015-16); a major achievement for the Green Party’s members and supporters in the South West.
Glastonbury’s Green Councillors fully support the Lighten the Load campaign – please add your signature to petition HERE.
Recent petition update:
Happy New Year from Glastonbury! Finally a long awaited update from Lighten the Load A361. [3 Jan 2016]
Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Well are now in the top 5 on Tripadvisor, out of 383 attractions in Somerset! Both attractions are accessed from the perilously narrow A361. But Somerset County Council refuses to re-route HGVs from Glastonbury’s Tourist Trail.
It is not too late to: SHARE THIS PETITION and COMPLAIN TO THE COUNCIL using the link below.
Please read on.
As I write, the ever increasing HGV traffic is shattering the peace of this ancient place of pilgrimage, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands walking the narrow pavements. We continue to suffer broken sleep, stress and pollution while we watch accommodation businesses fold.
Complaints are vital, not least because County has recently claimed that – traffic has NOT increased – in spite of all experience to the contrary! – they will NOT fund traffic surveys, decibel, pollution and vibration testing for Glastonbury. The leaders of Highways have repeatedly failed to meet with Glastonbury Town Council. With cramped fingers they hold on to the status quo, praying we will give up and go away.
Remember your last walk along the A361 for the Tor footpath with your friends/family/small children/dog on lead. Recall the thunder, the fumes, the high pitched noise of HGV engines, the lack of safe crossing places, the proximity of the traffic to your body on that 2 foot pavement. The sleepless nights in homes or B&Bs along this route… Recall trying to engage in ‘quiet reflection’ at the Chalice Well Gardens, ‘World Peace Gardens’ (alas not so peaceful).
Click on the link, scroll down to ‘Complaints’ and tell SCC about your experience – request they re-route HGVs away from Glastonbury’s Tourist Trail.
WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WORK THIS HARD ON SOMETHING SO OBVIOUS. SHAME ON COUNTY AND HIGHWAYS OFFICIALS FOR THE DISRESPECT THEY SHOW GLASTONBURY. Please help by posting your complaint today. Thank you so much for your time!
N.B We now have 6000+ combined paper and online signatures. The A361 committee (set up by the Town Council in response to this campaign) has been working away quietly, building our case in support of the petition. Date of petition handover to Somerset County still TBC
If you would like to contact Lighten the Load, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org