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.
The improvement of traffic conditions on the A361 has been a priority for the Greens in Glastonbury, including sending out a Speedwatch team to check traffic speeds and engaging the services of Campaign to Protect Rural England in an HGV survey, a process which is on-going.
Green Councillor Lindsay McDougall – who has been closely involved with the campaign which calls on Somerset County Council Highways Department to reclassify the A361 through Glastonbury, imposing a maximum weight limit of 7.5T, and removing its freight route designation – said recently, “We are campaigning for a zebra-crossing in Chilkwell Street and received a site visit from Somerset County Highways… without a positive result, therefore, Glastonbury Town Council attempted to go to the Ombudsman on this matter. Unfortunately, the Ombudsman have turned down the request, as they don’t deal with councils...”
Cllr. MacDougall confirmed that testing for NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide gas) is going ahead in Chilkwell Street: “The Town Council is now ordering five £10 NO2 kits from cleanairuk.org to test the air quality along the road.”
“Mendip have tested air quality at the Rural Life Museum roundabout at the top of Bere Lane, but the air quality is potentially worse where the buildings are close to the road on both sides and provide a ‘canyon-like’ effect – where the fumes cannot disperse so readily. This is a recognised environmental effect on roads, and that's why we feel Glastonbury Town Council should conduct our own tests.”
“Mendip currently claim the air quality is within legal limits, which is questionable, particularly in these places – at the Rifleman’s pub and then around where the new houses were built right next to the road!”
In the meantime, Glastonbury’s Green Councillors have been informed that – in the search for long-term solution to the congestion on the A361 – the Department of Transport are currently in discussions about undertaking a feasibility study for an up-grade of the road system across mid-Somerset!
Watch this space!
Up-date from Green Councillor Lindsay MacDougall:
Glastonbury’s Green Councillors fully support the Lighten the Load campaign – please add your signature to petition HERE.
Lindsay MacDougall, one of our new Green Town Councillors – who lives on the route – has been involved in the Lighten the Load A361 campaign since the beginning of the year. She writes …
“We have been tirelessly tramping the streets gathering signatures for the petition asking Highways to divert HGVs from the A361, with over 6000 people now having signed (combining paper and on-line petitions).
“However, recognising that there is as yet no obvious magic bullet to the question ‘Where do the HGVs go?’, we have looked at this with a variety of tactics.
“In the summer I approached the full gamut of local and national road action groups and we now have the support of a number of these bodies to help us achieve a 20mph zone throughout the town, which will at least improve safety and noise levels.
“The next step will be to conduct a community-wide survey to garner support. The success of this venture depends very much on vocal and visible support, so please do sign all the various petitions, paper copies of the ‘Divert HGVs’ petition may be found at a number of locations around town, including Earthfare (the health food shop), the Red Brick Building, and outside no.69 Bere Lane. Alternatively, you can sign the on-line Change.org version HERE.
“Letters to the ‘horse’s mouth’ can be very effective; please write to:
David Fothergill, Highways Officer at Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, Somerset. TA1 4DY
“For specific incidents, log your accounts with our local Highways Office:
Mendip Area Highways Office, Wells Road, Glastonbury, Somerset. BA6 9AS
“Local press and media continue to champion our cause with regular coverage, and in September our MP finally came to see the A361 route through Glastonbury in person. However, not much sympathy there, with vague promises of a new north-south road development across Somerset in the distant future, dependent upon economic need, and suggestions of a bypass paid for by sacrificing currently protected countryside around the Tor to housing estates. In other words, the usual message that ‘no money is available’.
“In November we handed to our County Councillor an A361 residents’ petition to install a Zebra-crossing in Chilkwell Street to provide pedestrians from the Drapers’ carpark and residents with a safe crossing point; we are yet to receive any concrete response from County.
“Residents and campaigners are presently continuing with their own vehicle counts in order to challenge County Highways’ figures. Times and locations for such surveys are crucial, since vehicle numbers, data around pollution and noise and accident reports seem to be out of kilter with the lived experience of pedestrians, residents, and other road users.
“In the New Year we will be presenting a further petition to the town to demonstrate support for a 20mph zone throughout the residential areas of Glastonbury including the A361 through town.
“And finally, please do attend the monthly full Town Council meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. Our County Councillors, local police, and other influential people should be made aware in a public forum of the strength of feeling. If you would like advice on how to present the issues you wish to highlight do contact me:
Telephone: 07582 599 049
I look forward to seeing you there!”
If you would like to contact Lighten the Load direct, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org