Is our Weymouth Neighbourhood Plan fit for purpose in the climate and ecological emergency?
Weymouth’s Neighbourhood Plan is currently open for consultation and our latest blog post delves deeper into one of the five themes – Environmental Sustainability. It’s written by Weymouth resident and Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group volunteer member, Rob Cheeseman.
Rob says: “I am passionate about letting nature flourish, community resilience and tackling the climate emergency in Weymouth for now and also future generations which sums up what Environmental Sustainability represents in our plan. This is why I have an enthusiastic interest in the Neighbourhood Plan. It sets out a vision for the future resilience of our coastal town in the face of the challenges associated with the climate emergency affecting us all. So, it’s important that we have a plan in place.
“And as a town, I believe we can be proud of what has been achieved for carbon reduction, sustainability, and resilience within our draft Plan currently out for consultation.
“That’s because over half of the Policies listed in the Plan directly promote environmental sustainability and resilience by:
- Protecting biodiversity, our natural spaces and access to them (section 8)
- Requiring sustainable construction (section 9)
- Supporting sustainable tourism (WNP47)
- Supporting renewable and community energy schemes (WNP49/50)
- Promoting walking, cycling, public transport and electric vehicle infrastructure (section 11)
- Protecting and enhancing community growing spaces (WNP62)
Why are all these things important?
“National guidance governing local planning refers to improving biodiversity, minimising pollution, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and moving to a low carbon economy. The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) says that any Neighbourhood Plan which doesn’t consider radical reductions in carbon and doesn’t help build resilience “will simply not be fit for purpose”. So, I was reassured when I used their tool called ‘How Green is Your Plan’, and Weymouth’s measures up as “ambitious”.
“More importantly, you told us in previous consultations that you were concerned about the degradation of green spaces, biodiversity and water quality. You were concerned about the effects of traffic and air pollution on our health. You were also concerned about the threat and impact of flooding and severe weather events. I feel confident that our Plan goes some way to address these concerns.
“However, we need you to tell us whether you think it is ambitious. The Weymouth Neighbourhood Plan is open for consultation now. So, make sure you have a read through and give your views, supportive or otherwise, by the closing date of 5pm on Friday 15th December.”
The plan and supporting documents are available to view online and in libraries where you can get support to fill in the short survey.
The online questionnaire is available at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LKTT63N
A further drop-in engagement session takes place on Wednesday 13th December, 4pm to 6pm at The New Town Hall, Council Chamber, Commercial Road. Members of the Steering Group will be available to talk about the plan and answer any questions.