People’s Jury returns its verdict on climate change

The Lancaster district’s People’s Jury has returned its verdict on what more needs to be done locally to effectively tackle climate change.

The People's Jury first met in February 2020, before Covid-19 and social distancing requirements

The People's Jury first met in February 2020, before Covid-19 and social distancing requirements

Lancaster City Council declared a climate change emergency in January 2019, setting out a commitment to becoming net zero carbon by 2030.

This puts tackling climate change at the heart of all the city council’s policies.
Actions taken to date include the purchase of new electric vehicles, developing plans for new solar farms, and a review of council assets to reduce energy consumption.

The jury was formed to examine the response to the climate emergency so far and produce recommendations that will be used to guide the future work of the council and a range of other organisations across the district.

Specifically, the jury members were tasked with answering the question ‘What do we need to do in our homes, neighbourhoods and district to respond to the emergency of climate change?’

To help them, the jury members heard from a series of experts on a range of different subjects.

The 28 members, who were chosen to reflect the make-up of the district in relation to gender, age, ethnicity, disability, geography, attitude to climate change and deprivation, then developed their recommendations, which were formally launched on Monday (November 23).

They include suggested improvements in areas such as communications and education, waste and recycling, food production and farming, housing, transport and council leadership.

Crucially, they recognise that while local authorities need to accept and financially support the recommendations, real change will only come about by involving communities.

Welcoming the report, Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “I’d like to thank every single member of the jury, the experts who delivered the presentations, and all those involved in the process for their hard work and considered recommendations.

“Having an independent group that is representative of our communities produce these recommendations gives them real weight. We now need to come together as a district and decide how they will be implemented so we can achieve real results and effectively deal with the climate emergency.

“The first step will be taken at an open public meeting, where people will be able to find out more about the work of the jury and its recommendations, as well as contributing ideas on what we need to do next.

“I hope people will be able to join us and contribute to helping us tackle what is the most important issue facing us as a society.”

More details on the work of the jury and their recommendations can be found on Lancaster City Council’s website at Lancaster.gov.uk/jury-recommendations or in the right hand download menu.

The online public meeting will take place on Monday December 7 at 7pm. To register your interest in taking part visit Lancaster.gov.uk/launch-event.


Joint statement from the Lancaster district People’s Jury

In a joint statement introducing their recommendations the jury said: “We are facing a climate emergency which makes us concerned and worried about the future. We have heard from a range of experts and we now believe that if we take immediate action, we have the tools and the hope that we can address this emergency. We believe that the only suitable response will be one that brings many organisations and individuals together to work collectively and not separately.

“This is bigger than Lancaster. We recognise that many difficult decisions lie ahead but that we must act immediately and not allow a quest for perfection to get in the way of making progress. We need to take action today, not in 30 years’ time. A journey starts with a small step which all of us can achieve. The people of the Lancaster district need to see confident leadership, positive changes made and a clear plan for the future.

“Our city and county councils must accept that progressive change to fight the climate change emergency will have financial implications. Not being able to fund the recommendations we have listed here is no reason for inaction as money won't matter in a world that won't exist as we know it.

“The response to the climate emergency needs to be one that moves away from politicians making all the decisions but instead reaches out to the wider public and communities for ideas of how to achieve our recommendations. It's time for our councils to listen to the people of Lancaster and district and take action now, leading the way to make changes in response to this emergency.”

Last updated: 24 November 2020