CAT Stories: Zero carbon councils – Interview with Town Councillor David Royle

CAT Stories: Zero carbon councils – Interview with Town Councillor David Royle


Home » CAT Stories: Zero carbon councils – Interview with Town Councillor David Royle

David Royle has been a Sawbridgeworth Town Councillor since 2015. Before that, he worked in publishing and as an education consultant. We caught up with David after the May Zero Carbon Britain course, to talk about the work his council does in getting to zero carbon, and how the course will inform their work.

CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain courses see people join across all sectors of society, from school teachers to members of climate action groups to local councillors, to gain the knowledge and skills needed to help implement and inspire changes in their community.

David Royle

What inspired you to join the Zero Carbon Britain: live online course?

Our County Council passed a Climate Emergency Motion last July; the District Council refused to call it an emergency on semantic grounds; both are yet to produce the promised action plans. I wanted to learn more about climate change, share concerns with others and access resources, best practice and links to follow up/adapt.

What are the key things you took home from the course?

I found Paul Allen’s Zero Carbon Britain introduction very helpful and clear in explaining how we have got into the present mess. The first time I have fully understood the background.

Rob Hopkins‘ talk was eye-opening and inspiring and Green Wedmore showed what might be possible in a small town like ours, with a bit of imagination and commitment.

How will what you learnt during the course inform the work of your council?

I have shared a summary and links with fellow councillors and members of the local groups, plus District Councillors and officers involved in implementing the climate action plan and arranging local sustainability forum meetings.

All councillors should see the Zero Carbon Britain presentation. I hope I can use what I learned to inform local action planning within the groups I belong to, as well as at council level. We have already funded a cycling and walking study, some of the recommendations from which we hope to fund and implement, following the government’s ‘green restart’ message and funding, but also linked to the three new developments in our town.

What are your plans/plans of your council?

As a councillor my particular concerns are:

  1. The impact of new housing developments on our town and the lack of commitment by the planning authority to ensuring that we get sustainable and energy-efficient new houses, despite the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.
  2. The lack of clearly explained recycling opportunities for residents, community groups businesses and local schools, including food waste.

Our town council passed a climate change motion and organised an eco-audit by 3 Acorns (Donnachadh McCarthy, who published books on a greener lifestyle 16 years ago), which we are in the process of implementing/extending to the town.

Want to learn more?

The latest Zero Carbon Britain report is free to download, with plenty of resources on developing community action plans and zero carbon models.

Our next Zero Carbon Britain: live online course takes place 23-24 September 2020.

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