The Copeland People’s Panel on Climate Change began on 14 July. The panel met every week between late July and September this year. All meetings took place online.
With the support of Zero Carbon Cumbria Programme and Shared Future, Copeland Borough Council commissioned the Copeland People’s Panel on Climate Change — a citizens’ jury that will guide the council and partner organisations on where their priorities should lie as they work towards their ambition of becoming a net-zero carbon district.
A citizens’ jury consists of members of the public that come together to deliberate and make recommendations on a particular issue, in this case climate change.
The panel comprised 30 residents from Copeland who met between eight and 10 times. During the process, which Shared Future facilitated, members heard presentations from a range of commentators, who bring expertise on climate change. Panel members will be able to ask questions of those commentators and share their own views and opinions with each other, before making recommendations for actions that can address the climate emergency.
The Sortition Foundation sent 6,000 letters to randomly selected addresses across the borough inviting them to register their interest in joining the panel. They then selected the 30 people who made up the people’s panel, ensuring it reflected the diversity of the local population, both in terms of demographic make-up and opinions on climate change.
Invitation letters went out on Tuesday, June 15. Recipients had until Sunday, July 4th to register their interest using a link provided in the letter.
Further information about the selection and recruitment process is available online.
The project has an Oversight Panel consisting of a group of local stakeholders from a range of public and private sectors who meet separately. It supports the work of the People’s Panel, lending it the additional influence and legitimacy essential for the successful implementation of the People’s Panel’s recommendations.
The Copeland People’s Panel on Climate Change reported its findings in November 2021. Read the full report here.
Panel members, selected to reflect the diversity of the population, listened to and questioned a range of expert commentators. Then they shared their ideas, deliberated on the issues, before creating a set of recommendations to be taken to Copeland Borough Council to consider. The Panel members came up with a set of recommendations including:
- Copeland becoming a centre for excellence for green jobs, skills and training for both our young people and adults, led by the Council in partnership with local expertise.
- Copeland having a robust plan that responds directly to our recommendations.
- Cumbria having an overall transport policy that addresses climate change urgently and with enthusiasm.
- Copeland having a clear strategy for all properties in Copeland to be carbon neutral by 2037.
- Having a vision, a plan and significant investment in renewable energy for Copeland.
- Community ownership of energy generation wherever possible.
- Having a plan (with time scales) for an ambitious, integrated, regular and affordable public transport system.
- Having supermarkets and shops to start selling local and seasonal produce.
- Developing a coherent strategy to enhance climate change education in all schools and education/training centres.
- Having a network of climate change communication champions should be developed and supported throughout Copeland.
- Council working with the college, community groups etc. and liaise with or commission a local person or group to review social media content and circulate information which is relevant to the local area, specifically linking with younger people in Copeland who are active on social media.
- Making recycling mandatory in residential, commercial and public spaces/premises.
- Ensuring that future road builing or widening schemes take into account whether the purpose of these plans fits in withthe climate change agenda.
- Making Copeland plastic bag free by 2023.
- Working with the hospitality sector to reduce its carbon impact.
- Making it easier for people to cycle as much as possible.
- Having a public consultation process (with youth groups, schools, and representative communities, businesses etc. including a number of dedicated sessions for members of the Peoples’ Panel) delivered by impartial parties to give information about the energy and carbon potentials of nuclear power.
- Making it as easy as possible for people not to use their cars.
- Reducing car journies to schools.
- Making Cumbria ready to implement a hydrogen (fuel) strategy.
Read the Panel’s full report here.
The Copeland Young People’s report, which accompanies the Panel’s report, will be published on here in due course.
In a collective statement, the Panel said:
“It has been a privilege for us to take part in the Copeland People’s Panel on climate change.
“We have shared together as a group our passion for our area and have developed a can do, let’s do attitude when discussing the climate emergency that we are facing. We have been inspired by the work of young people in youth groups across Copeland and our recommendations echo what many of them have said.
“We all want a better Copeland.
“We all want a future and we all believe we must leave a legacy for future generations.
“We have become hopeful by seeing the good work happening in other isolated communities where they have moved quickly to seize the opportunities available to them.
“However, we would urge local leadership to share the same enthusiasm and vision and can do, let’s do attitude that is essential for us to move forward. To demonstrate their commitment climate change must be at the heart and centre of everything that they do and say.
“We have felt the power of coming together and ask that Copeland Council harnesses the power of community involvement at the core of its vision for addressing climate change and initiates the leadership that is so badly needed.
“Local leadership must be energetic and heartfelt and build a credible vision to address the climate emergency otherwise our reality is no future. The people of Copeland will be badly let down, if the momentum started by this process is not
carried on by the local council, its representatives and others.
“We have become hopeful of what could lie ahead. A genuine commitment to our recommendations will lead to many additional opportunities, improved health and well-being, a strengthened sense of community, better air quality and more local jobs.’
The Zero Carbon Cumbria Programme is a partnership which brings together nearly 70 organisations in Cumbria spanning the public, private and third sectors, with the aim of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. It is funded through a £2.5 million grant from the National Lottery Climate Action Fund.