The Council is seeking to reduce its own carbon footprint, and is also encouraging residents to do the same through engaging with communities to support local carbon reduction projects and initiatives.
Carmarthenshire is a Council located in West Wales with over 9,000 employees and a land area of 2,372 square kilometres. In 2009 the Council undertook an intensive consultation and engagement exercise in a small community of Ferryside to explore and evidence how effective engagement can produce changes to people's awareness and behaviours in ways that reduce their carbon footprint. Planning and preparation for the initiative - which was called Byw Sir Gar - took several months, whilst the campaign itself was delivered over a period of one month (November 2009).
Following an evaluation of this pilot, Carmarthenshire's Community Challenge was launched by the Prince of Wales as part ofthe first Start Festival in the National Botanic Garden of Wales. It is about reducing our footprint and impact on the planet. It is the follow-up to the pilot project carried out in Ferryside during 2009 , and is a joint initiative for Carmarthenshire county council and partners. The Challenge is open to any individuals and groups in the county, who will be given the opportunity and support to develop their own innovative and local solutions to the future challenges that we face.
The pilot campaign (Byw Sir Gar) was developed jointly by a number of officers from the county council and partner organisations, with support from the Environment Partnership, and was planned and delivered with a group of individuals from within the community. It aimed to cover several sustainability themes including waste, energy, transport, food and biodiversity. Publicity was also a key element ofthe campaign. The Challenge has similarly been developed as a joint initiative, with several community groups feeding into the process so far. All Town and Community councils were also invited to the launch event as they are seen as key partners in helping to deliver carbon reduction projects locally.
Carbon reduction and sustainability are key priorities for the County Council and Local Service Board. In order to deliver our aspirations it is essential that we involve the wider community. It is also a very broad agenda which requires joint working and collaboration both within the authority and with partners.
Delivering a coordinated effort will bring about a number of benefits including:
- Raising awareness of the challenges and how groups can access support to tackle these at a local level;
- Showcasing local sustainability projects from renewable energy schemes to community shops;
- Spreading knowledge among other groups in the county, and motivating other groups to become involved;
- Learning/improving engagement - what works and what doesn't
Name: Eurgain Powell
Title/role: Sustainability Adviser
Organisation: Carmarthenshire County Council
Telephone: 01267 224902