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Sustainable Shaftesbury

Wild flowers for Sustainable Shaftesbury Project.jpeg

 

March 2024

The Sustainable Shaftesbury working group is an informal grouping of some dozen local volunteer environmental experts with a particular concern for the degradation of the natural world who came together in the autumn of 2022 under the aegis of Shaftesbury Town Council (STC) to formulate a comprehensive strategy and action plan for the town to meet the present and immediate challenge of climate change and biodiversity loss. The working group works to a remit agreed with the town council but it is not part of the town council and operates independently of it.

 

How it all began

 

With a membership that consisted largely of members of the recently defunct Shaftesbury Open Spaces Group (defunct as a result of STC changing its committee structure in May 2022 and stopping its recreation, open spaces and environment committee ROSE) and the existing Shaftesbury Tree Group, all of whom are also supporters of Planet Shaftesbury, the working group began with the title 'Climate Change Working Group' but this soon became 'Climate Change & Sustainable Shaftesbury Working Group' in order to broaden its remit and relevance before being abbreviated to 'Sustainable Shaftesbury Working Group'.

 

Between October 2022 and December 2023, a hardcore of local volunteers worked on producing a number of documents that, after some last minute renegotiating with some hesitant members of the town council, was finally adopted by STC as official council policy in February 2024 under the title ''Sustainable Shaftesbury Vision Statement and Masterplan'.

Sustainable Shaftesbury Vision Statement and Masterplan

 

''Sustainable Shaftesbury Vision Statement and Masterplan', subtitled 'Shaftesbury’s response to the climate and nature emergency', with its seven appendices of action plans for biodiversity recovery, trees, allotments, wildflowers and open spaces management, is the definitive plan for how the town council will meet the climate change challenge over the next decade.  

(Click here for document)

The approved plans include a total of nearly 100 actions that can and should be taken under the headings Energy, Travel and transport, Biodiversity, Land management, Food consumption and production, Housing and commercial development, Waste reduction and management, the Circular economy, Water management and Air quality. Each action has been given a green, orange or red coding - green meaning action is already being taken (mainly within the town council itself), orange that action is pending, and red that nothing is being done yet.


 

The red items include most of the really ambitious, game-changing actions such as setting up a community-run energy company to generate our own energy needs from renewable sources such as solar and wind power, encouraging more and better local food production, and making developers do more to protect and enhance nature.
 

The approved document stipulates that a review of the plan will start in July this year (2024) and so the working group continue to meet to refine and add to the actions needed and in particular to suggest items for funded work in time for the new council's discussions on setting its budget for 2025-26 that start in September.
 

High on the 'to do' list is also ensuring that the Sustainable Shaftesbury masterplan becomes an integral part of the Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan, currently under review, as well as STC's five-year strategic plan that expires next year. Members of the Sustainable Shaftesbury working group have always been clear that without the sustainability vision being central to both the development of the town and the town council's own strategic plans it has little meaning or relevance and it is to that end that most focus is now being directed.
 

The group is open to anyone with the same or similar sympathies and many are already part of the Planet Shaftesbury network of people and organisations. To join find Sustainable Shaftesbury events amongst the listings on this website. You can also find out more from Shaftesbury Town Council at 01747 852420.
 

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