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Apr 24

What Shaftesbury's election candidates think of the climate emergency question


The following question on climate change was put to each of the 11 Shaftesbury candidates for Dorset Council: ‘If elected on 2 May, will you immediately propose that Dorset Council passes a resolution to declare a climate emergency in Dorset in line with 70 other local authorities in England including Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall councils?’


Here’s how they answered (in alphabetical order of surname):

Derek Beer (LibDem): Yes, I really like that idea. I may not do it on day one but will at the first sensible opportunity that I am able to with a window of success. I am also promoting the ‘Go wild for Britain’ campaign, which raises awareness and participation in supporting the food chain, from butterflies to bugs to hedge birds etc.

Alex Chase (Conservative): While I cannot guarantee immediately proposing this resolution, I do agree our current situation is grave and we must work to combat the damage already done. I would be happy to support a well thought-through resolution but changes and improvements must be funded adequately and taxpayers in North Dorset have already seen a substantial increase in their council tax bill this year. But I will always fight for greener policies across Shaftesbury and the whole of Dorset.

Tim Cook (LibDem): Climate change is an issue that affects us all, no matter where on this planet we live.  If elected to the new Dorset Council I will do what I can to ensure Dorset joins other councils in the South West to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Melanie Costas (Labour): Yes, but I’m sad to see the action of Devon Council in only committing to a target date of 2050 rather than 2030 like the other councils. No wonder there were shouts of ‘shame on you’ from the public at their debate.

Lester Dibben (Independent): Yes, I will [because] this is due not just to my own view but as a result of others raising concerns.

Andy Hollingshead (Independent): Yes, but I would prefer Green Party members to lead on this as I’m conscious this campaign is being led by them and it would only be good manners to defer to them in this. But if they don’t lead or no Green Party members get elected I would be very happy to initiate the proposal at the County Council.

William Kenealy (Labour): Yes, our manifesto doesn't directly promise it but it is totally in keeping so yes.

Julian Prichard (Conservative): Yes, I would be happy to propose a resolution to declare a climate emergency in-line with Government targets and look what Dorset would need to do to reach a target of being carbon neutral by 2030.

Lester Taylor (UKIP): I would be unhappy to put forward or second a motion asking fellow councillors to support declaring a climate emergency, unless it contained fully budgeted and concrete actions that could be taken by that particular council to deal with it. I would, of course, be happy to look at and debate any such motion were it put forward.

Steve Unwin (UKIP): No, I would definitely not propose such a thing and it is even questionable whether I would support it if someone else did. I’m not a hippy.

Peter Yeo (Independent): Yes, and I'll be particularly pushing for car charging points everywhere as soon as possible to help promote the change to electric cars and good quality cast-iron bins in high streets and other key points with dual recyclable and non-recyclable sections in one bin as in places like London.

Thanks Richard, this is a really useful reference for the coming elections. It is really heartening to see how many are in favour, in fact everyone except UKIP (though Con is a bit half-hearted)

I baulked at scoring each candidate out of, say, five for awareness, knowledge, commitment, speed of reply, and enthusiasm on the climate change issue but then decided why not? So for what they're worth here's my scores - purely personal and subjective of course:


Awareness Knowledge Commitment Speed Enthusiasm Total score

Derek Beer (LD) 2/5 3/5 2/5 3/5 2/5 2/5

Alex Chase (Con) 2/5 2/5 1/5 3/5 1/5 2/5

Tim Cook (LD) 2/5 2/5 2/5 2/5 2/5 2/5

Melanie Costas (Lab) 2/5 2/5 3/5 2/5 2/5 2/5

Lester Dibben (Ind) 2/5 1/5 3/5 2/5 2/5 2/5

Andy Hollingshead (Ind) 3/5 3/5 2/5 4/5 3/5 3/5

William Kenealy (Lab) 4/5 3/5 4/5 4/5 4/5 4/5

Julian Prichard (Con) 2/5 2/5 2/5 2/5 2/5 2/5

Lester Taylor (UKIP) 1/5 1/5 1/5 0/5 1/5 1/5

Steve Unwin (UKIP) 0/5 1/5 0/5 0/5 0/5 0/5

Peter Yeo (ind) 2/5 2/5 3/5 2/5 2/5 2/5


All candidates may score highly on other issues but on the climate change issue, generally speaking, I found most candidates to be uninformed and tentative.


Apr 25

Many thanks Richard. Just thinking I must found out all this info and you're ahead of the game!! That's great! Karen


Yes really interesting and it helps me to make up my mind who to vote for, but I may dig a little, try to find out more first

Apr 25

Do keep us informed. thanks Karen

You should - and let us know what you find. It remains a great pity there are no Green Party or Planet Shaftesbury candidates anywhere in N Dorset.

The latest video from 'Going South' on You Tube is a heroic look at our attempts to solve the world's problem right now. The decisions at local level seem completely irrelevant.

have you watched the video I recommended Richard? it's ACT GLOBAL too, or instead of.

@richardgthomas01 I probably cannot. 'links' has remained a mystery to me thus far. I will see what I can do. Maybe I could share the you tube vid to the planet shaftesbury email account.

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Apr 30Edited: Apr 30

unfortunately, a controversial reply is needed here as if that is unusual!.

After, if not before, the 2nd May local elections, we need to vote for the 'REBEL parties if we wish to remain a DEMOCRACY.

Both Conservatives and Labour, and also the Libs, are attempting to crush democracy by refusing the validity of the BREXIT referendum.

The only option is to vote against those parties at present, until Brexit has been implemented, whether 'remainers' like it or not.

We had a DEMOCRATIC vote and that is of paramount importance right now.

Lose Democracy and we lose our VOICES for ANY of OUR CAUSES, be it Climate Change, Animal Liberation or anything else.

New Posts
  • Hi All, Some of you may have noticed a recent refresh of the website design which hopefully makes things a little clearer and easier to read. We have also recently added a new "Further Reading" page. This contains many links to key reports and articles on Climate Change and Biodiversity loss. This is a great place to start if you want to learn more on these subjects. You can access the new page straight off the menu above - its under the "Find Out More" heading or just click here
  • Simon Hoare, North Dorset's Conservative MP until the dissolution of Parliament, replied to my request for his views on the climate emergency by saying: 'As I don’t know what the questions will be [at the 21 November hustings] I’m obviously not sure what my answers will be.' But he said he was prepared to give the following what he called 'a top line flavour' of his views: 'My main thrust will be: energy efficient building regulations, use of economic instruments to nudge behaviours, positioning 2050 as an end date not a target, and finally supporting initiatives to make our sophisticated lives more sustainable/less impactful.' So that's a full house: all four North Dorset Parliamentary candidates' views on the climate emergency are now on this Forum. Pin 'em down on 21 November!
  • It's all here: