The council elections in May have changed the local political landscape in Cumbria, and CAfS is watching with interest to see what this might mean for efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

Following the elections, three of the six district-level councils in Cumbria now have no overall control by one party: Carlisle (previously Labour-led), Eden (previously Conservative-led) and Allerdale (previously Labour was the largest party). South Lakeland remains under Liberal Democrat control, while Barrow and Copeland remain Labour-led.

Independents and Green Party candidates faired well. Four Green councillors were elected in Cumbria – the first at district level (two in Eden, one in Carlisle and one in South Lakeland).

Meanwhile, in the European elections in the North West region, the Brexit Party gained three seats, Labour and the Liberal Democrats each gained two and the Green Party one seat for the first time.

As the new councils settle in and start building working relationships, we hope we might see more declaring a climate emergency, following the lead of South Lakeland and Carlisle earlier in the year.

A public petition is up and running in Eden to encourage the district council to declare a climate emergency, and Sustainable Keswick plans to launch one to put before Allerdale Borough Council and Keswick Town Council.

It’s hugely heartening to see parish and town councils also making climate emergency declarations, including the town councils in Kendal and Penrith, and Glassonby Parish Council in Eden. As part of Kendal’s declaration, the council is working towards setting up a Citizens’ Jury as part of the process of creating a detailed action plan. (There’s a link below for more information on citizens’ assemblies/juries). They’ve also formed a cross-party climate change group, including outside experts.

CAfS is non-political and we look forward to continuing to work with councillors at all levels of local government from across the political spectrum, to cut carbon emissions in the county and protect the future for all of us.

On this topic…

Why neighbourhood plans should tackle climate change – by Centre for Sustainable Energy

Beyond the ballot: How citizens can lead the climate change conversation – by Shared Future