New Climate Forum In Dover

Banners of East Kent Climate Action groups.
Climate Action Groups Banners – picture provided by the Author

Local Climate Forum Tells DDC To Listen

Inspired by new climate action partnerships and forums elsewhere in England, the Independent Climate and Ecological Action Forum of Dover District, ICEAF-DD, was born in February 2021. Similar examples include SouthEast Climate Alliance, Liverpool Climate Action Partnership, Canterbury Climate Action Partnership, and Shropshire Climate Action Forum.

Forum’s Aim

The Forum’s aim is to be a single channel through which various hardworking community groups interested in climate and natural environment in Dover district can exchange views with Dover District Council between now and 2030.

Two groups are part of Transition Network: Transition Dover and Transition Deal – DealwithIt. Additionally East Kent Climate Action, set up in Deal in 2019, Kingsdown Conservation Group, Sandwich Environmental Conservation Group, Youth Strike for Climate Deal and Dover also campaign on climate issues, as does East Kent against Fracking.

Online Survey Of Public Attitudes

While waiting for recognition by DDC, the forum carried out a public online survey that ended on 27 September 2021. The nine-question survey aimed to find out what climate-concerned citizens of East Kent thought of DDC’s actions since the council declared a Climate Emergency (cabinet decision 4/11/2019; voted through in January 2020 by all 32 councillors).

New Advisory Group Formed

The results of the online survey are available to all associated local community groups. They will be sent to DDC councillors. ICEAF-DD hopes that when the newly-formed DDC Climate Change Project Advisory Group meets for the first time in November 2021, they will respond.

The cross-party DDC Climate Change Working Group lasted 18 months from December 2019 until its suspension in June 2021. The Leader of DDC decided on the composition of the group in June 2021. There were to be eight Councillors, five Conservative and three Labour. (Dover & Deal Green Party were not offered the co-opted seat which they had held in the earlier body.)

Jocelyn Grey, convenor of ICEAF-DD said:

“With evidence from so many expert scientists, and the Royal Institute for Foreign Affairs’ warning that net zero pledges will not limit global warming to even 2 degrees, we do think all local councils should follow the advice to establish dialogue with civil society, so we can work on the crisis together. It pleased us that 169 people responded to our survey. And we were overwhelmed by the amount of passionate, personal comments that people added.”

Results Of the Survey

  • 87% were concerned about both impacts of climate crisis and biodiversity extinction.
  • 96% said it was important post-pandemic, to build back in a fairer, healthier, more climate-friendly way.  
  • Only 39% said they’d seen the DDC new local plan that DDC described as having climate vision. Of those, most – 72% – said they’d seen Dover’s draft new local plan and were concerned about it.
  • 58% said they would like DDC to protect existing countryside, create new homes within our towns and villages and encourage the restoration of natural environment and agro-forestry among Dover’s landowners.
  • 80% said they wanted DDC to step up to large-scale retrofitting of rented housing by accessing local authority loans and creating more local jobs.
  • 70% said they wanted DDC to bring the target date for a net zero carbon district forward from 2050 as other councils have done. And 88% wanted DDC to insist developers use truthful, objective, Environmental Impact Assessments when claiming to respect biodiversity.

What Younger British Voters Are Calling For

Sam Brookfield, a local climate campaigner said, “We really need respectful conversations between councils and citizens on this issue that is shaping the future of life on earth. I was delighted to take part in the ICEAF-DD survey.

Many of us have seen what rising sea levels will do to our Kent coast if governments and councils don’t take the serious action that younger British voters are calling for.”

For more information Contact: Jocelyn Grey e:  m: 07912 933845