Category Archives: News

Wiveliscombe on map for electric vehicle charging

An electric vehicle charging point is now available in Wiveliscombe, serving local residents and visitors.

The charging point is shown on Zap Map and the Pod Point network. It is located in the top part of Croft Way car park behind the Community Centre. To use, download the Pod Point app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Two cars can be charged at the same time, with 11 kW supplied from each Type 2 connector. Charging costs 32p per kWh.

The project was first proposed by Wivey Action on Climate and Environment in 2017 and followed a local meeting in 2016. There have been changes and delays due to the merger of district councils and the pandemic, but the charging point is finally available for use.

Electric is the future for cars and the sooner we can transition the better for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also important that we reduce the need for travelling and cycle, walk or use public transport whenever we can.

Wiveliscombe Community Centre are hosting the charging point and it is connected to their electricity supply, which means some charging will be solar powered from the Brendon Energy solar panels on the roof. The charging point is managed by local volunteers. For further information email: ev@wiveyaction.org.uk

Funding has been provided by grants from Brendon Energy, Somerset West and Taunton Council and Wiveliscombe Town Council.

Shown in the photo above (left to right) are: Francesca Croft*, Julie Mitchell (town councillor), local resident Sue Clowes, Des Hawkins* and Dave Mansell (district councillor for the ward). Dave and Julie organised and now manage the charging point.

*Wiveliscombe Community Centre

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Wildlife-friendly planting provides welcome to Wivey

As part of town recovery projects, an amazing group of volunteers have come together to look after the bank at the back of Croft Way car park. Somerset West and Taunton Council, who own the bank, agreed to this initiative and strimmed back undergrowth and grass encroaching on the footpath. Volunteers have removed brambles and started to plant woodland trees and flowers.

There will be further wildlife and insect friendly planting on the bank, including fruit bushes, bulbs, pollen-rich shrubs and plants for year-round interest. Over time, the bank should develop further into a lovely new feature welcoming people to Wivey.

The volunteer group has also done great work in the herb garden behind the Community Centre. Do take a look at the variety of herbs and flowers, the hazel arch and a willow hedge, all of which should flourish over the coming months. You may also wish to sit on the bench and enjoy the view.

In the photos above (click to view full size) are project leaders Lena Holland and Jon Burgess with officers from SWT’s Open Spaces team.

A steering group is allocating funding from Somerset West and Taunton Council for town centre recovery projects in Wiveliscombe. So far, these have included a contribution to building works at Wiveliscombe Community Centre, hanging baskets in the town centre, umbrellas for those queuing for shops, as well as some costs for planting on the car park bank. The steering group consists of the two Somerset West and Taunton councillors for the Wiveliscombe ward and representatives from the 10 Parishes Business Group, Town Council and Wiveliscombe Area Partnership.

Photos below (click to view full size) show the latest work in progress at the herb garden behind Wiveliscombe Community Centre.

This all builds on work first undertaken to create the community herb garden back in 2013.

Lots of Wivey tree planting

Wivey has been busy tree planting again.

On 9 November 2020, students and volunteers planted about 400 trees in the grounds at Kingsmead School, including rowan, crab apple, hazel and more from the Woodland Trust.

On 13 December 2020, a hedge was planted with 500 saplings from the Woodland Trust alongside the rugby pitch and next to the allotments at Plain Pond.

In March 2021, 1,000 trees were planted by volunteers at Langley Moor, including willow, alder, oak, birch and rowan. The planting was funded by FWAG and the Environment Agency and also raised funds for Wivey Skate Park.

Covid-safety measures were followed for all planting.

Consultation events for Council climate plans

Events are being held in January and February 2020 to consult on a Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Plan and a new Local Plan for Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) and a Climate Emergency Strategy for Somerset.

These include a roadshow with displays at Wiveliscombe Community Centre from 10am to 3pm on Thursday, 20th February 2020. Council staff will be on hand to discuss the plans and to record your ideas.

Online consultation (6 Jan – 19 Feb) for the county-wide strategy can be completed at: www.somerset.gov.uk/waste-planning-and-land/climate-emergency

Online consultation (20 Jan – 2 March) for the SWT climate plan is at: yoursay.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/climate-emergency/online-survey

Click here for consultation documents and details of all consultation events in Somerset West and Taunton.

UK target for net zero carbon emissions

As one of her last acts as Prime Minister, Theresa May has announced the UK will be the first major economy to set a legal target to stop contributing to climate change.

The target is to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, which is based on a report from the Committee on Climate Change on what is needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s aim of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5°C. The target is also in line with recommendations from the International Panel for Climate Change, although some argue that the IPCC underestimate climate risks.

CCC-Net Zero by 2050
Click image to view full infographic, from the Committee on Climate Change, on climate impacts, UK action and getting to net zero by 2050.

Further details and different perspectives are given in the following articles:

The UK’s new target is welcomed, but there is uncertainty on how quickly carbon neutrality is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. There is a strong argument we just need to make rapid progress as quickly as possible. Along with many other local authorities, both Somerset West and Taunton Council and Somerset County Council have recently declared climate emergencies and set targets to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The true test of all these declarations and targets will be the action that follows. A Citizens’ Assembly, sponsored by House of Commons select committees, is to be held in the Autumn, which may prove interesting and assist with policy choices.

World has stark warning

The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns the Paris target to limit global warming to 1.5ºC could be exceeded in just 12 years.

The panel’s report was another massive effort in reaching consensus on global science and policy. It is based on over 6,000 scientific studies and involved a team of 90 scientists and policy experts nominated from 40 countries. The process started in March 2017 and there were three report drafts and 42,000 reviewer comments. The final report was published on 8 October 2018 after a week-long meeting in South Korea. See the following links for more on the conclusions and implications.

BBC – Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’  and What does it mean for the UK?

WWF – How much difference will half-a-degree really make?

Guardian – IPCC report spares politicians the worst details

Inside Climate News – Radical Energy Transformation Needed

Professor Kevin Anderson says high-carbon lifestyles of top 20% need to shift rapidly

Carbon Brief – In-depth: IPCC’s special report on climate change

International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – headlines, summary and full report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C.

And how you can help: Five top tips to combat climate change

Hothouse Earth tipping points

An international team of scientists has shown that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of our planet entering what the scientists call “Hothouse Earth” conditions.

This would see the climate stabilise in the long term at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures, with the sea level 10-60 m higher than today.

The scientists conclude it is now urgent to greatly accelerate the transition towards an emission-free world economy. Avoiding a “Hothouse Earth” requires not only reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions but also enhancement and/or creation of new biological carbon stores.

Reports with further details:

The Sky’s Limit – stop digging

The Sky’s Limit is a new study by Oil Change International which reveals the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It focuses on the potential carbon emissions from developed reserves – where the wells are already drilled, the pits dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export terminals constructed.

Key findings are:

  • The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.
  • The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.
  • With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

Key recommendations:

  • No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.
  • Some fields and mines – primarily in rich countries – should be closed before fully exploiting their resources, and financial support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer countries.
  • This does not mean stopping the use of all fossil fuels overnight. Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.

UN climate agreement aims for 1.5°C warming limit

The United Nations Climate Change Summit in Paris, held from 30 Nov – 12 Dec 2015, has reached a new universal agreement to tackle climate change. This is great news but there will still be much to do to put it into action and to ensure what has been agreed is enough. The sooner we stop using dirty fossil fuels and the quicker we switch to clean renewables the better.

The new agreement aims to limit global warming to “well below 2°C” and to aim for no more than 1.5°C. Already the increase is 1°C and current plans, at best, will limit the rise to 2.7°C. So the agreement includes a pathway for continued review, which will require ever more demanding action over coming decades.

Backed by 196 countries, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal world membership and aims “to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system”.

For reports on the final agreement see:
BBC – Global climate deal: In summary
UN – Historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change
350 – The Paris climate agreement
Kevin Anderson – 10/10 for presentation; 4/10 for content.
Michael Jacobs – Agreement is highly ambitious and very clever