A CITIZENS’ Jury made up of residents from across the borough is meeting weekly to discuss ways the area can lower carbon usage and tackle climate change in Furness.
The 10-week process, launched by Barrow Borough Council with the support of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership and National Lottery Funding, is now underway with the group hearing evidence from a range of climate change experts.
The jury will use this information to make a series of recommendations that will be reviewed by the authority’s Climate Change Working Group on February 22 before going before its full council on February 24.
In the meantime, members of the public can watch video recordings of the talks and information provided by speakers at each of the sessions via the council’s Citizens Jury webpage here: Barrow BC - Citizens Jury
The first video features Councillor Ann Thomson, the leader of Barrow Borough Council and its lead member for greener, cleaner neighbourhoods, as she provides an introduction to the process for those taking part, while the second video features a talk by Dr Paul Young of the Lancaster Environment Center at Lancaster University on the impacts of climate change.
Cllr Thomson said: “Tackling climate change is an issue that is very close to my heart and something I have fought to highlight for many years.
“The council itself is making a number of changes to lower its carbon usage - like making the switch to energy efficient lighting in council buildings and making sure power is sourced from suppliers that use renewable sources. It is also planning for the installation of solar panels to a number of buildings in the borough including homes.
“However, the council can’t do this on its own. This is going to require the efforts of the whole community. Smaller, individual changes are so important because, together, they will make a significant contribution to tackling climate change.
“I want to thank everyone who volunteered to take part in the Furness Citizens’ Jury. I look forward to seeing the conclusions of the group next year.”
The Citizens’ Jury is made up of 20 people from a cross section of the community across the borough who may have different experiences or opinions on climate change.
Around 4,000 residents received a letter in September inviting them to apply for a place. The first session took place in November.
To make sure the process runs fairly, an Oversight Panel has also been set up. Its membership is formed from representatives from a range of organisations including Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria County Council, BAE Systems Ltd, Cando FM, Spirit Energy, Holker Group, Furness College, Extinction Rebellion Furness, Cumbria Action for Sustainability and Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness.
Councillor Thomson added: “The recommendations of the Citizens’ Jury panel are so important. They will be listened to and will go on to inform the action we take as a borough towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2037.”
Other work to help lower usage across the borough is already underway through Low Carbon Barrow - a European Regional Development Fund and Cumbria LEP-funded programme of projects designed to engage local communities on climate issues and sustainability over the next two years.
This includes a scheme offering Low Carbon Barrow small grants to firms and organisations that implement measures to lower their carbon footprint. The grants would typically cover two thirds of the total sum, up to a maximum of £10,000.
More information about the grants and how to apply can be found here: Home - Art Gene (art-gene.co.uk)
The project received funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme, 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (now Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.