I have just submitted the following motion for the next Devon County Council full meeting, which takes place on Thursday 23 May.
At this stage it’s not clear whether the motion will be heard on the day itself or be referred to cabinet and return to the next full council in July….
I will post updates when I know more!
This council notes its resolution on declaring a climate emergency in Devon, in February.
This council notes also that officers launched the policy on wildflower verges earlier this month. Huge congratulations to the officers who helped bring this about.
The government has now declared a state of climate emergency across the UK, following the actions of Extinction Rebellion.
Climate change and other human activity is now causing species to decline at a rate unprecedented in human history, with three-quarters of land-based environments and two-thirds of the marine environment significantly altered.
Devon County Council, with its positive record on the environment is well placed to work with others to help mitigate the catastrophe coming our way.
Therefore, this council agrees to:
1. Call on the government to offer all pollinators full legal protection from harm
2. Write to all Devon outlets stocking bee harming pesticides, and urge them to permanently cancel their order with the suppliers
3. Take action to phase out all glyphosate pesticides used in council weed spraying or any other council related activity, by December 2019 (there may be exceptional circumstances such as dealing with specific non native species, such as Japanese knotweed)
4. Support Devon County Council tenant farmers in phasing out the use of inorganic fertilisers (such as nitrogen) by December 2023
5. Support Devon County Council tenant farmers in setting aside 10 per cent of their land for wildlife and/or wildflower mixes for pollinators
6. Work with community groups and non-government organisations such as Devon Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust to support Devon County Council tenant farmers to set aside five per cent of their land for tree planting
7. Work with community groups and non-government organisations such as Devon Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust on supporting town and parish councils, schools and community groups to set aside land for tree planting
8. Develop a policy on soil health good practice, with an emphasis on allowing land to recover and phasing out damaging chemicals, which are ultimately sterilising the land. This would include setting appropriate and reasonable targets for Devon County Council tenant farmers
9. Work with South West Water on a campaign to save water across the county, with an emphasis on education about future water scarcity. Specifically target town and parish councils, community groups and schools to raise awareness of the importance of good water practice
10. Support Devon Wildlife Trust’s campaign by calling on the Environment Secretary to allocate a further eight Marine Conservation Zones to Devon’s waters. Details can be found on the DWT website – https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/take-action/marine-conservation-zones
Pic: The West Hill wildflower verge a few months after it was seeded.