CALL FOR ACTION: Mum-of-three, Harriet Sams, with her two-year-old son Calouen, has organised a public meeting to talk about the issue of climate emergency
CALL FOR ACTION: Mum-of-three, Harriet Sams, with her two-year-old son Calouen, has organised a public meeting to talk about the issue of climate emergency

A MUM-of-three has arranged a public meeting to get residents talking about how the global “climate emergency” can be tackled at a local level.

Harriet Sams has organised a public meeting on Friday, August 2, starting at 6pm, at No15 Cafe, in Market Place, Barnard Castle, in the hopes it will “start the conversation about what can be done as a small community to tackle the issue of climate change”.

In May, MPs in Parliament passed a motion to declare an environment and climate emergency.

Earlier this month Eden District Council, in Cumbria, voted through a motion with the bold aim of making the authority carbon neutral by 2030.

Durham County Council also declared a climate emergency in February and has committed to investigating what can be done to reduce the authority’s carbon footprint.

However, Ms Sams, who moved from Brampton, near Carlisle, to Cotherstone four years ago, is hoping to get the discussion going closer to home.

She said: “There is such momentum on the subject at the moment and it is time Barnard Castle Town Council looked at it as well.

“The reality is the council needs to be sure that the town is resilient and somewhere we can work together.”

Ms Sams studied green economics at university and has helped a number of businesses look at building sustainability and resilience into their operations.

In addition to organising the meeting, she has put together a petition, with the help of cafe owner Emma Rowell, which will be handed to Barnard Castle Town Council. She added: “The key is to have a discussion about what we as individuals can do that will make a difference.

“There are lots of feelings coming up and lots of people are angry, borne out of frustration that they are helpless to do anything about the situation.

“I’m interested in how, as a community, we are going to build a resilient town and be sustainable in the future.

“Hopefully we will be opening discussion about how to influence the council’s decisions, learning from approaches that Penrith has recently had success with.

“We will also open discussions about what Barnard Castle can do to adhere to the Government’s target of becoming carbon net zero by 2050 and what this means for us all.”

Michael King, clerk to Barnard Castle Town Council, said: “Declaring a climate emergency has not been formally discussed at this stage with the town council as no one has brought it forward.

“If it [a climate emergency] or any subject is raised with their councillors it can be put on the agenda.

“Some councils have addressed the issue by looking at their own organisational carbon footprint and what can be done to reduce it.

“Unfortunately, there is no easy tool kit for local councils to go forward.

“There is a difference in simply applying the label and actually doing something about the issue. All the things need to be researched fully. Any information coming out of the meeting will of course be helpful and interesting to hear.”

Ms Sams has also arranged for Penrith-based businesswoman, Sally Shenton, who has 30 years’ experience in climate change policy, to give a talk at this Friday’s meeting.