We chat with the Gedling Climate Group on what locals are looking for in the fight against climate change.

Photos: Charlotte Hooley
Interview: Eleanor Flowerday
Wednesday 14 February 2024
reading time: min, words

Since the 90s, the Gedling Climate Change Group have been lobbying their borough council for climate action. They fill us in on their recent Climate and Nature convention, and what their hopes are from the local authority in the ongoing fight against climate change…

Report Photo1

How did the Gedling Climate Change Group come about?

Incredibly, the group actually formed in the early 90s when Councillor Ivan Gollop and Philip Barlow decided they wanted to create a group to address climate change in the Gedling Borough. They began to lobby the council to take the issue of climate change seriously, had meetings inviting guest speakers and started spreading the word through the local newspapers. The group has been ever present throughout this time, however had a surge in new members after a screening of ‘The Inconvenient Truth’ at the Bonnington Theatre in 2018, and has continued to grow. We have done everything from litter picks and chip shop campaigns (to reduce plastic use!) to holding hustings for the local elections and of course organising Nottingham’s first Climate and Nature Convention.  


Can you talk us through the Climate and Nature convention? What were your aims with holding the event, and what was the turnout like?

The scientists are shouting, and have been shouting for years that we are in a climate and nature crisis. Individual actions by ordinary people are good but alone this is not going to prevent the world from continuing to heat and it won't prevent our environment being destroyed. It needs concerted actions that only governments locally, nationally and internationally can implement but political leaders are not taking it anywhere near seriously enough. So we decided to try to show that ordinary people locally did want faster and more determined action - we wanted to create people power. We wanted to capture local people's ideas of what should be done and present them to our local Gedling Borough Council, our County Council and our local MPs. 

We had no idea how many people would give up their Saturday to discuss Climate and Nature but we sold out - with over 90 people attending the free event. I think the Council were quite surprised by that.


It’s fantastic that you were able to bring together over 90 locals to produce the report from the convention. What do you think the main concerns were that drove people to attend the event?

Slowly and surely more and more people are realising that the effects of global heating are not just indirectly affecting them, with homes in Nottinghamshire flooded for the first time ever and others suffering more and more frequently due to the heavy rainfall. People want to know what is being done to prevent further heating and what is being done to adapt to the increasingly extreme weather patterns we are getting.

We have seen this awareness on the streets when we have conducted Citizen Surveys locally. Over 80% of those asked were either terrified or very concerned about climate change and 90% did not think the government was doing enough about it. This last year 2023 was the hottest year on record and it didn't just break the record it smashed it - this worries everyone.


Are there any elements of the report from the convention that you would particularly like to highlight?

One of the most popular things that participants wanted to see was all newly built homes were really well insulated, had solar panels and were not heated by fossil fuels like gas. This would reduce CO2 emissions and of course make heating bills lower. They also wanted to see existing buildings "retrofitted" in a similar way. But there were 10 other areas of ideas and suggestions from better public transport, cycling and walking provision, more education and community engagement and of course controlling water and flooding. There is no shortage of good ideas to mitigate climate change and adapt, just a shortage of action. They also wanted to see every local council strategy, policy and decision having a Climate and Nature Impact Assessment so that councillors can make sure that their decisions are ones that are compatible with a secure future for residents.


The Climate and Nature convention took place last November, have you seen any progress in action from the local borough and City councils since your report was released?

Well it is early days isn't it? However Gedling Borough Council did facilitate this convention by giving us access to the Civic Centre for the venue. In addition we have been invited to present our report to Gedling Borough Council's Cabinet meeting on 31st January. We see this as a positive sign. Convention participants wanted to make sure that the council was held to account in the future, so we will be trying to help them do just that.


Read the Gedling Climate Change Group’s full report over on their website.

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