Machynlleth Town Council is believed to be the first town council in Wales to declare a ‘climate emergency’ after being urged to do so by concerned residents.

The town council unanimously backed a petition with 500 signatures and a letter calling for the designation. And the town council is being asked to work with local groups and organisations in an effort to make Machynlleth net-zero carbon.

That will see the council now draw up a plan over the next six months on how the authority will work with other partners, including schools and local environmental groups on proposals that can help provide a change in the town.

The letter to the council said dire warnings over the need for urgent action to try and head off permanent global warming that will leave humanity unable to avoid extreme weather events meant that organisations and authorities across the world needed to take action.

Machynlleth mayor Richie Gaskell said the town council accepted that it needed to take responsibility to play its part.

He said: “It’s very important the town council is seen to be taking an important interest in this and get Powys County Council involved.”

Original Article here

The Motion

The Clerk
Machynlleth Town Council

Dear Jim
Climate change and Machynlleth
An appeal to Machynlleth Town Council for 17th December 2018

The Need
Extreme weather events this last two years have presented severe challenges to transport, agriculture and other services, though what we have experienced in the Machynlleth area is almost insignificant compared to many parts of the world.

Unless we act on climate, we collectively face the greatest threat to our local and global environment. According to October’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1.5C report, humanity has 12 years to deliver the major actions needed to turn this around, so we can avoid reaching tipping points where we no longer have the ability to avoid extreme weather events. It is clear to many of us that we must act locally and globally.

Numerous organisations have been working tirelessly for many years to try to prevent climate change, but change must happen faster. Business as usual is clearly no longer an option. We need local wisdom and action to increase our resilience and to prepare for the changes already in the system. Machynlleth can play its role in preventing dangerous and extreme weather events.

Our inspiration:
A motion calling on Bristol City Council to declare a climate emergency was passed on Tuesday 13 November 2018, with support from councillors of all parties. The motion was inspired by the recent IPCC report. Bristol Council unanimously CARRIED this motion (56 members voting in favour, none against and no abstentions) showing a commitment to play its part in avoiding catastrophic climate breakdown.

We, the undersigned, therefore call on Machynlleth Town Council to
1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
2. Launch an inclusive consultation to develop an action plan over the next 6 months to:
• make Machynlleth net-zero carbon as soon as possible;
• increase local resilience to climate impacts;
• maximise local benefits of these actions in other sectors such as health, agriculture, transport and the economy;
3. Call on Wales and UK Government to provide the support and resources to make this possible;
4. Work with other local areas, particularly the community councils and other partners in the Dyfi Biosphere;
5. Report within six months with the actions the town can take to address this emergency, for example increasing the energy efficiency of the Plas, or working with the town’s purchasing policy;
6. Discuss with Renew Wales how they might support this process.

We recommend the following wording for Machynlleth Town Council to recognise the climate emergency:
All governments (local, regional and national) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of Climate Change, and local governments should embed this in their plans;
• The consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing this from happening must be a key priority;
• The Town Council has obligations under Wales’ pioneering ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations Act’ and Machynlleth is part of the UNESCO Biosphere so together we have a powerful opportunity to be leaders;
• It is vital that rural communities play their part in reducing carbon emissions, especially as there are potential benefits for land-use;
• Bold climate action can deliver economic benefits in terms of new jobs, economic savings and market opportunities (as well as improved well-being for people locally and worldwide).

Initial ideas for an ‘inclusive consultation’ process for Machynlleth

The suggestion:
Build climate action and resilience plans for Machynlleth through a dialogue process, perhaps by integrating these considerations into the Council’s existing intention to engage the community and businesses in conversations about the future of the town.

Why: Effective plans are based on well-informed and collaborative decisions, potential problems are more easily solved and unnecessary conflicts avoided. Increased ownership of the process, with mutual learning & understanding, can increase social cohesion.

Key actions
• The process is bilingual from the outset, using clear terms and accessible language
• Engagement with County Council, Welsh Government, Biosphere to seek new resources
• Mapping key stakeholder groups in the area.
• Mapping of key drivers and local potential benefits
• Engage with support offered by Renew Wales ‘carbon conversations’
• An inclusive, impartial process that works well in hearing views and ideas for action from all sectors of the community.
• Identify common values
• Inclusive draft of action plan with a range of potential options
• ‘Public Launch’ to raise the profile of Machynlleth
• Progress and evaluation as part of Machynlleth Town Council’s annual programme
• Share what we learn with other towns

Background Information & links

Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world. Global temperatures have already increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm). This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.

The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise, and told us that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities.

Climate change is already having disastrous impacts on people in developing countries where most of the people affected produce very low carbon emissions themselves.

Councils around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency.

➢ World Resources Institute:
➢ The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC:
➢ For details of the Bristol Declaration visit
➢ Manchester Council’s plans:
➢ Up to date assessment of how the UK may change
➢ Renew Wales
➢ Multi-solving: Methodology and examples to enhance co-benefits in other sectors such as health, transport and local economy
➢ 2018 Emissions Gap Report