Ashington Town Council has become one of the first in the County to formally adopt a positive motion and policy intent to play its part in addressing the challenge of climate change.

The town, with a current population of some 28,000, was in its industrial heyday regarded as “the largest coal mining village in the world”. At its height the industry locally employed tens of thousands of people and sustained the community and local economy. The coal-mining industry is long gone and with it the large-scale local employment that made the town what it was and gave it the proud industrial tradition. It is perhaps fitting therefore that Ashington Town Council should lead the way in looking to play its part in addressing climate change.  

Cllr. Liam Lavery in proposing the motion to the council said “The fight against climate change, as well as being an enormous global challenge, at a local level also brings an opportunity to look to build and focus on a future Ashington with well paid jobs and investment. We can positively look to build a bright future for local people by embracing a new clean energy and encouraging investment that will bring quality jobs and employment opportunities to benefit the whole community. Ashington can look to work positively towards a carbon neutral future and improve the lives of the people who live here in the process”.

The Town Council recognises its own role may well be small but is looking to work practically with major partners and organisations towards the future. The full motion proposed by Cllr.Lavery and unanimously agreed sets out the Town Council intent to:

  • Recognise the global climate emergency and publicise this to the people of Ashington in order to raise awareness and build support in taking action,
  • Work with local Colleges and Universities to measure and understand the town’s carbon footprint and subsequently prepare a series of achievable actions the town council together with others can take to address this emergency,
  • Embrace the Green Industrial Revolution and work with local, regional and national bodies to ensure Ashington can benefit from the jobs created,
  • Call on Northumberland County Council and central government to look to provide the powers, resources and directives to make Ashington carbon neutral,
  • Commit to reviewing all spending in the next financial year to ensure the councils carbon footprint is properly taken into account,
  • Positively work towards carbon neutrality by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal or where possible by looking to eliminate carbon emissions altogether,
  • Initiate a yearly competition of Ashington Schools to develop ideas to make the town carbon neutral, and
  • Look at the establishment of a forum including businesses, local organisations and residents to examine and develop ideas to make the town carbon neutral.

Cllr. Lavery was quite clear that the motion was not seen as simply a form of words or just “saying all the right things” but is actually a start point for practical solutions and positive measures adding “we recognise that any small council working alone can achieve little in facing such a challenge. It is important however that we make clear our intent to work positively with others, organisations and individuals, towards schemes and solutions in our town that are significant in addressing carbon neutrality and eliminating emissions. Everyone has a role and part to play however small; we are a council intent on engagement and real community involvement particularly in relation to matters that impact on us all”.

Ashington Town Council will now develop a Climate Change Working Group to address the issues of the motion.