C O P 2 6 P U B L I C C O N S U L T A T I O N
R E P O R T
I N T E N T I O N A L L Y B L A N K
SUMMARY & FOREWORD
'1.5 TO STAY ALIVE'
REACHING NET ZERO:
'INCENTIVISE THE CHANGES'
'SPACE TO BREATHE'
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & REFERENCES
A L L A C T I V E L I N K S A R E I D E N T I F I E D I N ORANGE
This report presents the results of an open public consultation, to three
main aspects of combatting climate change: Reaching Net Zero,
Protecting Communities and Mobilising Finance.
It is imperative that changes in behaviour are incentivised. Focus must be
on the development of a comprehensive, yet clear and accessible
'knowledge bank' to inform and support people to make simple lifestyle
changes. Organisationally, Northumberland County Council have already
undertaken carbon literacy training - South Tyneside Council (STC) are
being left behind.
In order to protect our communities, we advocate working with Climate
Action North to establish ‘Pollinator Parks’, rewild derelict areas and support
the establishment of new ‘no mow zones’. A more ambitious tree planting
policy is needed and consideration given to the creation of new woodland
areas to increase natural carbon capture but also provide spaces which
promote mental and physical well-being, increased community
connectivity and the regeneration of local wildlife.
Finance is a major influence on all decisions. STC is the leading voice on
strategy for the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund - they are the real
gamechangers. Pressure MUST be exerted to divest pension funds from
fossil fuel companies.
COP26, held in 2021 in Glasgow, ‘brought parties together to accelerate
action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change.’ The success of the conference is
debatable and it is our conclusion that South Tyneside must be much
more proactive in the face of climate breakdown.
In order to seek realistic and affordable approaches to address this
situation, Citizens’ Assembly South Tyneside (CAST) held an online public
consultation event. This formal report presented to South Tyneside Council
(STC) by CAST is a direct result of that public consultation - generated by
the people of our borough. Each recommendation is not only practical and
cost-effective but also well within our reach.
In July 2019, STC declared a climate emergency. Whilst we recognise the
steps taken so far, the response MUST encompass every single one of us.
With a minor change in mindset we can make a difference and set an
attractive and enviable example not only across our own borough but to
our region and beyond. With this in mind, we submit this report to STC.
C A S T P L A N N I N G G R O U P
'1.5 TO STAY ALIVE'
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produced a Special
Report on the impacts of global warming by 1.5°C and the associated global greenhouse
gas emissions. Their conclusion was clear – we have already brought about at least a 1°C
rise in pre-industrial global temperature levels and are on track to hit 1.5°C by the middle of
this century if urgent action is not taken.
This rise will result in increased sea levels, intensifying the exposure of small islands, low-lying
coastal areas and deltas to the risks of flooding and saltwater intrusion harming not only
human and ecological systems but also marine biodiversity. On land, even limiting global
warming to 1.5°C will impact biodiversity and ecosystems with the loss of species and
extinction. ‘[R]isks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and
economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase
further with 2°C.’
Is South Tyneside immune? Short answer: NO.
Whilst all sea-front and river facing areas will see loss of land, Jarrow and Port of Tyne will be
particularly at the forefront. The image below shows the predicted impact of just a 1.5°C
temperature rise by 2050 – higher temperature rises will result in higher water levels. You
can view how your area will be affected here.
The predicted impact of
1.5°C temperature rise in
South Tyneside by 2050
will be particularly felt in
the Jarrow and Port of
However, this is not the only factor to take
into account. Dina Ionesco, Head of the
Migration, Environment and Climate
Change Division at the UN International
Organisation for Migration (IOM)
illustrated the links between migration,
the environment and climate.
Catastrophic climate-related events
linked to human activity will have a major
impact on the way [people] decide to
migrate and settle – 17.2 million people
left their homes in 2018 due to
disasters which negatively affected their
lives. ‘Slow changes in the environment,
such as ocean acidification,
desertification and coastal erosion, are
also directly impacting people’s
livelihoods and their capacity to survive
in their places of origin.’
COP26 promised to deliver so much yet
concluded with Alok Sharma, UK
president of the conference, apologising
saying that he was ‘deeply sorry’ for
the last minute changes to the climate
deal which offered nothing but a
In order to face up to this climate crisis,
we must each take responsibility and act
accordingly. This proposal offers
proactive, practical and affordable
measures we can all take, as individuals
and organisations, to mitigate our
impact on this rapidly growing global
REACHING NET ZERO:
INCENTIVISE THE CHANGES
Being more environmentally friendly - ‘it's about giving something up’ - that's how it's
packaged and framed. But rather than focusing on the negatives, we need to actively
change this mindset and demonstrate the positives of making just one or two little changes.
Actions as simple as turning off the engine on the school run will save on fuel bills with the
added bonus of keeping the air around schools less polluted.
To reach net zero by mid-century and keep the 1.5°C target within reach, we all need to take
responsibility. But the way forward is not to preach and berate, we need to actively transform
behaviour and incentivise these essential changes. The following recommendations can be
easily, and inexpensively, adopted.
Proposal: support system
The benefits of being more sustainable need to be highlighted. In order to achieve this, we
propose the creation of a support network – a central, regularly updated repository of
resources and tools covering information such as:
the practical benefits of minor changes, eg. using less water = lower water bill, not idling
the car = reduced fuel bills
any free equipment residents can access, eg. Northumbrian Water free water saving kit
user-friendly, pictorial guides to EXACTLY what can be put into domestic recycling bins
especially with regards to plastic
locations where the non-accepted items can be disposed of, eg. Soft plastics –
Tesco/Morrisons stores, batteries – Middlefields/Lidls/Aldi
adaptable educational resources such as those available from WWF, UNESCO and OXFAM
the establishment of ‘Community Climate Champions’ – volunteers to ensure the
database is regularly updated, signpost residents to services and support, such as local
car share schemes and liaise with environmental groups and professionals to ensure that
Best Practice standards are upheld in South Tyneside
These resources must be available in ALL local authority assets and other public buildings
and in multiple formats – online and physical, written and spoken word, pictorial, video and
STC MUST ensure:
they follow the example set by councils such as Northumberland, Stockport and
Leicestershire and offer staff carbon literacy training - free resources are available
all new housing applications satisfy stringent environmental criteria requiring all new
homes to be as sustainable as possible and include the installation of heat pumps,
effective insulation and solar panelling to ensure high standards of energy efficiency
the accelerated installation of EV charging points
SPACE TO BREATHE
‘A growing body of evidence points to the positive impacts of nature for people.’ ‘Metro
nature’ - trees, parks and natural spaces, all enhance the quality of life in cities and towns.
 Spending time in green spaces can reduce feelings of stress, help residents to become
more active, reduce loneliness and help people connect to their community.
South Tyneside is ranked 37th most deprived area in England and although there is
disparity in the levels of privation across the borough, life expectancy in South Tyneside is
below the national average – 81.5 for women and 77.5 for men (the UK national average
is 82.9 for females and 79 for males respectively). With this in mind, we call for the
urgent development of ‘space to breathe’.
Proposal: living spaces
Nature plays a crucial role in creating the vital neighbourhood spaces we need for healthy
citizens and therefore we propose:
working with Climate Action North to rewild derelict land and establish 'pollinator parks'
such as the scheme at the Business Innovation Centre in Sunderland
generating ideas for the overhaul of our existing natural spaces, such as Temple Park, to
enable local people to make more effective use of the space - not just somewhere to
walk the dog
reestablishment of community gardens and allotments
working with organisations such as Playing Out to create safe urban spaces where
children can play
STC MUST ensure:
air quality monitoring at schools and the surrounding areas
an immediate halt to the use of leaf-blowers to safeguard insect populations
the expansion of the 'no mow zone' initiative
a move to herbicide-free weedkillers
a more ambitious tree planting policy – the current target of 3000 per year doesn’t
make clear whether these are in addition to those planted to replace those cut down.
greater priority to identifying areas for woodland creation – not only increasing natural
carbon capture but also supporting good mental health. Government grants are
available to fund the planting of trees in urban areas
mature trees take high priority when considering planning applications
new buildings are not constructed on flood plains
'Money talks, bulls**t walks.' Good leaders are those who provide the infrastructure to
make something work and strive to achieve the best results. At the end of the day, it's the
investment of energy, time and capital that really accomplishes things - endless talking and
meaningless gestures achieve nothing. STC declared a climate emergency in July 2019 but
since then we've seen precious little evidence of a real movement towards tackling the crisis
- now is the time to stand up and make a difference.
In December 2019, former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, admitted that '[t]he
world needs a new, sustainable financial system to stop runaway climate change.' As
individuals, we can strive to lessen our impact on our environment but this effort MUST be
mirrored by the actions of our leaders and institutions.
It's time for us we ALL step up and take responsibility - even STC!
Proposal: making money work for us...and our planet
Capital is a crucial aspect to speeding up the transition to a low-carbon economy and we
all play a valuable role. To enable this, we recommend:
residents are made aware of tools such as Make My Money Matter in order influence
where their money/pension is being invested
the promotion of Right to Repair initiatives such as those managed by The Restart Project
to combat the 'tsunami' of electronic waste
investigation into community ownership of green energy projects
increased awareness of projects like Transition Streets which aim to empower
communities through collective action
STC MUST ensure:
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND CONSIDERATION MUST BE PLACED AT THE
HEART OF ALL BUDGETARY DECISIONS
they follow the example set by councils such as Cardiff, Birmingham, Islington, Lambeth
and Waltham Forest and fully commit to full divestment of pension funds from fossil fuels
genuine investigation into moving to a 'sustainable well-being economy'. The Wellbeing
Economy Alliance provide support and resources to facilitate this transition
they push for NEXUS to provide more ecofriendly, reliable and affordable public transport
support for Right to Repair initiatives
increased promotion of Meanwhile Use Leases to encourage innovative local enterprises
and reinvigorate our town centres
STC run carparks offer low cost/free car-parking to EVs and dedicated spaces with
electric charging points
Although predicting climate change is very complex, it is now accepted
that human actions have had a negative impact on our environment. The
second of three IPCC reports was published in February 2022 and makes
for grim reading with ecosystem collapse, species extinction, deadly
heatwaves and floods among the ‘unavoidable multiple climate hazards’
the world will face over the next two decades due to global warming.
One of the report’s core conclusions was that fossil fuels are suffocating
the entire planet and it urged all G20 governments to stop funding the
fossil fuel industries. Whilst South Tyneside is, of course, not a global player,
we can make an important contribution to the fight against climate
change. The Tyne & Wear Pension Fund has £472,872,655 invested in fossil
fuels with £188,896,031 directly invested. STC is not only part of this
pension fund but also the main administrator. In turn, Tyne and Wear
Pension Fund is part of the Border To Coast Pensions Partnership which is
believed* to have over £2.4 billion invested in fossil fuels - STC also has
involvement here as Councillor Anne Walsh is a member of the Board
It is clear that STC need to exert their influence and lead the call to divest
their pension capital from fossil fuels and instead invest in renewable
energy. Divestment is no longer uncommon with National Trust, British
Medical Association, the Catholic Church, Welsh Parliament, over 50% of UK
universities and many more joining a growing number of local
authorities divesting their pension funds – if South Tyneside don’t look to
make changes, it’s going to be another area where we’ll be left behind.
With regards to our locally-achievable aims, we fully appreciate the
financial constraints faced by STC however there are funding streams and
partnerships which could be explored to lessen the monetary burden. For
example, concerning the switch to electric vehicles – many residents do
not have off-street parking but there is government funding for on-street
charge points which local authorities can access or maybe an approach
to Nissan to work in partnership?
CAST would be more than willing to work in conjunction with both STC and
Climate Action North to identify areas for rewilding and possible pollinator
parks, with Playing Out to highlight spaces which could be developed into
safe spaces for our children to play and with Transition Streets to help
each one of us to reduce our carbon emissions. Working together and with
a little bit of vision and joined up thinking, South Tyneside can quickly, easily
and economically be a healthier, more planet-friendly place to live.
SO WHAT’S STOPPING US?
C A S T P L A N N I N G G R O U P
*this data cannot be verified beyond 2017
This document is the property of
Citizens’ Assembly South Tyneside (CAST).
All external links were correct as of March 2022.