NEWTOWN became the latest Montgomeryshire town to declare a ‘climate emergency’ this week.

A motion by Newtown South councillor Richard Edwards to follow the example of Machynlleth and Welshpool by declaring ‘climate emergency’ status and committing the organisation to a zero carbon future was unanimously adopted by councillors at a meeting of the Town Council on Tuesday, June 28.

A small protest took place on Broad Street before the start of the meeting, with climate protestors urging councillors to adopt the motion.

Proposing the motion, Cllr Edwards said: “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.

“Newtown can play its role in preventing dangerous and extreme weather events.”

Seconding, Cllr Mike Childs, added that the measures were proposed were “sensible in their own right”, and said the need to act sustainably and maintain clean rivers was self evident.

However Cllr Joy Jones and Cllr Sue Newham expressed reservations over ‘gesture politics’ and the potential cost implications of adopting the motion.

“This is something I feel so passionately about,” said Cllr Newham.

“We live in such a beautiful place and sometimes I feel a bit sad that it may not be like this in the future.

“Unless we make real plans to make this policy have teeth I feel a bit ambivalent about it really.”

Cllr Jones asked about the cost to the public of adopting the policy, to which Cllr Edwards replied that there was also a significant cost to taking no action at all.

“If we don’t act our community will be poorer,” he replied.

“We can’t say exactly what the cost will be but we must make a commitment to being a Zero Carbon organisation and the actions will cascade from that.”

The full motion proposes that Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council:

  1. Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
  2. Take action to improve the Town Councils own practices to reduce our own contribution to Climate Change.
  3. Take action to; help move towards Newtown being a net-zero carbon producer 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;
  4. Call on Wales and UK Government to provide the support and resources to make this possible;
  5. Work with other organisations both local and national, such as Renew Wales, other Community Councils and Local businesses to help counter climate change;


Meanwhile, Newtown is set to host a ‘climate emergency’ meeting on Tuesday, June 4.

Organisers say the meeting will showcase climate activities which are already underway locally, under headings such as food, energy, land use, transport, engagement with young people and other groups, as well as participants choosing the topics they want to pursue further.

“Following on from the meeting last month attended by 60 people, a few people from the different organisations represented met to think and plan how to tap the energy and passion that was evident,” said a spokesperson.

“It was clear that many people wanted to be active in addressing the issues of climate change and carbon reduction, but also that many of us were unclear what actions would be the most effective within the timescale imposed on us.

“We were also aware of the need to hear from a wider cross-section of the community – particularly from young people, and young adults, but also from our farming community. We wanted to create ways of sharing information and ideas that would be more inclusive.

“We don’t have all the answers and will need input from others.”

The meeting gets underway at 7.30pm at Newtown Methodist Church, Back Lane.