Climate change is affecting us all, and it is clear that ‘business as usual’ is beyond what the planet can sustain. As a world community we have to move quickly to have a chance of avoiding the worst impacts of global warming. But change is hard, and it is often difficult to know what is the right course for both policymakers and individuals.

People are worried for their children and grandchildren and for themselves. Worried about the costs of changing how to live our lives at a time when bills are a real stretch for many families in Monmouthshire.

In Wales, the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and the Environment Act set out a legal responsibility for public bodies to consider social and environmental responsibility in everything we do. I am looking forward to seeing a new government embedding similar principles at a UK level.

Locally we as an authority are changing how we heat our buildings, switching to electric vehicles and generating our own electricity, as well as managing verges and parks for biodiversity. We are using our influence to help make our rivers clean again and doing everything we can to make our county greener and cleaner, despite the constraints of a very tight budget.

For your part, many ways to reduce your carbon footprint can also save you money. That’s why we’re supporting re-use shops and repair cafes, launching a new Home Energy Efficiency Advice Service and making sure that rural Monmouthshire households can access grants for insulation and to replace oil and solid fuel heating. 

The community events in Monmouth and Abergavenny, run by local volunteers, have showcased practical ways in which we can make our daily lives greener, better for our health and often cheaper.

I’m also pleased to see how many Monmouthshire businesses are developing and adapting to meet the challenges, building successful futures around green energy, recycling and innovative technology. Just as people stepped forward to help each other during the pandemic, this kind of community action and partnership is going to be essential as we face the impacts of climate change.