On Wednesday 20, Somerset’s County Councillors approved a budget for the next three financial years, which, thanks to the dedicated lobbying undertaken by our membership, has seen a stay of execution for some nature conservation jobs.
When the County Council originally released their Mid Term Financial Plan in January, the Trust was horrified to see proposals which amounted to the near annihilation of countryside and ecology services, and the axing of nearly all officers who work proactively for nature in the County Council. Since then Somerset Wildlife Trust has been working with the RSPB, our members and supporters, to call for a reconsideration of the plan.
Key posts retained
Following a meeting with the Leader of Somerset County Council, a commitment was obtained that SCC would work with the Trust and its partners in the Somerset Local Nature Partnership to develop a vision and strategy for the natural environment, around which could be built new projects and partnerships to deliver new opportunities for nature. Changes were also made to the budget which saw several key posts - including both ecologists - retained, although still amounted to an overall reduction in service provision.
With the budget approved by a 32 to 21 majority of County Councillors, Somerset Wildlife Trust will now be holding the Leader to his word, and working to help the Council produce a clear plan for delivering work to enhance Somerset’s natural environment.
Thank you for standing up for nature with us
A big thank you goes to all of you who took time to write to, call, or email your Councillor and raise awareness of the cuts amongst your friends and neighbours. It made all the difference in changing the outcome and we’re grateful to you for standing up for nature.
Read more about the campaign.