The up and coming elections in Somerset on May 4th for our County Council is a critical time as we start to see the effects of Climate Change on our coastline, our wildlife and our weather. Local leadership is vital if we are to improve the state of our nature for future generations. The Trust has written to all the local candidates and it would be fantastic if you, our supporters, do the same.
To find out who your local candidates are, please take a look at the Somerset County Council's website and look out for election leaflets that will arrive through your door in the next few weeks.
For more information about each of the Parties, please take a look at their websites:
The Liberal Democrats in the Bridgwater and West Somerset and Somerton and Frome constituencies do not have active websites at the moment.
Here is what we sent. Feel free to use this or adapt as you see fit.
I am contacting you as you are a candidate in the upcoming County Council election.
I would like to ask what you will do for nature if you are elected on May 4th, and how you will encourage the County Council to take a leading role in this fundamental issue?
Somerset is a beautiful county rich in wildlife. Our iconic landscapes are important in their own right, but the rich natural environment is also treasured for the quality of life it provides for the people who live and work here. Our moorlands in Exmoor are edged by some of the highest sea cliffs in England; our coastline covers a fantastic variety of landscapes and habitat. The limestone hills in Mendip are riven by steep gorges with one of the largest cave systems in England underfoot. The water that is purified by the limestone supplies a large proportion of the population of Bristol with minimum treatment costs because it is so pure, naturally.
Wooded hills and ridges are rich in woodland wildlife but also help to slow the flow of water onto lower ground and reduce flood risk. The Levels and Moors are one of the largest wetlands in the country and home to spectacular ‘murmurations’ of starlings that attract many thousands of visitors annually. Our wonderful protected landscapes such as Exmoor National Park and four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are the destination of choice for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, providing local business and employment opportunities.
We have vibrant towns with growing business and technology sectors. Predominantly though, ours is still a rural county that supports a vibrant and diverse agricultural economy that is itself reliant on healthy soils, natural pest control and pollination services provided by nature. Somerset’s cider industry is second to none and deservedly famous but it would not exist were it not for the invaluable pollination services provided by bees and other insects.
Access to, and enjoyment of, Somerset’s countryside is vitally important to our physical health and our mental wellbeing; we feel better! And of course, for many of us the diverse wildlife that lives within our precious landscapes is an essential ingredient of our quality of life; and life in a Somerset without such diversity is simply unimaginable.
But Somerset’s nature faces huge threats from Climate Change, development, fracking, funding shortages, pollution and delays in central government environmental and agriculture policy during the BREXIT negotiations.
Somerset Wildlife Trust is the biggest environmental charity in Somerset with over 18,000 members and over 50 years of nature conservation work behind them.
I look forward to hearing how you will join me in standing up for nature.”