A “ground breaking event” in Bude has brought together important figures from across Cornwall to encourage positive environmental change.  

On January 15, Bude Climate Partnership and the Bude Area Community Jury on Climate Change welcomed audiences to the Falcon Hotel in the town.  

Among visitors were prominent figures from the Environment Agency, Cornwall Council and town and parish councils. The event presented recommendations from the jury which aim to tackle some of the challenges posed by climate change and sea level rise in North Cornwall.  

The jury is made up of 34 members of the community who were randomly selected from across the wider Bude area. 

The group met for three weekends last autumn, co-ordinated by Bude Climate Partnership and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.  

During sessions, jury members heard from more than 20 experts and spent over 1,000 collective hours discussing climate issues.  

The result of this work is a set of 29 recommendations which were revealed for the first time publicly at the launch event. 

The recommendations put forward by the jury encompass a wide range of measures, with a particular focus on natural responses to sea level rise and the need to raise awareness about the far-reaching impacts of climate change. They address both immediate and long-term concerns and call for a strategic, collaborative response from authorities and the wider community to these challenges. 

Justin Ridgewell, senior advisor (Coast) Environment Agency, said: “It’s not an overstatement to say this was a ground-breaking event. To have 100 or so people from a rural community gathered in a public space on a cold Monday night in January to talk about sea level rise and seriously think about the future is really remarkable. Of particular importance was the demographic spread and variation of the Jury. It’s so important to have that multi-generational representation in these kind of conversations, but historically it’s been so difficult to achieve when we go out into communities to talk about climate change and shoreline planning. So, this feels like a real step change.” 

Some of the jury’s recommendations include:  

  • Prioritise the role of natural processes in responding to local sea level rise and in particular dunes.  
  • The political system means that it is difficult to move beyond a short term response to climate change and related sea level rise (e.g. five year government ruling period). We must separate the climate change response from the political short-term viewpoint. We need continuity.
  • Local knowledge must influence our response to sea level rise. It should add to the evidence base to make sure unintended consequences are avoided.  

A spokesperson from the event said: “Regional directors from the Environment Agency, Cornwall Council and National Trust, alongside 18 town and parish councillors, business figures, community groups and local stakeholders attended the event, demonstrating a collaborative effort to tackle climate change at various levels of governance. 

“The event marked a significant milestone in the community’s commitment to sustainability and resilience and serves as a model for other communities seeking effective strategies to address the complexities of climate change.”  The full list of recommendations can be found on the Community Jury’s website: www.budeclimatejury.org