I found Trevor Bevins report on Dorset Council’s climate change policies (Echo, 14th May) depressing reading.

In particular the statement quoted from environment portfolio holder, Cllr Ray Bryan warning that the estimated total £130m cost of climate change policies for Dorset Council could result in a five per cent increase in council tax.

This is complete nonsense.

Two years after Dorset Council declared a climate and ecological emergency it is shocking to realise the council’s main aim is to do nothing.

In practice renewable energy costs are plummeting and with only a small amount of motivation it is possible to dramatically reduce Dorset’s CO2 emissions at almost no cost to the council or council tax payers.

For example, the cost of electricity from offshore windfarms has halved in the 5 years since the Navitus Bay windfarm was refused planning consent. Dorset Council is in the almost unique position of having a potential offshore windfarm site that would decarbonise the entire current electricity consumption of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Dorset County at zero cost to the council.

In fact the similar Rampion offshore windfarm near Brighton has created hundreds of new jobs and completely revitalised the port at Newhaven.

With a small amount of technical knowledge the council would be able to better understand the rapidly changing opportunities as we move to low carbon society.

For example the UK’s leading think tank Policy Exchange published a paper in December 2020 ‘Powering Net Zero’ recommending local electricity pricing.

This refers to savings by using renewable electricity locally at the time it is generated, which saves long distance transmission costs and helps balance the grid. There is particular reference to areas supplied by offshore windfarms, for example every household in Dorset could benefit from a saving of £37 per year from local electricity pricing if there was an offshore windfarm.

This is not theoretical - Dorset Community Energy has developed the Energy Local Bridport project in co-operation with Octopus Energy. It is the first example in England of local households being able to purchase locally generated renewable electricity @9.5p/ kWh, with Octopus Energy providing the back-up supply when there is insufficient local renewable generation. Financial modelling indicates participating households will save around £70 per year.

There were 800 responses to Dorset Council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy Consultation, representing a huge source of technical support and free advice for the council.

It is doubly disappointing that the Council has done little to engage with the wider community and benefit from the knowledge and commitment on offer.


Stavordale Road, Weymouth