Session one: People’s Jury on climate change ‘break the ice’

Published Friday 7 October 2022 at 16:27

32 residents from the Blackburn with Darwen People’s Jury on Climate Change met in Blackburn last week, kicking off the first of eight sessions.

The Jury will be meeting for over 30 hours between now and December, with the task of forming a set of recommendations on what organisations and residents in the borough should be doing to help tackle the issue – including talks from experts on climate change and local emissions.

An Oversight Panel made up of local stakeholders and partners, including organisations such as UCLan, Community CVS, Youth Zone and the Lancashire Council of Mosques, has also been assembled to ensure a fair and rigorous process is maintained and that local partners have a role within this journey too.

Last week, at the first session, Jury members heard from Leader of the Council, Cllr Phil Riley, on why the Council is supportive of the People’s Jury on climate change and how it will help to platform the recommendations.

Cllr Riley said:

As a Council, we declared a climate emergency in 2019, with the aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.

What we really want to come out of this process is an honest assessment of what can be done and what should be done across our borough to work towards this.

The findings and recommendations outlined by the People’s Jury will be presented to Council Forum in January and discussed in both practical and financial terms, too.

This will be a report of real value that can guide local organisations, the Council and our residents to come together and strive towards a better, greener future for our borough.

I would like to thank every member of the Jury and Oversight Panel for their time and contribution – it’s really gratifying that so many residents were prepared to give up their time to work collectively on this vitally important issue. 

Jury members had the opportunity for a question-and-answer session with Cllr Riley, Martin Eden, Strategic Director of Environment and Operations and Councillor Zainab Rawat, Assistant Executive Member for Growth and Development and lead for the work on Climate Change.

This was followed by a mapping exercise, asking Jury members to think about their everyday and local area in relation to climate change, marking out themes such as transport, waste and recycling and car parking over a map of Blackburn with Darwen.

The Jury also broke into smaller groups to start working on ‘problem trees’ and identifying the root causes of climate change. These will be continued at the next workshop, taking place on Saturday 8th October.

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The new People’s Jury is part of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s climate action plan, with the aims that it will drive local investment in the work and ensure residents and organisations are very much part of this journey.

The sessions are being facilitated and run by Shared Future CIC, one of the UK’s leading experts in organising People’s Juries.

Initially, more than 6000 letters were sent out to randomly-selected households in the borough inviting them to register to take part in the jury.

Those who applied were subject to a thorough selection process to ensure there’s a diverse range of people – reflecting the local population of Blackburn with Darwen in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, where people live and attitude to climate change.

You can view the full list of Oversight Panel members here.

Follow the latest updates from each session on the Council’s social media and via The Shuttle.

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