PROTECTING the environment benefits everyone in Neath Port Talbot and this is often best achieved through making people more aware of their surroundings and the effect their lifestyle and actions can have on their environment and climate change.
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (NPT) Climate Change Team works in partnership with residents, community groups, organisations, businesses, the Welsh Assembly Government and other public agencies on all sustainability, environmental and climate change issues. This includes running a programme of events throughout the year aimed at promoting environmental improvements, including the very successful NPT Environment Awards in partnership with the NPT Environment Forum.
The Council recently carried out a survey on the public's attitude to climate change. The survey asked residents and businesses in Neath Port Talbot about their views on climate change and how the issues could be tackled at the local level. The survey results will be used to identify how best to deliver the climate change message in Neath Port Talbot.
From the initial survey results it is clear that most people in Neath Port Talbot understand what climate change is, and accept that it is happening. The majority of people believed that the causes are a combination of manmade and natural processes. Most considered the consequences are likely to be weather related, particularly flooding and the lack of summer we now experience. Many said they were concerned for future generations. People are also concerned that climate change could cost them money - increasing bills, for example.
When residents were asked what they thought Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council did about climate change, most said 'recycling'. However, Neath Port Talbot does a lot more than that.
The Council's new Climate Change team aims to be more effective at dealing with climate change. It brings together experts from all areas related to the causes and effects of climate change. They include energy and carbon management, environmental management, raising awareness of environmental and sustainability issues (including recycling) and environmental protection including access to the countryside, biodiversity, ecology, contaminated land, transport policy and air quality.
Leader of the Council Ali Thomas said: "These are just some of the very important climate change issues that affect Neath Port Talbot. As a Council we are committed to working together with our communities and local businesses to tackle the effects of climate change. …