A NEW, wide ranging set of actions has been agreed by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) in its efforts to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.

As a major study released this week detailed the alarming scale of the problems facing UK flora and fauna, SLDC issued a comprehensive plan including working towards agreeing a 'zero carbon date' and funding a 'citizen's jury' to thrash out a climate strategy.

“These are serious issues that require serious attention," said Cllr Dyan Jones, the council's portfolio holder for climate emergency and localism.

"At SLDC we have taken a lead in making this a priority."

The study is the annual report of the The State of Nature Partnership, a body of leading wildlife professionals from more than 70 groups including The National Trust and Cumbria Wildlife Trust (CWT).

Its shock findings included the conclusion that 41 per cent of the UK species they studied are in decline with 26 per cent of UK mammal species in danger of disappearing altogether.

And significantly, the report places much of the blame for the situation on pollution and climate change.

CWT chief executive Stephen Trotter said the problems should not be underestimated

"We have a big task to put nature into recovery here in Cumbria," he said.

"Cumbria Wildlife Trust is working hard with our many partners, land managers and farmers to reverse the trends that this report makes clear."

SLDC, which in June became the first council in Cumbria to declare a climate emergency, has recently held another series of climate change ‘conversations,’ inviting residents to have their say on how the body can best address climate change issues.

These meetings, held in Kendal, Ulverston, Grange-over-Sands, Windermere and Kirkby Lonsdale, have led to an updated action plan.

In the plan, the council has, among a range pledges, vowed to work with Cumbria County Council to agree a date for zero carbon target and work with supermarkets and other businesses to discuss how carbon footprints can be reduced.

The strategy also includes pledges to review ways in which it can help businesses and institutions finance sustainable measures including solar panels or hydroelectric schemes and to investigate ways to discourage vehicle idling.

Other pledges include initiating a 'rural wheels scheme' to provide transport for those in rural areas and promoting electric bikes.

“By working with communities, businesses and local groups we are committed to finding ways to reduce the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss, which are likely to be the biggest challenges of our lifetime," said Cllr Jones.

“We are responding and acting on many of the suggestions, embedding sustainable methods of thinking and working; ‘thinking globally, acting locally’ in all we do, using our influence, working collaboratively with partners, and recognising that a joined-up, strategic approach is vital in our response to climate change.’’