Column by the leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Toby Savage.

The weeks are counting down to the international COP26 summit that will take place in Glasgow in November, which we hope will help result in changes on a global scale to slow down the effects on our climate that we can all see already happening around us.

Closer to home, I know that many residents are taking their own steps to help reduce their impact on our natural world by, for example, recycling as much as possible and, having been initially forced to shop and exercise more locally during the pandemic, increasingly people are continuing to choose to walk or cycle more and to support local businesses.

As a Council, we know that we must also play a role, and we are. For example, we are continuing the process of ‘greening’ our fleet, replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with electric and hybrid models, and we are investing with partners in providing more electric charging points across the district so that more people can take up this new technology.

Alongside our personal and public efforts, we know that harnessing the power and innovation of business and enterprise in a spirit of collaboration will be critical in meeting this challenge. This is why next week, on 19th and 20th October, we are hosting a Business Show at the Bristol and Bath Science Park. I look forward to opening the Show and contributing to the event, which will see businesses from across South Gloucestershire coming together to event to discuss the climate emergency, Net-Zero, circular economy, sustainability, and the economics of protecting and restoring biodiversity. You can find out more on our website:

Everyone can play their part, but I understand that it can sometimes feel like our individual actions are a drop in the ocean on a global scale. That is why it is so encouraging that locally based firms such as Rolls Royce and Airbus, who are at the forefront of our thriving local aerospace sector, will be part of this event. They are taking meaningful steps to reduce the carbon impact of air travel and we will be discussing plans, research and innovations for the future that other local businesses can learn from to make their own positive difference to our world.

As a Council, we have published a Climate Emergency Action Plan, which sets out our aspirations and the steps we are taking to realise them.

Individual residents, households and local businesses can find out more about the practical things we can all do by taking our free online Climate and Nature Emergency Action training: Rise 360 ( Many people have already chosen to sign our Climate Emergency pledge South Gloucestershire Climate Pledge (

The challenges we face are real and the only way we will rise to them is by working together. The steps individuals, businesses, countries and the council take will all contribute. As daunting as it may seem, by working together, we can and must make a difference.