Posted: Wed 24th May 2023

Flintshire Council’s climate message hampered by absence of Facebook page

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

Flintshire Council’s lack of a Facebook page was highlighted at a meeting about how best to get the authority’s climate message across.

The council’s climate change committee met to discuss a communications plan for its climate change programme, and the council’s aims to get to net zero by 2030.

Speaking at the meeting, cabinet member for climate change Caergwrle Cllr Dave Healey (Lab) said: “My concern was that we do whatever we can to reach out to the community to change behaviour.

“We have quite a bit of information on our own website but I think it has to be quite a bit more ‘in your face’ than it is and it needs to be easy to access.

“There are immense challenges out there with regards to changing the behaviour of the public and we see this in the issue of recycling where we have come against problems with people not really getting to grips with the business of recycling appropriately.”

Cllr Healey suggested that a cartoon could help simplify the issue for people and get the message across, before members were presented with a draft communications plan put together by the council’s climate change programme manager Alex Ellis.

But the lack of a Facebook page, the world’s largest social media platform, and online engagement with residents who don’t attend council events or use its website was flagged up by Connah’s Quay Central Cllr Bernie Attridge (Ind).

“I think the key to success of any of this is our engagement”, he said.

“It’s okay having stuff on Flintshire’s website but it’s getting out there, speaking to people.

“We need to get to people who don’t engage with the council, who don’t go on our website.

“We’re not on Facebook as a council, so as many platforms to get our message out the better really.”

The only ‘Flintshire County Council’ page that can be found on Facebook was set up in June 2011. It has just a single post and has not been updated at all in the 12 years since, with no indication it even belongs to the authority. Some councillors do have their own individual Facebook pages.

Among the ideas put forward by members, Treuddyn Cllr Allan Marshall (Ind) suggested ‘real-time’ recycling data is put on the website every day to show areas performing best and worst, although Buckley Bistre West Cllr Dan Rose (Lab) expressed reservations about comparing areas as their demographics are different.

Cllr Healey said it was important to remember that climate change was not just about recycling. He felt that the cost-of-living crisis could prohibit people from becoming more environmentally friendly in their behaviour.

Argoed and New Brighton Cllr Mared Eastwood (Lib Dem) said she had residents interested in what the council is doing and said the authority needed to “shout about it more”.

Chairing the meeting, Penyffordd Cllr Alasdair Ibbotson (Lab) summed up the difficulties facing the council in trying to ask residents to improve their impact on the environment.

He said that so many essentials come in unrecyclable packaging, and it is too costly for many people to source their food organically.

He added: “It’s not possible for us to ask people to drive less when there is not a decent public transport network in Flintshire.

“You can’t give up a car – the bulk of our population is either rural or small towns where there is no bus service to speak of a lot of the time and what there is, is infrequent, unreliable and doesn’t run into the evening.”

“Every bit of engagement and encouragement we provide must be in the context of ‘we recognise it’s not possible to make good choices at the moment’ and our responsibility is to make that better.”

By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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