News from the Geopark

Support Earth Hour in Torbay – as Council commits £1m to tackling climate change

7 Mar 2022

Residents in Torbay are being encouraged by English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark and us to mark Earth Hour by turning off their lights at home and heading down to Torre Abbey Sands in Torquay to join a unique event, the first of its kind in the Bay.

The event comes after we recently identified £1m funding in its proposed Budget to help drive climate change initiatives in Torbay.

On Saturday 26 March, participants are encouraged to bring a lantern (instructions on how to make one will be provided online) and meet outside the Princess Theatre at 8pm. There they will be able to sign a climate pledge before joining a lantern parade down to the beach for the main event.

The festoon lighting will turn off at 8:30pm to reveal our unique candle-lit beach artwork, followed by ‘unplugged’ musical entertainment. It is also hoped that other businesses around the Bay will also support the event by turning off some of their exterior lighting for the duration of Earth Hour, which runs between 8:30pm and 9:30pm.

We will be considering a new Carbon Neutral Action Plan and Policy later this month, including a package of measures totalling £1m. The Action Plan and Policy will outline what we will be doing across its operations including a range of measures to start to decarbonise our estate and fleet. Working with the Torbay Climate Partnership, a new Torbay-wide Action Plan will also be co-designed and consulted on with local residents later in the year. We are also supporting residents to reduce their energy bills through the Heat Devon initiative and will be installing, later this year, electric vehicle charging points in our car parks.

We are committed to creating a Carbon Neutral Torbay by 2030 and you can find out what’s happened so far including feedback from our Climate Conversation in November 2021.

With supporters in over 190 countries and happening ahead of the UN CBD COP 15 (United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity 15th Conference of the Parties) in China, Earth Hour is an unmissable opportunity to shine a spotlight on this crucial conference for nature, building the global momentum needed to pressure world leaders into action.

Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council said: “We are committed to reducing Torbay’s carbon footprint and protecting the local environment. On 24 June 2019, Torbay Council declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ recognising that the authority has a key role in tackling the causes and effects of climate change. We are working with our local community to become carbon neutral by 2030 and last year we introduced a Carbon Neutral Initial Action Plan. Just some of the actions in the plan include the planting of more tree and the introduction of better walking and cycling routes, as well as solar power and electric charging points. Join us for Earth Hour to show your own support and commitment to tackling climate change.”

Mike Morey, Cabinet member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture at Torbay Council said: “We do hope lots of people join us from what promises to be a really special event to mark Earth Hour Torbay. And whilst at the event we can all take a moment to reflect on what we can do as individuals to help tackle the climate emergency. We are also calling on as many local businesses, to turn off their lights, if they can do safely and help support the event. Earth Hour is a global call to action and we do hope people will get involved, so even if you can’t make it to the Abbey Sands event you can still join this global call to action by turning off at home for an hour.”

Nick Powe, Geopark Chairman said: An aspect of the UNESCO Global Geopark’s remit is to support the 17 UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals. As such, the Geopark is delighted to be working in partnership with the Council to bring Earth Hour, a global event that sees millions of people around the world turn off their lights to celebrate our planet and highlight the need to be more environmentally friendly, to Torbay. 

This event has been funded by us and Torbay Council and delivered by Tonic Creatives.