Stevenage Borough Council – Virtual Citizen’s Panel

Declaring our Climate Emergency in summer 2019 and establishing our baseline carbon footprint for the town and council buildings was an important first action. Further areas of action included housing, transport and biodiversity as we moved into 2020 firming up the draft strategy it was clear we needed more public input. The pandemic curtailed face-to-face consultation but a digital consultation achieved a very useful response with over 1400 responses to a targeted questionnaire.

The next step was to set up a virtual Citizens Panel in conjunction with the company Mutual Gain. The Panel consisted of 24 participants broadly representative of the town and was held using the Zoom video platform and Miro, an online visual collaboration tool. The participants heard from five local experts on the science, policy, and activism surrounding the climate emergency and then deliberated on what action they would like to see to help Stevenage reach its target of net zero by 2030.

The headline recommendations made by the Panel were to:

1. Make Stevenage a Zero Food Waste Town;

2. Establish a collaborative framework to achieve sustainable infrastructure to reduce pollution;

3. Improve communications and recycling awareness incentives to both residents and businesses;

4. Implement climate emergency education and create awareness for Stevenage residents, businesses, and visitors.