The group describes itself in the following terms:
Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) works to cut the carbon footprint of Winchester district. We are local residents, businesses and policy-makers, working together to tread more lightly on the planet. Together, we can create a better future.
The group was initially set up with funding from local authorities/local governments/local agencies in 2008.
Strategies and Practices
The initial focus of WinACC was set out in six Action Groups – covering the Built Environment, Communications, Food, Renewable Energy, Training, and Transport. In addition to these groups a Science and Technology Advisory Panel (STAP) was also established, its aims were to work on the above themes. The Panel describes its role in the following terms:
- provides up-to-date information, advice and documentation on scientific and technological matters to WinACC
- works with other WinACC groups in areas of mutual interest where STAP’s scientific knowledge and opinion is useful
- reviews information from WinACC such as presentations and web materials for scientific accuracy
- publishes on climate change.
It also published a Vision of Winchester in 2015 (published in 2010).
In addition it also works with Winchester City Council to measure and reduce Winchester district’s carbon footprint.
The organisation currently has the following groups:
- Better Buildings Action Group (currently in abeyance)
- Built Environment and Transport Action Group
- Community Engagement Group
- Incredible Edible Winchester (Food Action Group)
- Renewable Energy Action Group
- Science and Technology Advisory Panel
- Waste Action Group
The organisation is also involved in the Low Carbon Communities network.
In terms of their strategies and practices these can be described in the following terms:
- Raising money to run the organisation
- Design, run and resource projects (such as community awareness, food projects)
- Be a consultative body representing the citizens of Winchester on local government policy boards
- Raise awareness of climate change issues in Winchester and the surrounding areas (including running training for local government officers)
They have a focus on ‘hard’ (measurable) outcomes such as district wide carbon emissions.
In many ways WinACC are a ‘professionalised’ group, well organised, with an office and staff; this reflects their origins and a desire to engage with and influence debates at local level. Being ‘professional’ is seen as an important route to being taken seriously by local government and other decision-making bodies in the locality that they wish to influence.
Following on from this there is also a strong emphasis on using up to date scientific knowledge to inform their own activities and serve as an input into the local authority decision-making process and to influence those decisions. They also seek to influence local business groups in terms of changing their attitudes toward sustainability.
They have attempted to help/influence the development of how Winchester can develop a vision for its future Sustainable Development through a publication by the Science and Technology Advisory Panel Winchester in 2015 (http://www.winacc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Winchester%20in%202015%20-%20Edition%201.pdf ).
- Develop/enhance/deliver a positive message with regards to climate change – re-frame local debate
- Develop links with specific communities (Business Community) and groups (young people) in order to recruit activists who can impact on the carbon emissions of the district
- Build on the ‘incomplete’ networking that exists on climate change-related matters within the community and voluntary sector organisations in the District of Winchester
To put it in a nutshell
The above clearly shows they were supported, indeed one might even say set up, by the local authority and this has clearly influenced their subsequent development and way of organising (e.g. a permanent office in Winchester University and employed staff as well as voluntary staff and seeking external funding). In this sense they are perhaps quite unusual among such groups. If they have an overall vision it is to bring like-minded people together to share experiences and work together to reduce Winchester’s carbon footprint.