A NEW environmental group formed in Purbeck is urging local residents to have their say in shaping the future of the area.

Planet Purbeck has been set up as a hub for groups and individuals who want to protect and improve the peninsula’s environment.

It says it aims to lobby for cleaner air, more green spaces, better public transport, greater use of renewable energy, wildlife conservation – and for making Purbeck a leading destination for sustainable tourism.

One of its first actions is to contribute to the online consultation launched by Dorset Council to determine its strategy for combatting the Climate and Ecological Emergency it declared last year.

However, the new group is keen to point out the consultation is open to everyone – and wants as many people as possible to put forward their views by taking part.

You can do so by going to Dorset Council’s website at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk, then scrolling down to All Services and clicking on Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Planet Purbeck’s co-ordinator Rob Waitt said: “A lot of people who care about climate change and threats to the environment feel helpless about doing something about it because it seems such an overpowering issue.

“It is true most of us can only do something at a local level. But like small acorns growing into big oak trees, local movements can gradually influence what is happening in the world around us.

“That’s what Planet Purbeck seeks to achieve. But it can only do so with the help of those living in the area who want to make it an even more wonderful – and sustainable – place in which to live, work and play.

“We are certain Dorset Council wants as big a response as possible to its consultation. And we hope lots of people will give their feedback to help the council prioritise its actions. It only takes a few minutes to do online but could lead to a better future for all of us.”

Though it was formed only two months ago, Planet Purbeck already boasts 250 members through word of mouth.

And Rob, of Swanage, hopes it will grow quickly once it is officially launched this month (January).

The group is already planning a family-friendly festival, scheduled for next September, to celebrate Purbeck’s coast, countryside and community.

Rob said: “The ultimate hope is that Planet Purbeck will become the go-to place for companies, councils and other organisations seeking local opinion on environmental matters.

"But for the moment we are taking things one step at a time and letting everyone know about the Dorset Council consultation is the top priority.”