High school pupils from East Lancashire have been preparing for the second annual student climate conference.

The Conference of Ribble Valley Schools (CORVS) was inspired by the UN’s COP events where leaders work together on solutions to tackle climate change, with the first event taking place in the borough last year.

Students from Bowland High School, Pleckgate High School, Ribblesdale High School and Stonyhurst College recently spent an afternoon at the council offices in Clitheroe with local leaders discussing the challenges posed by climate change, and making plans for CORVS2, which will take place on June 18 at Ribblesdale High School.

Lancashire Telegraph: Students meeting with Ribble Valley mayor as they prep for CORVS2Students meeting with Ribble Valley mayor as they prep for CORVS2 (Image: CORVS)

Organised by the Ribble Valley Climate Action Network (RVCAN) the pupils were joined at the council offices in Clitheroe by Ribble Valley Mayor, Councillor Mark Hindle; England’s youngest district councillor, Aaron Wilkins-Odudu; and Mara Gee and David Rawkins from RVCAN. 

Cllr Hindle, said: “It was a pleasure to meet with such engaging and passionate young people. The event highlighted the leadership being shown by young people on climate change, the council’s commitment to discussing ideas and climate issues with local young people, and our hope for pupils to continue engaging with the council on developing practices and informing future policymaking.”

Cllr Hindle and Cllr Wilkins-Odudu carried out a Q&A session with the pupils, which included discussing the possibility of the council providing financial support for households installing solar panels; the importance of maintaining grade 1 and grade 2 listed buildings in a sustainable way; and the recent initiatives and strategies of the council regarding recycling and sustainability.

Lancashire Telegraph: Students from East Lancashire high schools discussing climate change Students from East Lancashire high schools discussing climate change (Image: CORVS)

Heather Brennan, staff delegate from Pleckgate High School, said: “It was inspiring to see the students discuss pressing issues and promising ideas with local leaders.

“They are showing real initiative with this programme and demonstrating a willingness to take responsibility for the climate — all admirable actions which are beyond their years.”

Following the Q&A students discussed plans for CORVS2 and considered pledges they could make while reporting back on last year’s pledges.

Last year at CORVS1, Clitheroe Grammar School pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2028 by reducing their energy consumption and investing in a new heat pump; Stonyhurst College pledged to build bee hotels on campus to increase local biodiversity; and Pleckgate High pledged to implement ‘Meat Free Mondays’ at their school canteen.

Helen Dakin, operations manager at Bowland High School, said: “The enthusiasm of the students to engage with climate change in a coordinated and impactful way is wonderful to see.

“They are approaching a hugely challenging topic with sensible, brave and achievable solutions.”

Discussions around which local industry representatives would be invited to CORVS2 were had, as well as talks on how young people could engage with Ribble Valley Council to promote a greener future by embedding climate change in school curriculums.

Following the success of last year’s conference, the CORVS2 conference in June hopes to have 10 schools present, as it seeks to continue expanding the student involvement to more schools across the region in 2024 and beyond.