IDEAS on how to tackle climate change and the threat to the county’s ecology were outlined at a Dorset Council inquiry event in Dorchester.

The event, held at South Walks House, is the second the council has staged – with the ideas going forward to help shape the authority’s climate change policies, due to be finalised in about three months time.

Cllr Ray Bryan, who chairs the council’s climate panel, said the around 750 ideas have been sent in by the public. He says each one of them will be considered before the council finalises its policy.

Tuesday’s session was scheduled to last from 4pm until 9pm with a range of short presentations.

The council had decided to hold the session later in the day so that people could come along after work, school or college, although there were few young people in the audience in the first hour.

Among the presentations were Phil Christopher who advocated building more home from straw bales – which he claims the country has a surplus of, enough to build half a million homes each year.

He told the panel that by using bales other building materials would not need to be transported so far and that the bale-built houses were more eco-friendly that traditional homes which he claimed accounted for 34% of all UK greenhouse gases.

Shaftesbury couple, Jonathan and Lucy Pursell, outlined their project for re-wilding their 65 acre farm using small grazing animals. They hope to persuade the Dorset Council to rent or sell them a neighbouring farm which the council owns, to bring the project to 104 acres.

“What we are wanting to do is let nature take the lead” said Lucy Pursell, claiming it would increase biodiversity and improve the soil naturally.

Growing your own building materials was the theme from Cleo Evans who explained how hemp panels could be used for buildings – cutting down on the need to transport building materials and pollution. She said with the right help and encouragement people could grown much of what might be needed to create a home – but it needed a big change in current thinking to bring it about.