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Climate cash: Warm reception

By Kelly Wickham
kelly.wickham@sussexpost.co.uk

 

Member of Chichester District Council have taken steps in the fight against climate change.

 

Funding was approved by cabinet members on Tuesday for a climate emergency officer at a cost of £120,000.

 

The cabinet has recommended to full council that the post is funded from reserves for two years to support delivery of a climate emergency initial action plan.

 

Following the announcement of a climate emergency in a cabinet meeting last Summer, the council’s environment panel developed an initial action plan which was approved by cabinet members this week.

 

This plan sets out a carbon reduction target of ten per cent year on year until 2025 within the Chichester district.

 

The recommendation to full council that a climate emergency officer be appointed to develop the plan for delivery from autumn 2020, will be considered in a council meeting on January 28.

 

During the cabinet meeting, councillors were told that other authorities were doing more, including neighbours Arun District Council.

 

However, it was argued that Arun was looking at the council itself and not the district, like Chichester.

 

Cllr Peter Wilding said: “The two principle sources of CO2 are from transport and domestic and office heating.

 

“Most of the houses are existing and have existing heating so I don’t see how in the next five years we are going to significantly change the two principle sources of CO2 emission as a district council. That is my concern.”

 

Officers explained that as a district, Chichester had been achieving a level of carbon reduction due to national action anyway. They also said ‘the uncomfortable part of setting an area- wide target was that it wasn’t under the council’s complete control.’

 

Cllr Roy Briscoe said: “I welcome the proposals put forward and feel they set realistic targets. The ten per cent with our guidance is achievable. Some neighbouring authorities say they are going to go carbon neutral by 2030 but they haven’t taken into account vehicles and home heating.”

 

Council leader Eileen Lintill added: “I welcome this. I think the key point for me is that this is an initial action plan. I think it’s a piece of work that needed to be done to ascertain that we needed a climate emergency officer and I am happy to support that. ”

 

The senior officer set to be appointed by Arun District Council will lead its work to work towards its target of becoming carbon-neutral within ten years. Their recommendation to spend up to £180,000 on the role will be debated by the council’s cabinet followed by all councillors this year.

 

Chichester District Council’s climate emergency initial action plan outlines key actions that can be taken by the council in order to help address climate change, including:

 

  • The delivery of measurable carbon reduction in new developments and through the council’s own operations
  • Sourcing funding for reduced carbon initiatives
  • Promoting lifestyle changes, such as energy reduction and the use of renewable energy sources
  • Developing local plans for reducing food waste
  • Identifying opportunities for increased tree planting
  • Promoting sustainable transport

 

“We all have a very important part to play in helping to preserve our beautiful district,” said Cllr Penny Plant, cabinet member for environment and Chichester contract services at Chichester District Council.

 

“In our role as a district council, we are keen to take whatever steps we reasonably can to address climate change within the work that we do. By adopting a focused action plan, we have reached another key milestone in our bid to tackle climate change.

 

“Carbon reduction is already a key focus in many areas of the council’s work. New policies are currently being proposed to set standards for sustainable construction, energy efficiency and water usage in new developments through the local plan review. Policies for sustainable drainage, flooding and wildlife corridors also form part of this work.

 

“Reducing carbon emissions is an urgent but complicated issue. However, we are confident that the implementation of our action plan will have a positive impact on our district, and its residents, workers and visitors.”

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