Chichester District Council has been called on to ‘lead by example’ and switch to a ‘green’ energy tariff using renewable sources.
The council currently has ‘brown’ contracts for electricity and gas with Kent County Council’s LASER Buying Group, meaning the energy is powered by coal and gas.
At a meeting of the full council at East Pallant House, there was all-round support for a suggestion from Sarah Sharp (Green, Chichester South) that changes be made.
Mrs Sharp said: “Electricity produced by wind, solar and tidal power is critical to the country’s energy security and to surviving sustainably. The decision where to purchase the council’s electricity can make a significant difference.
“Choosing a green tariff shows that this council is committing to reducing climate change and sets an example to residents and businesses.
“This simple change is one of the first steps on an action plan for climate change.”
The council declared a climate emergency in July and Mrs Sharp said switching to renewable energy was ‘the first and easiest step towards reducing fossil fuel consumption’.
She encouraged her colleagues to look into the idea of supporting local suppliers such as the county council-run scheme Your Energy Sussex.
Reporting that other councils had seen an ‘immediate 10 per cent reduction in their carbon footprint’ when they switched to ‘green’ tariffs, she added: “We need to lead by example. We can’t be declaring climate emergencies and not looking where we get our electricity from.”
Penny Plant, cabinet member for environment, told the meeting that the contracts with LASER were due to expire next September.
She suggested that Mrs Sharp’s idea should be referred to the council’s environment committee for further exploration.
A recommendation would then be made to the cabinet for approval.