Chichester district councillors set to declare a climate emergency

A climate change protest held in Chichester earlier this year
A climate change protest held in Chichester earlier this year

Chichester district councillors are preparing to follow the example of their city council colleagues and declare a climate emergency.

With the UK committed to being carbon neutral by 2050 – and campaign groups pressing for this to be reduced to 2030 – more than 80 councils have already declared emergencies and started working towards that target.

The city council stepped up last month and the district’s role will be discussed at a meeting of the cabinet next week.

A report to the meeting highlighted some of the work already being carried out by the council, including installing electric car charging points and developing policies to ensure all new homes make efficient use of energy and water.

Members will ask the environment panel to come up with priorities for a climate emergency action plan by November and to detail the resources needed to make the plan deliverable.

Some money is already in place to help things progress.

In March, the cabinet was told it could use up to £150,000 of reserves to employ a climate emergency officer for three years.

And Homes England has offered the council the chance to use money due from the Graylingwell development to pay for carbon reduction schemes.

While the exact figure has yet to be confirmed, a report to the meeting said it was likely to be between £500,000 and £700,000.

A report due to be put to the cabinet next week said: “The main outcome to be achieved is to produce an action plan which will deliver quantifiable carbon reductions within the district and will demonstrate how local action can contribute to achieving the climate emergency target and contribute to our national and international commitments.

“Secondary outcomes are to reduce fuel bills for local residents and/or businesses and to support investment in the skills, training and jobs required to transition to a low carbon economy.”

The meeting will be held in Committee Room 2 at East Pallant House, from 9.30am. Members of the public are welcome to attend.