Climate emergency officer to be hired by Chichester District Council

A climate emergency officer is set to be hired by Chichester District Council.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:04 pm
Chichester District Council SUS-190201-110211001

Following the declaration of a climate emergency last summer, the council’s environment panel has developed an initial action plan, which sets out a carbon reduction target of ten per cent year on year until 2025 within the district.

The plan also 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 and promoting sustainable transport.

On Tuesday (January 7) the council’s cabinet has also put forward a recommendation to full council that a climate emergency officer be appointed to develop the plan for delivery from autumn 2020.

Penny Plant, cabinet member for the environment, said: “We all have a very important part to play in helping to preserve our beautiful district.

“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.

“The council’s Air Quality Action Plan also aims to reduce carbon emissions through the development of new walking and cycling infrastructure and the installation of electric vehicle charging points across the district.

“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.

“The measures delivered as part of the plan will help us to reduce carbon emissions in our area, while also demonstrating how local action can contribute to achieving the national climate emergency target of zero net carbon by 2050.”

Chichester’s Lib Dems welcomed the approval of an initial climate emergency action plan and also applauded the acceptance of their policy for employing a full-time climate emergency officer.

Jonathan Brown, shadow spokesman for the environment, said: “I am delighted that the budget proposal we made in March this year has finally been accepted. We are already dangerously behind the curve so it is great to see cross party support for serious action.

“It demonstrates the influence councillors can have, even from opposition, and shows that the election of a more politically balanced and diverse council in May is leading to positive change.

“It is true that Chichester District cannot achieve its target without a much greater sense of urgency and a willingness to act upon the scientific evidence by central government. But it is right that we set ourselves the target both of rapidly reducing carbon emissions from the council’s own operations and leading the wider community in doing the same.

“I am however concerned by the cabinet’s apparent acceptance that the government’s target of achieving net-zero emissions nationally by 2050 is sufficient. It is not. We must press the government to do much more and much faster.”