Posts tagged climate change
South Hams District Council has now agreed a plan to support the Council’s aim of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030 and to help the District of South Hams reach Zero Carbon by 2050.
At a meeting of all of the South Hams District Councillors, it was agreed that as well as aiming to reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint, they would work with the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group to reduce emissions across the District.
It was also agreed that the draft action plan which the Council is bringing forward, would be shared with Towns and Parish Councils and be the subject of continual review throughout the year, including opening it up to comments from the public.
Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council said: “It is very important for us to be realistic about what we can do, what we can influence and what is outside of our control.
“As an organisation, through workshops with councillors and staff, we have brought together a list of ideas that will form the basis of our plan for reducing our own organisational footprint, and ideas that are outside of our control which we would need to work with partners and communities on.
Evidence shows that humans have already caused climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world. Global temperatures have already increased by one degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
Atmospheric Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm). This far exceeds the 350 ppm deemed to be a safe level for humanity.
“We, and the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, recognise that much of what needs to be done is beyond the ability of any one authority, but we remain committed to working together, with partners, stakeholders, the private and public sectors to do what we can.”
South Hams District Council has now established a baseline measure of its own Carbon Footprint. The total net carbon footprint for South Hams District Council is 8014.2 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) per year. For comparison, the average home in the United Kingdom is estimated to contribute 2.7 tCO2e per year through heating.
The Council has already taken significant steps to reduce its footprint through actions such as reducing business miles. Now they are progressing other ideas such as investing in a solar farm, facilitating a salary sacrifice scheme for electric cars, getting an electric pool car and changing their vehicle fleet to electric.
Cllr Pearce said: “When we declared a Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency earlier in the year, we agreed to create a working group of councillors to tackle the challenge ahead.
“That group has been working hard to understand the task ahead of us, and our role within it. You can view videos of the workshops they took part in and read about their progress to date on the South Hams dedicated Climate Change and Biodiversity website”.
Cllr Pearce added: “If you are keen to get involved, please do engage with your Town and Parish Council or local climate action groups. You can also fill in our District-wide survey or have a go at working out your own carbon footprint using the calculator on our website.”
South Hams have now launched a District-wide survey asking residents for their views on climate change and what we can all do individually to make a difference.
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Issued: 30 July 2019
South Hams District Council held a Council meeting on Thursday 25 July, with councillors unanimously supporting a motion to declare both a Climate Change and a Biodiversity Emergency.
Following recommendations from the Executive committee in June, the Council agreed a Climate Change Emergency and went further, with the additional inclusion of a Biodiversity Emergency.
The Council will now collaborate with Climate Change agencies along with Devon Councils, including Devon County and Plymouth City, to address the emergencies.
Agreement was reached to develop an action plan which will outline how the Council will meet, or exceed, the UN’s intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) carbon reduction recommendations.
This will include an assessment on whether the 2030 target date will be practical. The assessment, to be presented to Council within six months, will also look at concerns about global species and habitat loss raised by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
A politically balanced Working Group will be established by the end of August led by the Leader, Cllr Judy Pearce, Lead Executive Member for Climate Change. At their first meeting, the Working Group will consider setting up a Citizens’ Assembly and to bring a recommendation to the next Council meeting on 26 September.
The Council will also take steps to ensure developers improve biodiversity within their development plans and to avoid, where possible, any impact to wildlife. Or, as a last resort, to carefully mitigate against any impact, in agreement with the Joint Local Plan Policy.
Cllr Hilary Bastone, Deputy Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “It’s important to have a clear plan of action about how to deal with the Climate Change and Biodiversity Emergency in an achievable timescale.
“We’ve put in place sensible steps to help us find out more and we’re looking forward to working with other organisations and councils, through our Working Group, to develop a plan which will help us to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Cllr John Birch, SHDC Ward Member for Totnes, added: “I’m pleased that we have also taken biodiversity into consideration when talking about Climate Change. Biodiversity is directly affected by a changing climate, and this has negative consequences for the populations’ wellbeing.
“With this in mind, I’d very much like to see a Citizens’ Assembly set up to gain the views of those living in the South Hams.”
Cllr Jacqi Hodgson, SHDC Leader of the Green Party, who tabled the original motion last December, was delighted that Biodiversity was now part of the formal Declaration, saying that ecological collapse was essential to urgently address, said: “It’s really important that going forward we take steps to make sure that when developers apply for planning permission, they have made provision to conserve and manage biodiversity to avoid any impact to wildlife habitats, wherever possible. If this can’t be avoided, then any harm should be minimised.”
Climate Change impacts all of the Council’s six Corporate Strategy themes. To read more about these themes, go to: https://www.southhams.gov.uk/article/5347/Council-Performance-and-Strategy