District Council pushes climate change projects

“Initial low-cost projects include tree planting and re-wilding.  However, in order to achieve a substantial change in emissions, changes will be required to both housing and transport, which together contribute substantially to greenhouse gases.”

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Last year, the District Council “agreed to sign up to the Devon Climate Change Emergency Declaration, works with Devon County Council and other partners to produce a Devon wide action plan on climate change, prepares an East Devon District Council action plan to reduce their carbon footprint and reflect climate change as a priority in the new Council Plan and future updates of Service Plans and relevant corporate policies.”

District Council commits to action plan on climate change – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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However, not very much happened, other than good intentions:

Climate change: a proactive District Council – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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In May of this year, the council appointed Portfolio Holders for Climate Change to lead and champion climate change in East Devon – who are now trying to take plans further, as reported in the Herald:

East Devon District Council to use climate change report to guide strategy | Sidmouth Herald

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Here’s the full press release from the council:

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Council responds to the Committee on Climate Change Annual Report

1 July 2020

East Devon District Council have responded to the recently issued Government ‘Committee on Climate Change’ annual report by reiterating how it wants East Devon to play a role locally in the global challenge to combat and avoid the worse effects of climate change.

The foreword to the committee report said

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives. Its effects are far-reaching – its implications profound. Our 2019 report to Parliament urged Government to act on climate. “Now, do it” was our call. Twelve months on that remains our emphatic message, but with a new determination: we must seize the opportunity to make the COVID-19 recovery a defining moment in tackling the climate crisis. We say to the Government: “act courageously – it’s there for the taking”.

The Council remains committed to reducing its carbon footprint and working with its partners, contractors, business and communities to reduce its carbon use and move rapidly towards a carbon neutral position. Last summer East Devon District Council became a signatory to the very ambitious Devon Climate Emergency Declaration and whilst recognising that it has set itself a challenging ambition, is determined to make positive changes over the next twenty years to reach this goal for the benefit of the planet, its communities, and residents’ health and wellbeing.

To demonstrate the Council’s commitment to Climate Change the new administration at the council have recently appointed Portfolio Holders for Climate Change to lead and champion climate change in East Devon.

Councillor Marianne Rixson, Portfolio Holder for Climate Action and Councillor Denise Bickley Assistant Portfolio Holder for Climate Action said:

“Whilst this report is primarily for government, we intend to use the Committee on Climate Change report as a guide to help develop and enhance our own strategy.

Initial low-cost projects include tree planting and re-wilding.  However, in order to achieve a substantial change in emissions, changes will be required to both housing and transport, which together contribute substantially to greenhouse gases.

We must ensure that future housing is built to meet high environmental standards.  Also that transport emissions are reduced through behavioural change such as walking, where possible, cycling and car sharing. Increased use of public transport will play a significant role, once public confidence has been restored.

As a rural area, we recognise too that investment will be essential in electric car charging networks.  However, schemes such as these will require significant investment and government funding.  Therefore, climate change projects should be on the top of the government’s agenda.  In the meantime, we will play our part in encouraging green transport through electrification of our own white vehicle fleet.”

A copy of the Committee on Climate Change report can be found by visiting:

COVID-19 can be an historic turning point in tackling the global climate crisis – Committee on Climate Change

1 July 2020 – Council responds to the Committee on Climate Change Annual Report – East Devon

   
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