County is in the red on green is­sues

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COUNTRYFILE - by Paul Francis

KENT is fall­ing far short in its ef­forts to safe­guard and im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment, a ma­jor re­port has warned.

Coun­cil lead­ers, busi­nesses and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of com­mu­nity and lo­cal groups have been told they must re­dou­ble their drive to head off the threat posed by cli­mate change, wa­ter short­ages and other en­vi­ron­men­tal pres­sures.

It sug­gests a wake-up call de­liv­ered in the same re­port two years ago has not been heeded.

The re­port’s find­ings were pub­lished last week and were dis­cussed by the Kent Part­ner­ship at Can­ter­bury Cathe­dral.

The Kent En­vi­ron­ment Strat­egy de­tails what progress the county has made against a range of tar­gets agreed in 2005.

It con­cludes that de­spite im­ple- ment­ing many of its ac­tion plans, many of the key ob­jec­tives have not been met and, in many cases, where tar­gets have been reached, they have fallen way short of what ac­tu­ally needs to be done.

The re­port states: “If ev­ery­one on earth lived as we do in Kent, we would need about three-anda-half plan­ets worth of nat­u­ral re­sources to main­tain our lifestyle. That is clearly un­sus­tain­able.”

It goes on to warn: “Fur­ther pop­u­la­tion and hous­ing growth can only push us closer to th­ese en­vi­ron­men­tal lim­its un­less we sign­f­i­cantly re­duce our use of nat­u­ral re­sources and in­crease the ef­fi­ciency with which we use them.”

Among the re­port’s more wor­ry­ing find­ings is that car­bon emis­sions from house­holds and in­dus­try are in­creas­ing af­ter what is de­scribed as “a long pe­riod of de­cline.”

The in­crease is at­trib­uted to ris­ing do­mes­tic and trans­port emis­sions.

The re­port also high­lights the qual­ity of wa­ter in rivers is “show­ing signs of stress af­ter years of im­prove­ment” and that the pop­u­la­tion of wild birds is lower than it was ten years ago and be­low the na­tional av­er­age.

On the plus side, the re­port says more de­vel­op­ment is tak­ing place on so-called brown­field land, that more of us are re­cy­cling house­hold rub­bish and that we are sav­ing more wa­ter than be­fore.

The full re­port can be seen at www.kent.gov.uk/publi­ca­tions/ en­vi­ron­ment

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