County is in the red on green issues
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