‘Unmissable op­por­tu­nity’ to em­bed ac­tion on cli­mate into ev­ery­day life

West Sussex County Times - - News - Karen Dunn

West Sus­sex has an ‘unmissable op­por­tu­nity’ to em­bed ac­tion on cli­mate change ‘into the way we work and live’, ac­cord­ing to one se­nior county coun­cil­lor.

In April 2019, the au­thor­ity pledged to make it­self car­bon neu­tral by 2030 and has worked up a strat­egy for the next ten years.

That strat­egy was dis­cussed by mem­bers of the en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­ni­ties scru­tiny panel who were told the coun­cil had an ‘unmissable op­por­tu­nity’ to em­bed cli­mate change is­sues into its Covid-19 re­cov­ery plans.

Deb­o­rah Urquhart, cab­i­net mem­ber for en­vi­ron­ment, said: “As the gov­ern­ment be­gins to ease the lock­down, thoughts are turn­ing to what kind of a world we want to live in af­ter all this is over.

“We’ve all seen the video clips of dol­phins play­ing in

Tri­este har­bour and of the Hi­malayas seen from the cities in north­ern In­dia for the first time in decades.

“The dis­ap­pear­ance of traf­fic from our roads has given us a glimpse of how clean the air can be and how the ri­otous bird song is.

“We sense that now is the time to act. Now is the golden op­por­tu­nity – the once-in-al­ife­time op­por­tu­nity – to get cli­mate change em­bed­ded into the way we work and live.

“With this is mind we have ac­cel­er­ated the time­line for the strat­egy so that we can align and in­te­grate the com­mit­ments and use this unmissable op­por­tu­nity pre­sented by the re­cov­ery plan­ning from Covid.”

The meet­ing was told that putting the strat­egy out to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion would push progress back to the end of the year.

In­stead, the coun­cil has pre­sented it to part­ners such as the South Downs Na­tional Park, the Sus­sex Wildlife Trust, the Local Eco­nomic

Part­ner­ship, and all the district and bor­ough coun­cils for their views.

The next step is for the strat­egy to be for­mally adopted and then an ac­tion plan will be drawn up.

Steve Read, di­rec­tor of en­vi­ron­ment and pub­lic pro­tec­tion, warned mem­bers that the strat­egy had to be ‘owned by the en­tire coun­cil’.

Mr Read told the meet­ing it was about adapt­ing the coun­cil’s own ac­tions and in­spir­ing other peo­ple across the county to do the same. He added: “If we’re go­ing to tackle it – if we’re go­ing to be mov­ing for­ward as per our in­ten­tions – it’s got to be em­bed­ded much more deeply than it’s been be­fore. “

The core of the strat­egy is made up of five com­mit­ments – to re­duce car­bon emis­sions, to source and use re­sources sus­tain­ably, to sup­port and grow the local green econ­omy, to trans­form how the coun­cil works and to adapt and be re­silient to a chang­ing cli­mate.

Deb­o­rah Urquhart, cab­i­net mem­ber for en­vi­ron­ment

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