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