We are working out what we need to do to make the biggest and quickest impact on local emissions and we’re working with local community groups to do it.
Community groups who lead locally on climate change action met with EHDC councillors and staff to discuss what we can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the district.
Alton’s and Petersfield’s Climate Action Network, Energy Alton, Women of this Town, Energise South Downs and other organisations, such as the South Downs National Park, have been sharing their own experiences and knowledge with us to help set achievable, focussed priorities.
The meeting, held at Penns Place, Petersfield, on Thursday 12 October, was run by Cllr Robert Mocatta, our Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Prosperity.
He said: “It was absolutely fantastic to be able to meet with the local people who are working so hard to promote sustainable practices at home and at work. EHDC has a huge responsibility in the fight against climate change, not only in limiting our own emissions but also in encouraging residents and businesses to give their best efforts too.
“What we wanted to do was agree some priorities together and decide on the two or three big things we can practicably achieve that will make the biggest difference to greenhouse gas emissions in East Hampshire.
“We have had some fantastic input from the community groups, and our job now is to work through that information and decide a set of actions that we all agree will make the quickest and biggest impact on climate change.”
In July we pledged to be carbon neutral by 2035 and a carbon audit is being drawn up to reveal where the council can improve its environmental performance.
PeCAN and ACAN presented a report derived from government data which showed the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases in East Hampshire are transport, domestic energy use and farming.
Peter Moss, of Petersfield Climate Action Network, said: “We were delighted to be given the opportunity of presenting our report. Starting the meeting with this clarity allowed us to focus our discussions on things that would have a real impact.
“As community groups we really appreciated the level of engagement and look forward to translating the positive energy that was in the room into tangible actions that we can jointly take forward.”
The meeting discussed opportunities that could reduce East Hampshire’s carbon footprint such as improving walking and cycling infrastructure and whether planning policies could ensure new homes are built with more energy efficient heating systems rather than gas boilers.
Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Leader, said: “We can achieve so much if we work together. I love to push the envelope and I would love to achieve as much as we possibly can.
“If we work together we can follow up the radical ideas and we can go above and beyond.
“We might not achieve everything we want to but if we think big we can make a huge difference to the emissions we create in East Hampshire. We are absolutely up for that challenge.”