East Hampshire District Council has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 as part of a new strategy to tackle the climate emergency.
The Climate and Environment Strategy 2020-2025 was approved by EHDC’s Cabinet last night (Thursday 9 July).
EHDC declared a climate emergency in July 2019. In February this year, residents and community groups from across the district came together at a Let’s Talk event at Penns Place that was instrumental in shaping the strategy.
Everyone who attended contributed ideas for how the council should tackle carbon emissions and protect our local natural environment.
Cllr Julie Butler, EHDC Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Welfare and Communities said: “We want to take an inclusive approach with this strategy, and work with our local residents, community groups and businesses for a sustainable future.
“Climate impacts affect everyone, which is why it’s so important to work in partnership, and to act now.
“Declaring a climate emergency was the first step, but this strategy will allow us to really drive change for a brighter future for the district and beyond.”
The two main objectives are to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050, in line with the government commitment, and to protect and enhance the local natural environment.
A priority for the council is to take the lead and reduce carbon emissions from its own operations, buildings and vehicles to zero. This includes services delivered on behalf of the council by partners such as leisure centres and refuse collection. Planning for the transition will be included in business plans.
The council will promote awareness of the climate crisis and engage with the community. From this year, 25 per cent of councillor grants will support climate and environment initiatives. Residents and community groups will be provided with ways to take on EHDC-owned parcels of land for the benefit of local biodiversity.
Climate will be a material consideration in granting planning permission.
A cross party team of councillors have pledged support to prioritise low-carbon outcomes and to secure external funding for low-carbon and sustainability initiatives.