BTN posed a question to the 28th February sitting of Basingstoke Council:
how the Council will deliver its commitments on climate change without funding for a full-time equivalent Climate Change Officer? The post was until recently held by two job-sharers, but one has left and not been replaced. Full text of our query is here.
Councillor Hayley Eachus, portfolio holder for the environment, responded saying that climate change was embedded in the roles of many council officers, and that on our specific point about recycling, the waste disposal contractor had been working with the Council to increase recycling rates. We used the right of reply to ask specifically about Manydown, to which she responded in the same vein, that it was embedded in the Council’s interactions with the contractor.
Kirklees Council at its meeting on 16th January passed a motion declaring a “Climate Emergency”. Shouldn’t every Council be doing the same?
BTN welcomes the announcement by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council of a new campaign to raise public awareness of air pollution https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/rte.aspx?id=298&task=View&itemid=8400. See our press release jointly with Basingstoke Clean Air Campaign http://basingstoketransition.org/press-release-in-response-to-councils-air-pollution-initiative-1-2-2019/.
The government is consulting on the management of “street trees”, presumably in the wake of the Sheffield scandal. Urban trees are beneficial absorbers of CO2 and air pollution, as well as welcome islands of shade in increasingly hot summers. The proposals include an obligation on local authorities to consult local residents before felling street trees and to report on street tree felling and planting, and help to create tree and woodland policy. They would also give more powers to prevent and punish illegal felling. The Woodland Trust generally welcomes the proposals but invites its supporters to respond to the consultation by the deadline of 28th February pointing out a number of problems. These include the very limited definition of a “street tree”, pointing out that conflict often arises over trees on the edge of town (plenty of those are under threat by Basingstoke Local Plan developments). The proposed restriction of the consultation to residents in the immediate vicinity of trees proposed to be felled ignores the feelings of the rest of the community, e.g. an entire housing estate. It thinks that greater deterrence to illegal felling is needed.
BTN encourages supporters to fill in the questionnaire at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/protecting-trees-and-woodlands/consultation/intro/ , perhaps following the Woodland Trust guidance, since some of the issues are complicated. I suggest keep mentioning “air pollution”, “biodiversity” and “climate change” in your answers so that DEFRA knows that you think these subjects are important.
I received a paper letter from James Brokenshire, Minster for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on energy efficiency in new housing – see here
The main message is – look out for a government consultation on this in 2019. I ask myself – will action on its conclusions be in time for Manydown? And will the final word, “affordable”, have unintended consequences?
Link to ministerial response received 13/11/2018 via Kit Malthouse MP.
The UK government has reacted to the IPCC 8th October report: BEIS minister of state Claire Perry has asked the Committee on Climate Change to produce a report by end March 2019 (see BEIS website) but unfortunately it covers only longer-term targets i.e. to 2050. It specifically says:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is calling for urgent action to keep global warming below 1.5 deg C.
From the press release: “…limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.”
And, a message to politicians and the rest of us, “This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history.”
“Practitioners” means us – what are WE doing to reduce our carbon emissions?
“Policymakers” includes Borough and County councillors, and the candidates for next May’s local elections. The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15 or www.ipcc.ch.
Innovation Centre, Norden House, Basing View RG21 4HG (4EB for SatNavs)
Everyone who is actively working against climate change in their community
in Hampshire is welcome – there is no formal membership.
We aim to share experiences and news, learn from successes and failures, and
work together where appropriate. We hope to see you – 9.30am for setup and
introductions; business 10-12.30, then bring and share lunch.
It is informal workshop-style, no speakers, with own picnic shared lunch
afterwards to network. The agenda is set by you, so send the topics asap you
want to discuss to HCAN@winacc.org.uk.
Suggested Agenda Item:
How does one go about formally requesting an Air Quality Management Plan of
Booking isn’t required but it is helpful to tell us if you plan to come so
we get the right number of chairs.
WinACC depends on gifts from supporters. Please help if you can – more here