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Please help to call on Basingstoke Council to declare an ecological emergency!

There’s a motion to declare an ecological emergency being submitted to the next council meeting on 14th October – please write or email your local councillor as soon as possible urging them to support the motion!

This is urgently needed because our landscape and bio-diversity is under huge threat, not just from the changing climate but from huge unchecked developments. The State of Nature Report 2019 highlighted the critical decline in biodiversity in the UK. 15% of UK species are classified as threatened with extinction and 2% are already extinct. We need to protect the natural environment in which we live and it is vital our Council considers the impact on our environment in all its decisions.

Our natural world is essential for the provision of food (with soil and pollinators having a vital role), clean water, fresh air, medicines, and protection from extreme weather, as well as being our source of energy and raw materials. We all derive a sense of wellbeing from a healthy natural environment.

Thanks to strong lobbying from BTN we have persuaded a cross party group of local councillors to submit a ecological emergency motion to the next council meeting on 14th October. But its acceptance is by no means guaranteed. Many local councillors will vote against the motion unless we, the voters, tell them otherwise.

We need your help – please write or email your local councillor as soon as possible urging them to support the motion! Even better attend the meeting and make your views known!

This is the text of the motion:

Motion to Declare an Ecological Emergency

Council Notes:

1. The recent Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity confirms that our societies and economies are embedded within nature and are not external to it.

2. Humanity and the economy depend on the services that nature provides. For example, the natural world is essential for the provision of food (with soil and pollinators having a vital role), clean water, fresh air, medicines, and protection from extreme weather, as well as being our source of energy and raw materials. People also derive a sense of wellbeing from a healthy natural environment.

3. Yet the State of Nature 2019 highlighted the critical decline in biodiversity in the UK. 15% of UK species are classified as threatened with extinction and 2% are already extinct.

4. The Environment Bill will require the introduction of a Local Nature Recovery Strategy and Nature Recovery Networks as an aid to planning.

5. Councils of all colours are already declaring an ecological or biodiversity emergency or acting accordingly. These include: Bath & North East Somerset; Bournemouth; Brent; Brighton & Hove; Cambridgeshire; Ealing; Winchester; and Windsor & Maidenhead.

REFERNCES

The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review –  Headline Messages, Abridged Version, Full Report & Government Response
State of Nature 2019 – https://nbn.org.uk/stateofnature2019/
https://nbn.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/State-of-Nature-2019-UK-full-report.pdf

Council resolves to:

1. Declare an Ecological Emergency.

2. Maximise co-benefits from addressing Climate and Ecological Emergencies.

3. Add ecological implications alongside those for climate and sustainability in Committee and Council reports, and embed ecological initiatives within all council work areas, including COVID recovery projects and programmes.

4. Work with local communities, county, regional and national partners to promote landscape and habitat protection, restoration, expansion and connectivity, while devolving greater responsibility to genuinely-empowered community groups.

5. Work with stakeholders to provide everyone, and especially children, with opportunities for learning about and reconnecting with nature.

6. Ensure the Ecological (and Climate) Emergencies are strategic priorities for land use planning, planning policies and design guides, and protecting areas for habitat restoration and biodiversity gain. Seek to incorporate biodiversity, nature recovery networks, green and blue infrastructure and ecosystems services into the Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plans and other initiatives.

7. Create a register of natural assets and estimate the ecosystem services derived from those assets.

8. Provide funding to allow for the creation of an Ecological Emergency action plan and annual progress report, which is then reported and scrutinised by Full Council and any relevant Committees.

Brookvale Green Week

Basingstoke Green Week is something BTN has been helping to organise for the last 10 years.

Things were a little different this year, but despite social restrictions Green Week went ahead with events across the borough.

One event was the Brookvale Sustaibability Day – BTN members hosted workshops on issues as diverse as Green Infrastruture, rewilding and bio-diversity, how to organise locally and making your home net-zero.

To see copies of the slides used click on the links below.

Making Your Home Net Zero

Green Infrastructure and Re-wilding

Local Organisation

BTN Annual General Meeting, 7th September 2021

BTN will hold its AGM at 7.00 pm on Tuesday 7th September 2021, by Zoom.  The AGM will be followed by our regular business meeting.  The agenda and report are at: AGM2021agendaMB.  Financial statements for 2019 to 2021: Annual Accounts 2020-2021 Annual Accounts 2019-2020

We are looking for volunteers to stand for election for the following roles:

Chair

Vice-chair

Secretary

Please contact the secretary if you are interested.

BTN supports local Transition/Sustainability groups in the Borough

If your group would like support from BTN, please ask the secretary.

From Boringstoke to Ecostoke! BTN launches standard for new homes in the Borough

BTN today (Wednesday 16th June 2021) released its proposal for a new standard for energy efficiency and sustainability of the planned developments in the Borough, to coincide with this evening’s meeting of the Borough Council’s Manydown Overview Committee.  Our standard is on this page: 

BTN Manydown Standard

and our press release is here: Press Release

BTN Hustings 21st April for Borough Council elections 6th May 2021

Watch the hustings (here or on YouTube) and find our how the candidates answered the questions put to them.


The next three years are the most critical 3 years in modern times. The Climate Emergency, post-COVID, is the key election issue.

The first council elections for 2 years are upon us. And, on May 6th, we will choose who will be in power for the next 3 years. These will be the three most important years in responding to the climate emergency. This is our last chance to elect people who can respond. Making changes in 2024 will be too late.

We need to be carbon neutral by 2030. And that means the decisions our Council make in the next 3 years will determine if the response is adequate.

Our two local councils – Basingstoke and Deane and Hampshire County Council – make key decisions on things like:

  • How many, and how energy efficient, our new homes and buildings will be.
  • Our transport policy and whether we tackle the immense environmental damage our transport system is doing to our air quality.
  • How we effectively manage waste and recycling.
  • How much we invest in renewable technology.
  • Whether we lead, or lag, in creating the green jobs of the future.
  • How we are going to protect and nurture our land and water resources.

The people we elect on May 6th will determine whether Basingstoke and Deane tackles the climate emergency or falls victim to it.

To help us all decide on who should be making these decisions, and who we should vote for, Basingstoke Transition Network (BTN) has invited all of the major party groupings standing locally in these elections to provide a representative to participate in an online question and answer session.

Basingstoke Transition Network

At Basingstoke Transition Network (BTN) we believe we can work together to find ways to reduce our carbon emissions and develop sustainable lifestyles while building a resilient and flourishing local community. We also wish to protect the natural environment and promote improved bio-diversity and nature conservation within the borough. 

BTN is part of the Transition Network. Transition is a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world.

  • Find out more information about BTN in the About Us section.
  • Learn more about the Network on the Transition Network page.
  • Join us at our monthly meetings via Zoom at 7pm on the first Tuesday of each month.

2020 Air Pollution report from Borough Council

The Council issued its statutory report on air pollution for 2020 (actually covers 2019 and is dated June 2020)  which is accessible from its page:

https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/air-quality

Basingstoke Clean Air Campaign has reviewed it and notes the following points:

  • 12 sites commenced monitoring air quality in 2017 (including in Bramley and Chineham but mostly on busy roads in the town) of which two have now ceased and 10 sites started being monitored in 2019.
  • March 2018 BDBC received Ministerial Direction to undertake targeted feasibility study into NO2 compliance between A339/A33 and Black Dam roundabouts.
  • BDBC installed two new diffusion tubes at sites 57 and 58 beside the A339 in 2018
  • Levels of NO2 found to be significantly lower than expected and met EU standard on public footpath but marginally exceeded on carriageway
  • Despite these results, DEFRA required further work to explore ways of reducing vehicle emissions here.
  • This further work indicated that reducing speed limit from 70mph to 50mph may achieve desired NO2 reductions.
  • Oct 2018 further Ministerial Direction issued to both BDBC and HCC.
  • Council submitted evidence to DEFRA that air quality did not breach exposure levels and no need for speed limit to be lowered.
  • Government Direction was withdrawn in July 2019.
  • There is no Air Quality Action Plan or Air Quality Strategy though BDBC ‘has taken forward several initiatives in 2019 to pursue improving local air quality’ (Clean Air BDBC campaign, stickers, work with local schools on vehicle idling, electric vehicle charging hub, key themes in local plan, consultation on transport strategy);
  • Attitude for the future is ‘we don’t need any Air Quality Management Areas as annual NO2 objectives are not being exceeded anywhere, we will carry on monitoring and do something if we find a problem. It’s up to individuals to minimise their use of cars, bonfires, coal and wood burning stoves’.

With an all-out election coming in May we encourage readers to ask the candidates about their plans to reduce air pollution in the Borough.  In particular, we should like to know how “business as usual” after the pandemic can be restored while keeping whatever air quality benefits the lockdowns have had (which will be evident in the “2021” report).

Cars trying to join Basingstoke bypass on a winter morning, January 2018.

 

Hampshire 2050 Partnership

https://www.hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/visionforhampshire2050

The Hampshire 2050 Commission of Inquiry reported in 2019, and more recently, on 21st July 2020, held a meeting on “Creating a Sustainable Hampshire”, the report of which is here:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/visionforhampshire2050/hampshire-2050-partnership/21-july-2020

This (virtual) meeting looked at five key areas:

  1. Rebuilding a more sustainable economy
  2. Cutting air pollution and promoting active travel
  3. Creating greener, digitally connected homes
  4. Supporting the vulnerable
  5. Promoting the natural environment

The report is worth reading and drawing to the attention of Borough and local/parish councillors, especially on matters of planning.  It identified ten priority projects (comments in italics are mine):

1.Development of a Green Homes retrofit programme potentially linked to the government’s Green Homes Grant initiative and involving corporate partners. (Make sure new homes don’t need the retrofit)

2.Building a digital inclusivity strategy helping to cut carbon emissions and support vulnerable groups.

3.Further boosting low carbon community energy initiatives to increase awareness and up-take. (This might require reversal of planning presumptions against onshore wind.)

4.Exploring what a ’15-minute community’ looks like in reality potentially testing the concept in Winchester and/or Portsmouth.

5.Boosting the electrification of transport covering commercial as well as public sectors. (Hampshire CC is at present considering a transport plan including mass rapid transit for Basingstoke)

6.Developing a pioneering airport and port initiative showcasing a new way of operating that cuts carbon.

7.Further boosting tree-planting and access to nature for all sections of society. (Strategic thinking on green infrastructure is necessary.)

8.Building a sustainable food strategy for the county seeking to reduce food waste, encourage healthy eating and reduce environmental impact. (This might feed through into domestic waste disposal policy in Basingstoke.)

9.Explore the feasibility of creating a county-wide carbon literacy programme boosting awareness and inspiring people to reduce carbon emissions.

10.Further evolve a circular economy strategy for the county starting with the highest impact areas.

 

One of the overarching principles is that: “There was agreement that increased efforts should be made to build a wider coalition of collaborators”, including local and community initiatives.

homegrown marrowfat peas – sustainable food strategy