Release date: 5 April 2019
A pledge to work towards making West Sussex County Council carbon neutral and the prioritisation of a campaign to encourage residents and businesses to do more to help tackle climate change were just two of the environmental commitments made at a meeting in Chichester today (Friday 5 April).
During a debate at Full Council, West Sussex County Council members heard about the progress already being made in the county to adapt to our changing climate as well as updates on a range of initiatives for the future.
A ‘notice of motion’ was agreed which said that it was imperative that all countries reduce their carbon emissions as soon as possible and that it is important that the West Sussex County Council commits to carbon neutrality as quickly as possible.
Deborah Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The County Council has already committed to halve its carbon footprint by 2022 compared to a decade earlier. Last year we achieved a 17 per cent reduction in our carbon emissions - a 45 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from the original baseline set in 2011/12.
“To achieve this saving we have improved our building management systems, improved insulation and upgraded lighting in our buildings and in street lights across the county. We have invested in renewable energy and now have solar installations on a high number of our buildings and schools.”
Members heard that counties like West Sussex have high potential to be leaders in the field of reducing carbon emissions. As well as reducing its reliance on energy generally, opportunities include the generation of clean, green energy locally and the promotion of the benefits to local organisations and residents.
Deborah continued: “I am really proud that we are leading by example in this area, by improving the efficiency of our buildings and investing in energy projects. Now we want to do as much as we can to highlight the ways in which residents, businesses, staff and members can contribute towards combating climate change. If everyone works together it can really make a big difference.”
Members were invited to make personal pledges to:
• Save water and energy
• Make low carbon journeys
• Shop local
• Fight against food waste
• Pass on plastic
A campaign aimed at residents and businesses will be planned for later this year.
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Over the last 15 years West Sussex County Council has been reducing its carbon footprint, demonstrating a positive commitment to responding to the global climate change challenge. We have done this in many ways and some of our aspirations have been incorporated in our West Sussex Plan. It is universally acknowledged that we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and the County Council is playing an important part with a planned £46.2m investment in low carbon energy projects over the next four years.”
“As a Council we are fully committed to ensuring that we continue to play a role in dealing with climate change, but we really do need everyone young, old and not so old and all businesses to come together and do their bit to become more sustainable and make a real difference for everyone’s future.”