Zero-Carbon Eastleigh Council for 2012
Eastleigh Borough council have set an ambitious target for a Zero-Carbon Eastleigh Council by 2012 in order to tackle Climate Change. Climate change predictions are for hotter, drier summers with the possibility that Eastleigh could hit 40 degrees Centigrade by the middle of the century.
In setting the target the Eastleigh Borough Council Leader Cllr Keith House commented :-
- "While that may conjure up pleasant images of an outdoor lifestyle and better quality of life, the higher temperatures and reduced cloud cover will bring an increased risk of skin cancer, cataracts and heat and air quality related illnesses. Lack of rainfall during the summer will also lead to drought, possibly spanning more than 1 year, and water shortages."
- "The borough's winters in the 2050s will be warmer, wetter and stormier, with unpredictable winds and sudden heavy bouts of rain. Potential higher wind speeds could lead to damage to buildings and infrastructure such as power lines. More frequent extreme winter rainfall will lead to flash flooding affecting the rivers, drainage and sewerage systems with a greater risk of flooding to our homes and areas we live in."
Climate Change is simply not an issue that any local authority can ignore, because it is simply the biggest issue facing the country today and the answer to it is with both international cooperation and individual action.
The exact challenge for the council is to be carbon neutral in their own activities by 2012 :-
- Zero Carbon Eastleigh - means reducing our carbon footprint to zero for the council's key carbon dioxide generating business activities, and compensating for residual emissions by directly or indirectly investing in local projects that reduce or prevent the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
This is of course an area where the council are already innovative, and been rewarded as the top South East Council on renewal energy projects. This is along side the council leading work on waste minimisation and recycling, as well as the work on renewable energy puts Liberal Democrat run Eastleigh Borough Council at the leading edge of English local authorities.
However with the serious nature of Climate Change this is not enough and the council has to do more and to give a clear and unequivocal lead to the community of Eastleigh. To achieve the goal the council will have to think carefully and act in all areas of energy consumption - that will include more active travel planning, and challenging procurement where goods and services are not purchased locally. In addition to this there are three actions that the council plans to do to tackle climate change :-
- 1 - Local carbon compensation for our local community - To help deliver on that pledge the council aims to establish a unique locally based Carbon Compensation Fund into which the council will make payments that truly represent the social and environmental costs of carbon dioxide, far in excess of that offered by Carbon off-setting organisations. This fund will invest in energy efficiency, sustainable energy and renewable energy technology.
- 2 - changed approach to planning - The Government has launched draft planning policies, with a Climate Change Planning Policy Statement and construction code. The Government's aim is for all residential development to be zero carbon by 2016. The council aim will be to use locally based supplementary planning documents and development briefs to secure this pledge from 2009 on major sites and all sites from 2012 or sooner. All new council development, for projects launched from this spring, will be carbon neutral.
- 3 - encourage community change - in some areas that will be by influencing behaviour and in others it will be through grants and financial incentives to change, for example in improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings in both the private and public sectors.
Commenting on these proposals local Eastleigh Borough Councillor David Goodall said :-
"These proposals are just the sort of idea that every council should be developing and I fully support them"