A report You Called a Climate Emergency – What’s Next was presented to the Full Council on July 27, 2022. In it its author Parish Councillor Peter Jones detailed why climate change should be taken seriously by the residents of Stansted and outlined a course the Parish Council could take in leading the way to carbon reduction.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO ACT NOW?
Landmark UN report from 2018 showed the urgency in cutting carbon emissions:
We only have a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. Even half a degree more will significantly worsen the risks of extreme weather events and biodiversity loss.
The government has committed to cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and be net-zero by 2050.
Net zero will require change of consumption habits (of energy, transport, food, products, etc)
UK is one of the world’s most nature depleted countries. Since 1970, there has been a 70% decline in species due to destruction of habitat and pollution.
Since the 1930s we have lost 97% of wildflower meadows.
We have lost 50% of all biodiversity.
Climate change events like rising temperatures and weather changes also contributes to biodiversity loss.
Light and chemical pollution have a devastating effect on wildlife.
With the decline of pollinators we face global food insecurity.
WHAT CAN THE PARISH COUNCIL DO?
Many Parish and Town Councils don’t believe that they have the influence or resources to make a change.
Report from New Local highlights importance of local action in the face of national and international inaction.
So…. Lead by example and bring the community together on the cause! Many small actions can contribute to great change!
CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNITY GROUP
A community group lead by residents, local business’ and organisations
Community grounded projects
Focus on climate change and biodiversity
Working independently, with the support of the Council
Engage and inspire the community
Appeal to join in August 2022 – Social media, website and the Link
MEASURE CARBON EMMISSIONS
Parish Council’s own carbon footprint:
- Requires an audit!
- Act on recommendations
- Measure staff and members footprint
- Motivate residents to measure theirs
- Communicate how to reduce it
- Community footprint:
- Communicate how the community can do better
REDUCING CARBON EMMISSIONS
Updating street lighting to LED
- Approx 250 PC owned street lights
Change/upgrade office operations:
- Deleting unnecessary emails and old files
- Reducing thank you emails
- Go paperless and recycle
- Switch to a green energy provider
- Avoid single use plastic
- Less commuting to office, car sharing, etc.
- Buy refurbished furniture and tech
- create a green check list
NDP working group: Highlighting the importance of taking action against climate change:
- renewable energy
- reduced car usage and speed limits
Lighting pollution: Consider what the Parish Council can:
Establish green corridors
- Tree planting
- Rewilding of POS and verges (requires collaboration with Essex Highways)
- Wildflower planting
Neighbourhood Development Plan:
- Highlight a green agenda
- Preservation and reestablishment of nature
Consider biodiversity in the grounds maintenance contracts:
- No toxic chemical use
- No mow May
- Pollinator friendly plants
POTENTIAL COSTS TO CONSIDER
Carbon footprint audit:
- Groundworks could undertake
- They have worked with Parish
- Councils before
- They quoted approx £5,000
Carbon literacy course:
- Groundworks could undertake
- 8-hour training course
- £165 per person
LED street lighting
- Updating approx 250 street lights
- Costs still to be determined (£40,000+)
- Potential annual energy savings of 70%
- Funded via EFI
- Potential costs savings on grass cutting and gardening
- Low/no establishment costs
- Best option: will establish native grasses and flowers
- Unknown costs
- Recurring costs of preparation of soil and seeding
Taking action is urgent so next step would be to consider the information and ideas given in this presentation and:
• Create a working group – who is interested?
• Create an action plan with long-term and short-term goals/projects
• Discuss and decide on funds to put towards climate change (next years budget)
• Make climate change a recurring agenda item
• Engage with the community and local Councils
• Share information from District, County and Government
• Dedicate a part of the PC website to climate change