Climate Change And The District Council

The District Council’s Review Committee is the one committee that’s chaired by a Lib Dem, namely June Lumley. However the majority of members are Conservatives.

They’ve just produced a report on global warming, and the implications for Rochford District.

Here’s the introduction:

3.1 Over the last few years the subject of Climate Change has come to the fore and received a lot of publicity and interest.

3.2 There is a growing body of scientific evidence that the world?s climate is changing as a result of the increased level of greenhouse gases which can be linked to mans activities. This increase will impact directly on the Rochford District in that our weather patterns will change leading to warmer and wetter conditions.

3.3 Some key facts and figures are:-
? At 380 parts per million (ppm), today?s atmospheric carbon dioxide level is higher than at any time in at least the past 420,000 years.
? Only increased greenhouse gas emissions can explain the upward trend in temperature over the past 150 years.
? In less than 200 years, human activity has increased the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases by some 50%.
? It is already too late to stop any further atmospheric warming, due to the inertia of the climate system; even if greenhouse gas emissions were reduced to pre-industrial levels within the next 100 years, average temperatures would not stabilise for several centuries, sea levels would continue to rise due to thermal expansion and melting ice for several millennia.
? The average proportion of the global population harmed by climate-related disasters each year has nearly doubled since 1975, reaching nearly 4% or 255 million people in 2001. The World Health Organisation estimate, based on current trends, that between 6%-8% of population will be directly affected by 2030.

3.4 The Government has signed up to the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement on climate change. This commits the United Kingdom to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 12.5% from the 1990 level by 2012. In the longer term, the Government has accepted that far more significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions will be required, and the need to cut emissions by at least 60% by the middle of this century is now required.

3.5 The Climate Change & Sustainable Energy Act 2006 places a duty on the Secretary of State to assist Local Authorities in promoting sustainable communities and to invite Local Authorities to make proposals in that regard. ….

Here’s the recommendations:

Recommendation No 1 It is recommended to the Executive Board that the Council develops a Sustainable Energy (Climate Change) Strategy by September 2008, in order that resource implications can be considered by the Council as part of the 2009/10 budget process.

Recommendation No 2 It is recommended to the Executive Board that detailed action plans are developed to ensure that the Sustainable Energy strategy is delivered. If practicable, this should also be developed by September 2008, in order that resource implications can be considered by the Council as part of the 2009/10 budget process.

Recommendation No 3 It is recommended to the Executive Board that the Council becomes a signatory to the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change, at the earliest opportunity (see Appendix B).

Recommendation No 4 The planning system helps define local authorities? place shaping role and is centred on sustainable development. As such, it offers one of the largest opportunities for local authorities to influence energy use and hence carbon dioxide emissions arising from new developments. National planning policy in England and Wales has an increasing focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation and this has a direct influence on expectations for local planning policy and practice. Officers took the opportunity to include specific sustainability targets, developed as a result of this review, in the ?Vision to Reality? report that was considered by Council 19 February 2008. The Council will be formally reviewing its Corporate Plan in June and needs to address issues such as:-
? The new legislation shortly to be introduced that will impose carbon reduction targets on local authorities;
? The emerging LAA 2 identifies climate change as a regional priority;
? The new statutory targets for recycling from 2010 onwards. It is recommended to the Executive Board that the following specific targets are established in the Corporate Plan:-?Over the next five years, we will ………. Work on reducing the Council?s own carbon dioxide emissions by 30% (based upon 2005 baseline). Achieve a recycling target of 50% within the 5-year period. Through the Council?s Local Development Framework, ensure that the future deveopment of the District up to 2021 is panned and carried out in a sustainable fashion. By 2017 ………. Implement an Adaptng to Cmate Change Acton Pan for acton, monitoring and revew. Work on reducing the Council?s own carbon dioxide emissions by 60% Secure a recclin rate of 60% per ear?

Recommendation No 5 Effective action will include the development of appropriate partnerships. These can increase the resources available for initiatives, provide expertise and offer routes to reach and persuade the right people to take action. A large proportion of the public considers climate change to be an important issue and they are likely to respond well to further engagement. There may be opportunities to develop a community wide policy as part of the LAA. It is recommended to the Executive Board that the Council engages with LAA partners to reduce the carbon footprint of smaller domestic, business and public sector activities.

Recommendation No 6
Engagement with the business sector was less successful, but needs to be addressed. For example, the new EU and Government targets on waste now focus on municipal as opposed to just household waste. It is recommended to the Executive Board that further action be taken to encourage recycling in respect of the business sector.

Recommendation No 7 The Carbon Trust have undertaken a survey of the main Council offices and identified significant savings that could be made subject to certain actions being implemented at a small cost to the Authority. It is recommended to the Executive Board that officers explore the implementation of the action plan produced by the Carbon Trust.

  • Hi Chris

    3.3. bullet 4 says “It is already too late to stop any further atmospheric warming”

    That’s a bit TOO apocalyptic! It is too late to stop SOME further warming i.e. things will get worse over the next 40 years. But decisions we take now will influence what happens in the years after that! There’s no time lose: if the polar ice caps melt, all of Essex (except the Saffron Walden area) will disappear.

    Stephen

  • Stephen is right. Substantial further warming of the overall atmospheric system WILL occur, due to the timelag inertia of these systems. (Further shifts in the water courses are also unavoidable, and likely to be of considerable magnitude and effect.)
    The key question for LAs (even at District level) is that of speedy response and thoughtful planning for sustainability and ADAPTATION. I have said before on this website that I will work actively for any political voice that articulates this joined-up kind of planning and thinking as priority #1. It really is not possible to treat this as ‘just another matter for policy’ – it has to inform and drive many of the others…
    …oh! and this is before we consider the economic, social, transport and work dislocations which will come as a result of passing the point of Peak Oil flow availablity. All planning should have this factored in, also, lest much of what we plan for in our present naivity looks more than foolish in 15 to 20 years’ time.

    Not wanting to be a doom-monger. I think this will actually be a healthy change in our living, overall. However, it will not be without considerable shock and pain, and the job of those who govern and administer our public life is to be wise and to plan for the best course and the common good.