Wealden Council declares a climate emergency

18th July 2019

At a meeting on Wednesday July 17, Wealden District Council’s cabinet resolved to recommend the full council declare a ‘climate emergency’ in light of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This will be discussed by councillors when they meet for a full council meeting next Wednesday, July 24.

Action already taken by the council, to combat climate change, include:

  • The offices on the Vicarage Lane site in Hailsham have a passive ventilation system, large solar photovoltaic array, air source heat pump, increased insulation and energy efficiency standards, solar shading, cycle storage, and a car-share scheme with dedicated car-share bays.
  • The exploration of low carbon and renewable energy potential investment opportunities, including large-scale solar, storage and heat networks. The redevelopment of Vicarage Field Shopping Centre in Hailsham has been identified as an opportunity for the creation of an ‘exemplar project’ with, for example, the incorporation of co-located technologies such as a heat network, solar PC, battery storage, and EV charging.

However wider action is needed if the council is to succeed in dramatically reducing emissions within the district. This will require a significant shift in behaviour as well as policy changes, including potential amendments to the Local Plan and the delivery of domestic energy efficiency advice schemes across all housing tenures to help improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and reduce fuel poverty.

The declaration of a Climate Emergency could include commitments such as:

  • Work towards net-zero CO2 by 2050 for both the council and Wealden district area, and pursue efforts to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions even earlier
  • Work with Government departments to ensure necessary policies (such as tighter building regulations), powers and funding are put in place to achieve a net-zero CO2 target
  • Request that the Economic and Waste Cabinet Advisory Group investigate opportunities available and report back to Cabinet.
  • Develop a clear action plan setting out a costed suite of practical actions demonstrating the council’s initial phase of delivery towards net-zero CO2 emissions which define its leadership role in promoting community-wide action
  • Build on work to identify opportunities for low carbon and renewable energy sources and storage, and the acceleration of electric vehicles take-up within the district
  • Work with, influence, and inspire partners across the county and region via existing forums to deliver this goal through all relevant strategies and plans
  • Implement a plan-led approach to development that minimises and mitigates against emissions from new development
  • Investigate all potential sources of funding to support these commitments.

The full council report can be found here: http://council.wealden.gov.uk/documents/ [PDF]