Council’s ‘radical’ motion – what did it commit us to?

In February Hastings Borough Council passed a motion declaring a ‘climate emergency’.

It has been described as more radical than similar motions passed by other councils so what did the council commit to?

We thought you might like to read what your council actually approved and you can assess whether you think it’s achieving it’s goals. So here it is, in full, the motion that was passed unanimously by HBC’s 32 councillors.

“On October 8th 2018 the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) warned that ‘rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society’ will be required in order to limit global temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial level and that we have only 12 years in which we can realistically accomplish this.

Even half a degree above that will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, mass extinctions of animal species, and extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

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Hastings Borough Council was one of the first councils to pass a ‘climate emergency’ motion and the motion it passed was one of the most radical according to Councillor Maya Evans.

Within the current financial and regulatory framework, addressing this is primarily a matter for governments – local authorities have limited influence over the development of the local economy, transport, and human behaviour. Councils need significantly increased powers to make real change locally, and significantly greater intervention by central government to reduce climate change and reduce dependency on fossil carbon.

Nevertheless, there are actions the council can take, to limit our own use of fossil carbon and encourage others to do the same, although this is limited by available resources and the scale of government cuts the council is having to cope with. Hastings Council takes this matter so seriously that we’re committed to taking a lead on this and set a target for Hastings to become carbon neutral.

To this end, we will:

  • Establish an ongoing Climate Change working group (as a panel of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee), which will scrutinise the council’s policies and actions to make sure they take into account the climate change impact of everything we do;
  • Develop a procurement policy that reduces our carbon emissions, procuring locally where possible, prioritising goods and services that are less dependent on fossil carbon, and prioritising companies who are taking steps to reduce their impact on climate change;
  • Use whatever powers and influence we have, taking advantage of any new powers as they are made available to us by central government, to aim to make Hastings carbon neutral by 2030 aiming for the borough to become energy self-sufficient through local sustainable energy generation and call on East Sussex County Council to adopt a parallel commitment for Hastings;
  • Press ahead with a programme of sustainable energy generation on council-owned and other land and buildings, investigating every viable council-owned site, as well as other sites, aiming towards supplying 30 per cent of the town’s electricity by 2030;
  • Use the current review of the Local Plan to introduce policy requirements that new buildings should meet the most rigorous possible energy efficiency standards (for example, the ‘Passivhaus’ standards), include electric vehicle charging points in new housing and commercial developments, minimise the impacts of climate change (for example, by making sure contribution to flooding is minimised) and include solar arrays or other sustainable energy generation wherever possible;
  • Ensure council land is maintained in a way that maximises species diversity and mitigates species extinction;
  • Encourage existing supermarkets to install EV charging points, lobby ESCC to take up existing government grants to install on-street EV charging points, and press for a properly co-ordinated national EV charging network;
  • Include an evaluation of climate change implications in all reports to council committees;
  • Build on our existing single use plastic policy by not only eliminating single use plastics in council buildings, but also at festivals and events held on council land. We will also strongly encourage local businesses to cut back on their use of SUPs;
  • Use s.106 funding and planning conditions (and any available future powers) to continue the development of an off-road walking and cycling network as specified in the council’s Local Plan;
  • Appoint a member-level ‘Climate Change Champion’ to oversee the implementation of the above commitments and monitor the progress of the council’s progress towards doing all it can to make Hastings a carbon-neutral town;
  • Work with voluntary, statutory and community organisations in the borough wherever we can to achieve the above commitments;
  • Maximise the resources the council dedicates to combatting climate change when national government restores council finding to a sustainable level.”

The ‘climate change champion’ was appointed in May, her name is Maya Evans, she represents Hollington and is officially HBC’s lead member for Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development. Maya spoke to Hastings In Focus about the challenges we face in ‘going green’. Listen to her interview here…

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