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Time to declare a Climate Emergency in Hastings

In the light of the recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5o C, cities and towns across the country are declaring a climate emergency. I think it is time that Hastings did as well. Julia Hilton from Hastings Green Party writes – and explains at the end of this article what you can do to support a declaration.

A few weeks ago I met with two Labour councilors, Maya Evans and Heather Bishop to put to them the idea of a joint Green/Labour motion at the next full council meeting declaring a Climate Emergency. This is now definitely going ahead in February, although not as a joint motion as council protocol means I would not be able to speak at a full council meeting. While we don’t know what the exact wording will be, as this has to be agreed by the Labour group, I thought it was worth laying out some of the things that the local council could commit to.

Limiting Global Warming to 1.5oC may still be possible with ambitious action from national, regional and local authorities, civil society, the private sector, and local communities.

Bold climate action can deliver new green jobs and economic benefits, preserve wildlife and habitats, and improve life for people worldwide.

We support the council in the urgent need to reduce the town’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, and to put this goal at the forefront of all decision-making from now on. Locally, moving to a zero carbon town would mean for example moving fast towards locally owned and produced renewable energy with any surplus earned from electricity generation going towards reducing fuel poverty and insulating our draughty housing stock.

To achieve this goal we see the following as essential commitments:

The people of Hastings need to convene a citizens’ assembly to generate local ideas for combating climate breakdown and, to devise a path to achieving community-wide carbon-neutrality by 2030. We hope the council will take the lead in bringing this about.

Ensuring the revision of the Local Plan starting in 2019 includes a commitment to the internationally recognised Passivhaus Zero Carbon standards on all houses built on council owned land. This would reduce carbon emissions, save energy and keep money that would go to energy companies circulating in our local economy instead.

The Local Plan should commit to the principles outlined in the Wildlife Trust’s Nature Recovery Network that puts space for nature at the heart of our planning systems in order to bring nature into the places where most people live their daily lives. Reducing car use and promoting walking, cycling and sustainable transport should be at the centre of future plans for the town.

Work with local community energy providers to cover the town’s roofs with solar panels, combined in a smart grid that could provide cheaper energy for all local people.

Within six months, update the council’s 2010 Environmental strategy to reflect the climate emergency with measurable goals including carbon footprinting of all council activities.

Establish a permanent Carbon Scrutiny Committee of members, with the remit to recommend actions and challenge targets across the council’s activities.

Commit to a council carbon budget each year alongside the annual budget. Alongside this, develop a town-wide approach to setting a carbon budget.

Central government is utterly abdicating its responsibility to urgently address climate change. It’s up to us now to do the right thing for the future in this area.

If you agree with these ideas then please sign our open letter, which you can find here.

You can also ask a question at the next full council meeting on 19 December at 6pm related to what you think the council could be doing now in helping Hastings move towards a net zero carbon economy. Email your question to CBarkshire-Jones@hastings.gov.uk by 12 December. Your answer will be read out at the council meeting. You will also have a chance to ask a related follow up question.

Posted 10:45 Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018 In: Campaigns

3 Comments

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Mr Hippolyte Grigg

    On a positive note – long live the time when Hastings will benefit from the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm.

    Comment by Mr Hippolyte Grigg — Thursday, Dec 20, 2018 @ 12:59

  2. Mr Hippolyte Grigg

    Even if I wanted to contibute to this December 12 has well passed and December 19 is two day’s away and hardly time to get anythingin to the council by then or even to attend. No? Today’s date is 17th December.

    Comment by Mr Hippolyte Grigg — Monday, Dec 17, 2018 @ 09:41

  3. Julia Hilton

    If you are going to ask a question at the next full council meeting it would be great if you can attend in person as that then gives you a chance to ask a follow up question. These are the ones where you are more likely to get new information.

    Comment by Julia Hilton — Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018 @ 20:08

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