Chichester Community Conference - COP26 one month on.
Gillian brought together expert panellists to discuss outcomes from COP26 and the challenges we face moving forward internationally, nationally, and locally.
The panel event was held on Thursday 16th December - all those present were able to contribute to the discussion using a chat function.
Gillian Keegan MP, Member of Parliament for Chichester
Richard Craven, Director & Harbour Master, Chichester Harbour Conservancy
Cllr Penny Plant, Cabinet Member for Environment, Chichester District Council
Steve Read, Director of Environment and Public Protection, West Sussex County Council
Abigail Dombey, Chair, Hydrogen Sussex
Jack Thompson, Conservation Officer, RSPB
Chair: Lawrence Abel - Office of Gillian Keegan
WSCC: Have your say on EV charging points - where should they go? - CLICK HERE
Unaddressed Qs from the chat
Why are you carrying on deforestation with mammoth projects like HS2?
A green corridor will be created alongside the railway, this will involve the planting of seven million new trees and shrubs, including over 40 native species, along the Phase One route from London to the West Midlands. A further, £70 million funding package has been made available to enhance community facilities, improve access to the countryside, and help improve road and cycle safety in towns and villages along the HS2 Phase One route.
As part of its ambition to be one of the most environmentally responsible infrastructure projects ever delivered, HS2 Ltd. has announced that it will aim to go even further during Phase 2 by delivering a net gain in biodiversity along the route. Phase 2 is an opportunity for innovative biodiversity projects to be realised under a net gain approach, with the benefit of a considerable timeframe in which to develop stakeholder relations, commission research and gather evidence. I look forward to further details in due course.
On ancient woodland, in particular, there are approximately 52,000 ancient woodland sites across England, and of these, 43 will be affected by Phases One and 2a of HS2. It is worth noting that more than 80 per cent of the total area of these 43 sites will be untouched by HS2 and remain intact.
HS2 is using a combination of approaches to compensate for the ancient woodlands lost during construction. This includes translocation of soil to other woodlands to improve their biodiversity, planting new woodland and restoring existing ancient woodland.
The HS2 Woodland Fund – overseen by the Forestry Commission – funds projects to support the creation, restoration and enhancement of woodland on private land or in partnership with multiple landowners. The Government has committed £7 million to establishing this Fund, and that the first £1.6 million for Phase One has already been allocated to supporting approximately 115 hectares of new native woodland creation, and the restoration of around 160 hectares of of plantations within ancient woodland sites.
Why have you just reduced the grants for electric cars and the number of electric cars that the grants cover?
In 2020, the Government announced a further £582 million to continue the plug-in grants until at least 2022-23, with more money allocated at the 2021 Spending Review in October.
The Government also recently updated the grant scheme for electric cars, vans and trucks, to target less expensive models and reflect a greater range of affordable vehicles available. The Government will provide grants of up to £1,500 for electric vehicles on cars priced under £32,000. This will help to focus the grants, which are funded by the taxpayer, on the areas where they will have the most impact and where the market still needs government support.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles are being prioritised, with a higher grant of £2,500 for vehicles priced under £35,000. Small vans will also receive £2,500, and large vans £5,000, with a per financial year limit of 1,000 grants per business to ensure that funding is spread fairly. There will be no changes for small or large trucks, which receive £16,000 and £25,000 respectively.
Motorcycles priced up to £10,000 will receive £500 and mopeds will get £150. These changes will allow the scheme’s funding to go further, helping more people and businesses to switch to an electric vehicle.
What will we do with all the batteries when they reach the end of their useful life.
On mining of raw materials for EV batteries, the Government is taking action to address these concerns. For example, the £274 million Faraday Battery Challenge, which is supporting the research and development of battery technology, is also looking into how we can generate a more circular economy, for example by reducing the amount of cobalt used in EV batteries and by localising more battery supply here in the UK.
In addition, the Faraday Institution has put £10 million towards a project exploring the reuse and recycling of lithium-ion batteries. This research project is seeking to develop the technological, economic and legal infrastructure to enable close to 100 per cent of the materials in lithium-ion batteries to be reused or recycled at the end of their first life.
Furthermore, via the Faraday Institution, the UK participates in the World Economic Forum's Global Battery Alliance, an initiative which aims to accelerate action towards a socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and innovative battery value chain.
.... charge point standardisation - how do we start that debate?.....
Following a consultation, the Government intends to legislate to mandate that new private chargepoints must be smart, and that smart chargepoints must meet device-level requirements, including for cyber security, interoperability and grid stability. Phase two of the Government's approach will follow in due course.
The smart charging industry remains at an early, albeit rapidly developing stage. Ministers have committed to finding a regulatory approach which safeguards consumers and the energy system, while also providing space and freedom for innovation as the market continues to grow.
Then you need to discuss animal agriculture, which was barely even discussed by the UK govt or COP26
While numerous factors have contributed to climate change, the greenhouse gas methane remains a significant contributor. A main source of methane is agriculture through livestock farming. The Government is committed to finding sustainable solutions to reduce methane emissions.
The UK has already reduced methane emissions by 60 per cent compared to 1990 levels. At COP26, the UK was one of the first signatories to the Global Methane Pledge, a commitment to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030, against 2020 levels. More than 100 countries, which are responsible for just under half of all methane emissions, joined the pledge.
Furthermore, there's significant innovation in livestock feeds is resulting in new technologies to reduce methane emissions. The Government has commissioned work to evaluate suitability and mitigation effects of methane-inhibiting livestock feed supplements in the UK.
Hydrogen is not the fuel for aviation now. It's at least 15 years away.
The UK Government has backed a project that plans for a new liquid hydrogen plane. Passengers could one day fly anywhere in the world with no carbon emissions as 8 companies secure the go-ahead for their sustainable aviation fuel developments from the government’s separate £15 million Green Fuel, Green Skies competition
Officials and industry leaders discussed progress towards achieving zero carbon emission flight at the fourth meeting of the Jet Zero Council - Find out more here
Rampian2 is hugely controversial - the damage it will do to wildlife and the environment is arguably much greater than any benefit
Answer pending from Rampion
I understand that Rampian 2 will not be connected to the main wind power grid. Is this correct?
Answer pending from Rampion
Is it true that offshore wind has a life of 25 years and it takes 23 years to recoup the energy needed to build turbines. Is this an accurate fact or fake news?....
Answer pending from Rampion
Commitments from individual countries:
- Kenya has committed to reaching net zero emissions 2050. (3rd November)
- Nigeria has committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2060. (3rd November)
- Argentina has submitted their new Nationally Determined Contributions UNFCCC puts forward an unconditional target of 349 MtCO2e in 2030, previously 359 MtCO2e. (3rd November)
- Danish PM announced Greenland will join the Paris Agreement and be bound by Denmark’s 2050 net zero legislation. (3rd November)
- India have announced their 2070 net zero target, including a series of 2030 targets:
- pledging 500GW of non-fossil energy capacity;
- 50 per cent of their energy source to come from renewables;
- a reduction of carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes;
- carbon intensity of its economy reduced 45 per cent by
- and Indian railways will be net zero
- Brazil have increased their Nationally Determined Contributions from 43 per cent to 50 per cent reductions by 2030
- Canada will provide $800 million, to the Accelerating Coal Transitions Fund, helping us to choke the future of coal under the UK’s Presidency.
- Spain have committed to increase climate funding by 50 per cent against their current commitments to reach €1.35 billion a year by 2025.
- Australia have announced an increase in their climate finance to AUS$2 billion for 2021-2025, doubling on their pre-2021 period funding.
- Vietnam have announced a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
- Nepal have committed to become carbon negative from 2045.
- Italy has confirmed that they will increase their climate finance to USD$1.4 billion per year.
- New Zealand have announced an increase in their Nationally Determined Contribution, now committing to cut net Greenhouse Gases by 50 per cent by 2030.
- Thailand have submitted their Long-Term Strategy which aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2065 and net-zero Greenhouse Gases as soon as possible in the second half of the century.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report found climate change is already affecting every region of the planet and the world is warming faster than anticipated.
The UK’s ICF reaches those most in need and that the Government is committed to doubling the UK’s ICF to £11.6 billion over the next five years. This is within the UK’s official development assistance budget.
At COP25, countries highlighted that existing sources of funds from a wide variety of sources, including disaster reduction and response funds, respond to loss and damage. At COP26 in Glasgow, more public and private finance was mobilised to support climate action in developing countries than ever before. The global financial system is aligning behind a net zero world. New pledges made at COP26 bring developed countries closer to meeting the $100billion annual climate finance target in 2022 and ensure it is exceeded after that, as well as mobilising billions in private finance and green investment. Governments have committed to double the overall finance for adaptation and better address the threat of loss and damage in climate-vulnerable countries, and I know the UK will now work with all countries to make good on those pledges.
The Glasgow Climate Pact calls on countries to accelerate efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognising the need for support towards a just transition.
On climate debt, the UK Government is pushing for action on debt sustainability as constrained fiscal space and debt vulnerabilities can frustrate efforts to invest in climate action. The UK fully supports the extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to the end of 2021 and is committed to the success of the G20’s Common Framework. Under the Common Framework, private sector creditors will be required to implement debt restructurings on at least as favourable terms as official creditors.
Through leading the Global Ocean Alliance and co-chairing the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, the UK is championing a target under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect at least 30 per cent of the global ocean in Marine Protected Areas and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures by 2030.
The UK believes that the whole ocean should be sustainably managed to allow both the marine environment and sustainable marine economies to thrive. In line with this, Ministers are supporting a global network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that includes both highly protected sites and those that deliver conservation outcomes alongside sustainable economic activities.
The UK also supports the conclusion of negotiations on a new implementing Agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. This will have provisions that allow for the creation of MPAs in international waters, a key mechanism to deliver the ‘30by30’ target. The UK is in favour of a strong obligation on Parties to the Agreement to work within relevant bodies to deliver measures for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
As part of the UK’s work to ensure the sustainable use of the ocean, the UK has agreed not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems, and strong and enforceable environmental standards have been developed by the International Seabed Authority and are in place.
UK Marine Strategy
The Government has an existing strategy - The UK Marine Strategy. The overall objective of the UK Marine Strategy supports the UK’s vision for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas’ and is consistent with commitments in the 25 Year Environment Plan.
Achieving this vision is about protecting the marine environment, preventing its deterioration, and restoring it where practical, while allowing sustainable use of marine resources.
In October 2019, Ministers published the updated Marine Strategy Part One which sets out an assessment of the status of UK seas, as well as targets and indicators for the period up to 2024. In March 2021, Ministers published an update to the Marine Strategy Part Two, which sets out the programmes in place to monitor progress against these targets and indicators.
The Government is currently preparing an update of the Marine Strategy Part Three, which sets out Programmes of Measures designed to help achieve or maintain the vision set out in Part One of the Strategy.
Marine Protected Areas
38 per cent of UK waters are in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Ministers are focused on ensuring these are effectively protected.
The Lord Benyon review into Highly Protected Marine Areas explored the potential for areas with high levels of protection. It recommended that the Government should introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in conjunction with the existing MPA network. He concluded that in many instances, sections of existing MPAs can be upgraded to HPMAs. (Independent report, Benyon review Into Highly Protected Marine Areas: Final report - executive summary, link)
The UK has now launched plans to increase protections for England’s waters through a pilot scheme to designate marine sites in England as Highly Protected Marine Areas. The selected sites would see a ban on all activities that could have a damaging effect on wildlife or marine habitats. The sites to be piloted could be in or outside of existing Marine Protected Areas where they would benefit from a substantially higher level of protection. They will be identified by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee with input from stakeholders with a formal consultation set to launch next year.
The Government says that the Common Fisheries Policy has restricted the ability to impose more stringent protections on our seas. Now that the UK has left the EU, the UK Government has powers to implement evidenced based marine management that will help ensure our seas are managed sustainably, protecting both the long-term future of the fishing industry and our precious wildlife and habitats. The Fisheries Act will help to protect our marine resources and develop plans to restore our fish stock back to more sustainable levels.
Consultation on of England’s offshore Marine Protected Areas
The Marine Management Organisation has now consulted on proposals to manage activity in four of England’s offshore Marine Protected Areas: Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation, Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge Special Area of Conservation. Byelaws being proposed aim to prohibit fishing activities where there is evidence that they harm wildlife or damage habitats. The byelaws will seek to prohibit the use of bottom towed fishing gear in all four sites and additional restrictions for static gears over sensitive features in two of the sites. These first four Marine Protected Areas were chosen as a priority to help protect their vibrant and productive undersea environments.
Ministers are currently reviewing the UK’s policy on access for supertrawlers. This review will be driven by evidence and will need to consider how any measures fit with obligations under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, as well as avoid taking any action against individual vessels which could be construed as discriminatory. Under the Fisheries Act 2020, vessels permitted to fish in UK waters will have to be licensed and comply with UK rules and regulations including those on sustainability. Furthermore, licence conditions set by UK Sea Fisheries Authorities will apply to both UK and foreign vessels alike.
The Resources and Waste strategy sets out plans to reduce plastic pollution with a target of eliminating all avoidable waste over the lifetime of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. Most aquatic litter originates from land-based sources, so the Government believes that the best approach to stemming the flow of plastic is by taking action on land.
In 2018 the UK launched one the world’s toughest bans on the sale and manufacture of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, helping to prevent billions of tiny plastic pieces from entering the ocean every year. This ban was developed based on evidence of harm to the marine environment from microplastics, and specifically evidence of microbeads directly entering the marine environment through the water treatment process.
The 5p charge has been highly successful at reducing the use of single-use plastic carrier bags, doing so by over 90 per cent in the main retailers since its introduction in 2015. This charge has now been doubled to 10p and extended to all retailers to build on this success. Following an open consultation, a ban on the supply of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds came into force on 1st October 2020. The ban includes exemptions to ensure that those with medical needs or a disability can continue to access plastic straws.
The Environment Act includes powers to enable the Government to deliver on commitments in the Resources and Waste strategy which will improve the quantity and quality of the materials we recycle. These include commitments on extended producer responsibility; implementation of a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers; and introduction of consistent recycling collections across the country.
Finally, the Government has also announced key details of the world leading Plastic Packaging Tax at the 2020 Budget, which will help to tackle the pressing issue of plastic waste. The initial rate of the tax will be £200 per tonne and it will be paid by manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging that contains less than 30 per cent recycled plastic.
Plastic Around the World
The Government has funded a package of over £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. This includes £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150m investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging, which will aim to make the UK a world-leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products.
In 2018, the UK launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA) with its co-chair, Vanuatu, calling on Commonwealth countries to pledge action on plastic pollution. Alongside the CCOA, Ministers have committed up to £70 million to tackle plastic pollution, which supports organisations and initiatives to tackle ocean plastic pollution globally.
The Government is supporting ocean protection through appropriate funding, both domestically and internationally. It is extending the Blue Belt initiative with £7 million of funding, which is now on course to provide world-leading marine protection for over 4 million km2 before the end of this year. Additionally, the Government's £80 million Green Recovery Challenge fund is helping environmental organisations start work on projects across England, including marine and coastal projects, to restore nature and tackle climate change. The Government has also launched the £6.1 million Fisheries and Seafood Scheme which will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the English seafood sector and support a thriving marine environment.
The Government has pledged £500 million to create a new Blue Planet Fund to help developing countries reduce poverty, protect and sustainably manage their marine resources and address human-generated threats across four key themes: biodiversity, climate change, marine pollution, and sustainable seafood.