Leading Chichester District councillors have been updated on a number of key actions in the council’s Climate Change Detailed Action Plan.
Major projects within the plan include investing in electric refuse collection vehicles; improving the energy efficiency within its buildings; safeguarding a series of wildlife corridors across the district; increasing tree planting within the district; and encouraging an increase in cycling and walking.
Councillor Penny Plant, the council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Chichester Contract Services, says: “We are already making great strides with the projects outlined in the Climate Change Detailed Action Plan and there is some excellent work taking place across the council.
“One of our biggest projects next year is replacing two of our diesel refuse collection vehicles with electric versions. We’ll also be working on a project to investigate upgrading the electrical charging infrastructure at our depot in Westhampnett to prepare for having the ability to invest in more electric vehicles, should the initial two electric vehicles prove successful.
“The Tree Chichester District scheme has received a phenomenal amount of interest, and we would like to say a huge thank you to all of the residents, community groups, landowners, schools, charities, parish councils and businesses that applied. We expect to plant around 8,000 trees across the district during the upcoming planting season, which is great news.”
The council is working to increase the energy efficiency of the buildings it owns, including Westgate Leisure Centre, which is another of the council’s biggest sources of emissions. In other buildings, the council has installed low-energy LED lighting and solar PV panels plus solar thermal power, which helps reduce the amount of energy used.
The council also showed its commitment to encouraging an increase in walking and cycling. At September’s Cabinet meeting, members supported the proposal to conduct a feasibility study for one of the schemes outlined in the Chichester City Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).
Cabinet also agreed that proposals for feasibility studies for two further cycling schemes in the LCWIP and investing in a post for a home energy conservation officer, would be considered at a later date, following further examination by members.
In addition, Cabinet approved a package of options for how to engage and communicate with the public regarding the action plan. This includes using the council’s existing Let’s Talk consultation panel and collecting more information from participants with the aim of making it more representative; using existing communication methods including the council’s email newsletter to collect views and feedback; and formalise the holding of twice-yearly public meetings to allow the council’s Environmental Strategy officers to give presentations to interested groups on the council’s climate change work.
“Engaging with residents, and other interested groups across the district about our work on climate change is really important, and we want to ensure that we do this in the most effective way,” explains Penny. “This is why we have decided to opt for a broader plan of engagement, utilising our existing communication methods as much as possible. We’ve already starting engaging with a wide range of people, with a really positive response and we have other engagement meetings already organised or in the pipeline.”
This month, the Environmental Strategy Team took part in the All Parishes meeting to talk about the climate change work and held a meeting with organisations that responded to the action plan consultation. Both Cllr Plant and our Climate Change officer will also be attending the Green Fair in Milland on 26 September. This is part of a national initiative called Great Big Green Week, which promotes a week full of activities that celebrate communities doing their bit for a greener future.
In addition, a networking event is being organised for businesses, to give them the opportunity to discuss the barriers they experience in reducing carbon emissions and how organisations can work together to overcome them. Further engagement meetings are also being planned for the coming months.
Find out more about the Climate Change Detailed Action Plan at https://www.chichester.gov.uk/climatechange