District Dispatch – 27 October 2021: Chichester District Council
On 31 October, countries from across the globe will come together in Glasgow to create a plan to limit climate change. COP26 is the biggest and most important international environmental summit the UK has ever hosted and will run until 9 November.
The threat of climate change is of huge concern to us all. There have always been natural variations in the climate, but scientists say temperatures are now rising at an alarming rate – and it’s caused by people. The world is currently around 1.2C warmer than before people started using oil, gas and coal to power factories, transport and to heat homes.
As a council we are committed to working with you to tackle climate change. Last year, we developed a Climate Emergency Action Plan and we have been working hard to put in place actions and schemes that will help us to reduce the impact we have on the environment.
Next year, we plan to introduce two electric vehicles as part of our refuse collection fleet, as well as changes to our waste and recycling collection routes to help reduce mileage. We’ve already started switching our other vehicles to electric, including some of those used by our parking services team and currently offer 18 electric vehicle charging points in our car parks across the district.
We’ve also recently launched a new community tree planting scheme to increase tree cover in rural and urban areas across the district. Over 8,000 trees will be planted during the upcoming tree planting season. We’re also protecting our wildlife corridors. Chichester and Pagham Harbours are connected to the South Downs National Park through a series of wildlife corridors, where woods, hedgerows and streams allow different species to move across the district for food and to breed. Protecting these corridors is important to ensure the sustainability of future wildlife populations in the district.
Increasing our energy efficiency is also a key aim. We have installed low-energy LED lighting and we also have solar PV and thermal panels on our main offices. This reduces the amount of energy that we take from the power grid, while our gas boilers don’t have to be on as much heating water. We are working further to decarbonise the buildings that we own, starting with Westgate Leisure Centre. We will also be bringing people together to help them reduce emissions in their homes and businesses.
This year, we also launched a new commercial food waste collection service to help businesses across the district reduce their impact on the environment. A pilot for the kerbside collection of textiles and small electrical items has also been introduced and we have linked up with the Podback scheme to enable residents who use coffee pod machines to recycle their coffee pod containers. In addition, we are running a pilot scheme of ‘hot bins’ – special compost bins that turn garden and food waste into compost much quicker than the average bin.
A 10 year plan that identifies walking and cycling improvements in Chichester that are needed to help increase the number of people using these modes of transport has also been produced. We are working closely with West Sussex County Council and other partners to work towards delivering these infrastructure improvements.
There are steps we can all take that can help make a difference, including reducing our use of cars; insulating our homes and making them more energy efficient; reducing food waste; recycling as much as we can; and saving water. Over the coming months we will be highlighting the simple changes you can make and the schemes that you can access that will help to reduce your impact on the environment.
Together, we can make a difference.
Cllr Penny Plant
Cabinet Member for the Environment and Chichester Contract Services at Chichester District Council