It is no longer possible to ignore the issue of climate change. The time has come for all organistions to take action to reduce their impact on the environment and the City Council is no exception. Step by step, over the last four years the council has made significant progress in addressing climate change.
Set up in 2002 to help implement the council's Sustainability Strategy, The Sustainability Commission, unique to Brighton & Hove City Council, has been instrumental in mainstreaming sustainability across council services and in leading the authority's work on Climate Change.
Since 2002 significant progress has been made. Achievements include the signing of the Nottingham Declaration on climate change in April 2005, which coincided with city-wide Sustainability Conference on climate change.
Along with 100 other Local Authorities the Nottingham Declaration commits Brighton & Hove to supporting renewables and to preparing a Climate Change Action Plan, which was issued for consultation in July 2006. Furthermore, the Council is also exploring the addition of a Tackling Climate Change theme and targets for inclusion in the Local Area Agreement.
For the last three years the electricity supply to the Council’s core buildings has been procured from 100% renewable sources and the recently appointed Energy & Water Manager is leading on work to create a Water Action Plan for the council and city.
An Audit Commission report shows that Brighton & Hove's carbon emissions are below average. This is due in part to a highly successful sustainable transport policy and high-density living.
However, this is no cause for complacency. The Council has recently appointed a Staff Travel Manager to lead on staff travel plan work and has plans to introduce renewables into their own new building schemes, including planning permission for a 6kw wind turbine for one new school building and a 6kw turbine for the most sustainable industrial building in England (Westergate Business Centre).
The Council’s Sustainability Checklist for developers and development briefs have led to a number of sustainable developments coming forward, including the Wilkinson Eyre development at the marina approved with 10% of energy demand met by on site renewables and 10% from a Combined Heat and Power plant.
The Council also continues to raise awareness of the issue of climate change both amongst its own staff and residents of the City.
A pilot Neighbourhood Action on Climate Change evening class programme has recently been launched in Queen's Park ward and raising awareness events have been run with the Brighton & Hove Estate Agents Association and 150 tourism industry stakeholders.
The City's Local Strategic Partnership now has an annual target of 3.5% carbon emission cuts across the city in its revised "Sustainable Community Strategy" to help meet the Government's 2012 and 2020 targets and the Council has been selected to take part in the Carbon Trust's Local Authority Carbon Management Programme which will produce an 5-10 year implementation plan of projects to reduce the council's carbon emissions to be launched in May 2007.
There is still much work to be done, not only by Brighton & Hove City Council, but by other organisations in the city and small steps can make a large impact. All research indicates that introducing resource efficiency measures not only saves money it contributes to carbon reduction and therefore to tackling climate change.
To find out more about how you can save your organisation money and join the council in tackling climate change click on the Business & Climate Change button on the homepage.
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