Hampshire County Council earlier this week (Monday 17 June) declared a Climate Emergency, joining more than 70 local authorities across the country in committing to putting environmental issues at the heart of everything it does.
Councillor Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “The Climate Emergency programme has gathered pace and profile at a rapid rate. In the last few days, the Government has announced a UK target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050 and we are committed to ensuring Hampshire County Council plays its part.
It is clear that action on the scale required to meet the urgency of this global challenge can only be achieved if we all commit to lasting change.
“In Hampshire, this means not only building on our achievements in reducing carbon emissions in recent years, but also being absolutely clear on effective actions we can take to reduce our carbon footprint and make Hampshire more resilient to the effects of climate change already in the system.
Our aim is to leave the county in a strong and sustainable position for future generations – and these issues are well expressed in the work of our Hampshire 2050 Commission, as well as elsewhere in existing strategies.”
Hampshire County Council has been tackling climate change issues for many years, taking active steps to respond, both in terms of making Hampshire more resilient to changes already coming, and also to mitigate future climate change through reducing carbon emissions.
This includes reducing carbon consumption by over 40% since 2010, seven years ahead of target; reducing energy costs in its buildings, including schools, by £30million since 2010; installing photovoltaic panels on County Council owned buildings, and delivering energy savings of £240,000 each year through streetlighting operations.
By the end of the year, 80 new electric car charging points will be installed across Hampshire, and a programme is underway to convert the County Council’s small vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.
Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “Environmental stewardship is fundamentally important to our future.
The biggest threat to our environment and way of life is climate change. Today, we have committed to establishing a clear action plan which will truly embed carbon reduction measures across the County Council and make Hampshire more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate.
“We know we can’t do this on our own – we will need to work with our partners, businesses and communities to establish effective ways action can be taken and results can be realised.”