Posted: 02.07.20 at 10:41 by Francesca Evans
East Devon District Council has reiterated how it wants to play a part in the global challenge to combat and avoid the worse effects of climate change.
The council has re-stated its commitment to tackling climate change in response to the government's Committee on Climate Change annual report.
The foreword to the committee report said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives. Its effects are far-reaching – its implications profound. Our 2019 report to parliament urged government to act on climate. 'Now, do it' was our call.
"Twelve months on that remains our emphatic message, but with a new determination: we must seize the opportunity to make the COVID-19 recovery a defining moment in tackling the climate crisis. We say to the government: “act courageously - it’s there for the taking”.
East Devon District Council remains committed to reducing its carbon footprint and working with its partners, contractors, business and communities to reduce its carbon use and move rapidly towards a carbon neutral position.
Last summer, the council became a signatory to the very ambitious Devon Climate Emergency Declaration and, whilst recognising that it has set itself a challenging ambition, is determined to make positive changes over the next 20 years to reach this goal for the benefit of the planet, its communities, and residents’ health and wellbeing.
To demonstrate the council’s commitment to the tackling environmental issues, the new administration has recently appointed portfolio holders for climate change to lead and champion initiatives in East Devon.
Councillor Marianne Rixson, portfolio holder for climate change, and Councillor Denise Bickley, assistant portfolio holder for climate change, said: “Whilst this report is primarily for government, we intend to use the Committee on Climate Change report as a guide to help develop and enhance our own strategy.
"Initial low-cost projects include tree planting and re-wilding. However, in order to achieve a substantial change in emissions, changes will be required to both housing and transport, which together contribute substantially to greenhouse gases.
"We must ensure that future housing is built to meet high environmental standards. Also that transport emissions are reduced through behavioural change such as walking, where possible, cycling and car sharing. Increased use of public transport will play a significant role, once public confidence has been restored.
"As a rural area, we recognise too that investment will be essential in electric car charging networks. However, schemes such as these will require significant investment and government funding. Therefore, climate change projects should be on the top of the government’s agenda.
"In the meantime, we will play our part in encouraging green transport through electrification of our own white vehicle fleet.”
A copy of the Committee on Climate Change report can be found by clicking here.