Harlow Council has joined other councils around the country to declare a climate emergency.
The council declared the emergency at last Thursday’s (11 July 2019) full council meeting after councillors unanimously backed a motion. In declaring the emergency the council has made a number of commitments to prevent climate change. This includes reducing the council’s net carbon emissions as far as possible and reducing the carbon footprint at a greater rate than it is already committed to do so. Other actions include:
- Planting 1,000 new trees and hedgerows across the town in the next year.
- Encouraging the council’s trading company HTS (Property & Environment) Ltd to switch over from petrol and diesel vehicles, plant and machinery to electric power vehicles, plant and machinery.
- Encouraging HTS to source battery technology for its electric vehicles from companies who ensure environmentally friendly lithium mining techniques.
- Reaffirming the council’s commitment to the Garden Town development’s principles of sustainable transport.
- Eliminating the use of single use plastics across all public council buildings by January 2020 ahead of the national implementation date of April 2020.
- Actively promote schemes to encourage children to walk to school such as the Walking Bus initiative and WOW (walk on Wednesdays).
- Installing electric car charging points across all council car parks within the next five years where possible.
- Developing a strategy which looks at the feasibility of:
- Installing photovoltaic panels on all public council buildings within the next two years where possible; and
- New council built houses having a minimal carbon footprint; and
- An action plan is created to focus on reducing the impact of day-to-day living on the environment beyond that caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
Councillor Mark Ingall (Labour), Leader of Harlow Council, said:
“It is important that the council leads by example when it comes to preventing climate change. We are one the biggest employers in the town with a range of buildings and with HTS we have a large fleet of vehicles, plant and machinery moving around the town on a daily basis. We need to act now to reduce the impact of climate change. I am pleased and proud that both sides of the chamber worked together to declare a climate emergency, which not only protects the Harlow of today, but the town of the future. My next task is to start encouraging local businesses to join us and make a commitment to do their bit for the town.
Councillor Russell Perrin (Conservative), said:
“The impact of climate change is not something we can ignore and as a community leader the council must lead by example. My group were happy to support this motion and we worked with the administration to put forward a number of additional actions that we can take to make Harlow a better place to live. I am hopeful that councillors from both sides of the chamber will continue to work together to tackle this important and challenging issue.”