Thursday, 1 October 2015

Council to seek residents' views on climate change

CAMBRIDGE City Council is set to consult residents on a new draft Climate Change Strategy, which will focus on reducing carbon emissions from the city and supporting residents and businesses to respond to the effects of climate change.

Councillors will consider a report at the council’s Strategy and Resources Committee on 12 October, which recommends that residents, local environmental groups and climate change academics should be asked for their views.

The draft strategy focuses on reducing emissions in four key areas that contribute most to the city’s carbon footprint and where the council has the greatest influence.

These are: emissions from council buildings and activities; energy used by homes and businesses; sustainable transport; and reducing waste and increasing recycling.

It also sets out measures to help residents and businesses adapt to the impacts of climate change, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

The strategy recommends that the council continues to support existing programmes and services which help reduce emissions, and identifies new areas where the council can have even greater impact.

It sets out 48 actions, including:

  • Using local planning policies to set sustainability standards for new homes and commercial developments;
  • Improving the energy efficiency of existing homes, through investment in council homes and the Action on Energy partnership;
  • Helping vulnerable residents to reduce their fuel and water usage and costs;
  • Investing in sustainable transport infrastructure, including bus and cycle schemes, through the Greater Cambridge City Deal;
  • Working with partners to promote low emissions buses and taxis;
  • Promoting recycling and increasing opportunities for residents and businesses to recycle more;
  • Working with partners in the Cambridge Sustainable Food network to promote sustainable food sources and reduce food waste; and
  • Supporting residents to respond to the likely effects of climate change, including taking steps to reduce the risk of flooding and providing advice on heatwaves and other extreme weather events.

Cllr George Owers, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “It is vital that the city council continues to work to support international efforts to tackle climate change.

“This strategy builds on the council’s work to date and clearly sets out the steps we will take to help reduce carbon emissions over the next five years.

“We are already feeling the effects of climate change, so the focus on supporting residents and businesses to respond to impacts such as flooding, heatwaves and water shortages is particularly important.

“Research clearly shows that the poorest and most vulnerable in society are least equipped to respond to these challenges, so it is essential that the council takes action to reduce the risks and helps them to prepare.”

If councillors approve the draft Climate Change Strategy on 12 October, public consultation will take place from 13 October to 12 January. Residents, businesses and other interested parties will be able to submit comments via the council’s website at: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/current-consultations