An initial declaration of a climate emergency has been declared by Arun councillors.
The widespread agreement to take the first step towards starting work to adopt a zero carbon target by 2030 where achievable united members of three political groupings.
Arun District Council’s planning policy sub-committee has recommended the climate emergency stance should be backed by its environment and leisure working group and all the council’s members next month.
Cllr Isabel Thurston (G, Barnham) said at Tuesday’s meeting:
“I think we are all very positive about declaring a climate change emergency so we can begin to do the work that is necessary.
“I take the point we are in a difficult position that, until the government do revise their requirements, our hands are tied to some extent.
“But we need to be in a position to move when that does happen. I am pretty sure it will be soon.
“The key thing is that we declare an emergency and put in place someone to take it forward.”
Cllr David Huntley (I, Pagham) said:
“We need to get on with this. This (change) is happening now. If we don’t do something to stop global temperature rise and climate change in the next two years, it might be too late.”
Cllr Martin Lury (LD, Bersted) said:
“Time is of the essence. We really do need to act quickly. We can’t sit and wait on this.
“Times have changed in the last year. You only have to look at what has been happening in Japan. We do need to act with great urgency.”
The push to declare a climate emergency was agreed at Arun’s full council meeting last month. The planning policy sub-committee was told by the council’s planning policy team leader, Kevin Owen, its local plan agreed in July, 2018, contained at least nine policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
These included taking into account increased flooding risk, energy efficiency standards, sustainable urban drainage systems and waste management.
But the council had to act in line with central government decisions. These had begun to address matters such as cutting emissions from homes and businesses.
To do more, Arun would need the government to revise building regulations for zero carbon reduction targets. The council would also need to prepare a local plan review to implement the new standards.
“Arun should commission a study to scope the feasibility and viability of setting a zero-carbon target by 2030 for all new development in Arun district, looking at decentralised energy (such as biomass) and zero carbon energy opportunities,” he said. But this would cost at least £100,000 and take between a year and 18 months and could not start until next April at the earliest.
Cllr Ricky Bower (C, East Preston) said the council should join with others around the area to help cut costs.
“I would hate us to be repeating work that has been done by others that we can tap into.
“Once we have got this back, we can determine where we go from there and what sort of detail we can progress,”