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Action agreed over climate

A climate change manager is set to be appointed by Arun District Council.


The senior officer will lead its work to work towards its target of becoming carbon neutral within 10 years.


Unanimous support for the creation of the position was given by members of Arun’s environment and leisure working group on Thursday.


Their recommendation to spend up to £180,000 on the role will be debated by the council’s cabinet followed by all councillors next year.


The working group also backed the officers of the council producing an action plan with milestones to ensure the 2030 carbon neutral target is met.


Philippa Dart, its director of services, said: “The whole of the council needs to take part in ensuring every area of the council is part of the solution.


“This council has the opportunity to make a real difference from now.”


The first stage would be to create an action plan to achieve carbon neutrality.


This would initially comprise five key strands:


*House building, retrofitting and efficiency, such as the use of renewable energy and improved insulation in council properties and new homes
*Transport with a cycling and walking strategy and providing electric vehicle charging points
*Air pollution monitoring
*Community leadership
*Procurement, with all purchasing decisions to include a carbon audit


Cllr Mike Clayden (C, Angmering) said: “We have dabbled in environmental savings in the past. This building (the Civic Centre) has solar panels and the Wave Centre uses modern technology.


“We should be moving forward and if we are going to take this seriously we need to appoint somebody to spearhead it. None of our officers has the time they need to focus on this.”


Cllr Terry Chapman (C, East Preston) said: “Those of us in public life have a role as standard-bearers to lead by example in what we do.”


Cllr Isabel Thurston (G, Walberton) said: “We are one of the last local authorities to be declaring this emergency. We have got to start taking some difficult decisions. I hope we get much more funding coming through centrally to help us with this.”


Cllr Shaun Gunner (C, Rustington E) said: “We do have a responsibility as councillors. We represent the public and the authority.


“We have a role in demonstrating leadership to the public and businesses.”


Cllr Samantha Staniforth (LD, Orchard) said: “People want to make changes but don’t know how to do it. Hopefully, that is something we can help with.”


Cllr David Edwards (C, Felpham E) said he accepted climate change was happening but he feared the declaration was a matter of joining a trend.


“We are asking the council to commit a significant amount of time and money to make us more efficient and climate aware. But I thought we did that already,” he said.

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