It's time to step up
A Climate Emergency has been declared by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Ramping up our work to tackle the issue of climate change head on, the council agreed in September action must be taken to work towards making Basingstoke and Deane a carbon neutral borough by 2030. And we’re aiming to lead the way by setting ourselves a target to deliver services to our residents in a more environmentally friendly way by 2025.
The move supports the Horizon 2050 vision of the borough for the next 30 years set out by residents, businesses and key partners. This highlights a desire to reduce carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels.
The council works to protect and enhance the environment and reduce the impact of its buildings and services on the planet but we can and must do more to achieve the ambitious targets we have set ourselves.
To be a carbon neutral borough by 2030 requires the support of everyone – a collective responsibility, pooling the ideas, expertise, energy and enthusiasm of residents, partners, groups and businesses in Basingstoke and Deane.
Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement Cllr Hayley Eachus said:
“We are blessed with a beautiful green borough but we cannot be complacent. As a council we have chosen to declare a climate emergency and this means we need to build on the work already achieved and embrace change, working with others, to minimise our impact on the environment. As a local service provider and employer in the borough we have an important role to play and we will be looking at how we can deliver our services to residents in a more environmentally friendly way, while also working with staff and councillors to educate and change behaviours to work towards the ambitious target we have set ourselves. But this is not something we can do alone, our actions are a first step but we all have a collective responsibility as residents, employees or businesses to work together to tackle climate change and achieve a carbon neutral borough by 2030. Declaring a climate emergency was the easy part – the work starts now to pool the energy, expertise and enthusiasm of residents, businesses and partners in the borough and take action.”
Successes and next steps to a greener borough
The drive to become a carbon neutral borough by 2030 starts now and we have started work to set out the steps we as a council can take and how we can work together as a borough. To support this, we are increasing our staff resources dedicated to climate change.
Already we have:
- installed solar panels on the roof of several of our council buildings.
- introduced electric vehicle charging points.
- Improved the energy performance of the council’s Deanes and Parklands buildings
- set up a group of Environment Champions to promote sustainable practices among staff.
With partners, we've:
- adopted a transport strategy with a focus on encouraging more sustainable transport including cycling and walking
- introduced a campaign to prevent idling cars creating air pollution
- given out loans and grants to improve insulation and install renewable energy sources
- supported residents to apply for government funding for energy efficient boilers.
Now we are working on our next steps and are setting up officer groups and councillor meetings to look at greener ways of delivering council services, a climate change summit to bring together ideas with partners and the development of a Climate Change and Low Emissions Strategy.
We are seeking advice from the Energy Savings Trust to explore using electric vehicles; updating our Local Plan to ensure tougher standards associated with climate change and emissions; reviewing the energy efficiency of our accommodation and our staff and councillors’ travel as well as increasing opportunities for smarter working and the scope to buy our energy from renewable sources.
Delivering 3,500 homes at Manydown using the Garden Towns’ principle, supported the annual Green Week and exploring opportunities for businesses to develop low carbon solutions. We have also reduced the distances our bin trucks travel by rebalancing the rounds, with a monthly carbon saving of 3.8% per month.
Step forward with your ideas
Do you have ideas on how you, your family, your street, your local neighbourhood, school, business or community group can reduce carbon emissions? Maybe you’re already doing something to tackle climate change and you’d like to share that with others. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what other measures we should be taking, ideas and top tips for others to use, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How you can step up
We can all reduce our carbon footprint by taking simple steps. Here are some top tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint and save money.
- Travel by foot, bike or public transport
Do you really need to jump in the car for that short journey? Could you get yourself some exercise and fresh air and walk or cycle? If it’s a longer journey could you jump on the train or travel by bus?
- Go electric
If you do need to drive have you considered an electric vehicle? They are cheaper to run, you can charge from home or from one of the charge points around the borough or you could encourage your employer to install one.
- Bring Your Own Mug and get yourself a reusable water bottle
Paper cups are not always recycled and taking your own mug/carrier to your favourite coffee shop can be an easy way to reduce your footprint. So next time you head off for your daily cappuccino treat, take a travel mug with you – there’s often money off incentives to do this as well. You can also get a reusable water bottle to avoid buying single use plastic bottles of water. Download an app, Refill.org.uk to find out where you can top up when you are out and about.
- Make sure your house is fully insulated
This will keep you warm in the winter and cut your energy bills. Insulation also helps to keep rooms cooler in the summer. Loft and cavity wall insulation are the first areas to consider. Contact your energy supplier as they sometimes offer free insulation installation. You may think that your house already has cavity wall insulation, but you would be surprised how many do not. Look at the outside walls and if you can see filled in round holes then that will tell you that it has been installed. If not, most cavity wall insulation companies will offer a free survey to see whether the cavities are filled or not. Simple measures can work too like a heavy curtain or using a draught excluding product on draughty doors and windows.
- Switch off standby
Appliances left on standby like mobile phones, laptops and iPod chargers still use energy. Simply switching off and unplugging items on standby is a great way to be more energy efficient.
- Switch off lights when you're not in the room
This will save energy and money and why not switch your lightbulbs to energy saving ones?
- Take showers instead of baths
Taking a bath consumes an estimated 80 litres of water compared to showers which consume a much more economical 35 litres for every use.
- Buy energy-efficient appliances
When replacing household appliances choose energy-efficient replacements. You can check their Energy Star ratings for a quick reference.
- Flexible working
If your company allows working from home this is a fantastic way to cut personal carbon emissions in travel and save on commuting costs.
- Switch to 30°C
Washing clothes at 30°C and by doing two washes per week at 30°C could save £19 and 80Kg of CO2. Make sure to fully load each wash too.
- Say no to plastic bags
The production of plastic bags contributes to air pollution and a huge amount of energy consumption. One plastic bag can take an astonishing 1,000 years to decompose.
- Buy local produce
By buying local produce, you can help to support local producers as well as reducing the distances our food travels to reach us.