More trees, pollinator plans and rewilding part of Hampshire's £1.2m commitment to the environment

A COUNCIL has spoken of its commitment to the environment after local authorities were urged to declare a climate emergency.

Saturday, 6th November 2021, 12:28 pm
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 9:28 am
Bee pollinating a Sedum.
Bee pollinating a Sedum.

Last week, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust called on local authorities to do more to protect wildlife and nature and declare a climate emergency.

Sienna Somers, the wildlife trusts’ policy and advocacy manager, said: ‘Nature’s recovery has never been more important, and councils have huge power to halt the decline of nature locally.’

District councils for Gosport, Fareham and the New Forest are among the few in Hampshire that have not yet declared a climate emergency.

However Hampshire County Council said it was a vital part of its plans to protect and improve the environment.

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Executive member for climate change and sustainability, councillor Jan Warwick, said: ‘Protecting the natural world is a fundamental part of our commitment to tackling climate change in Hampshire.

‘We declared a climate change emergency in 2019 and following that, our climate change strategy has set out a range of policies that aim to protect, enhance and improve the environment across areas such as tree planting; biodiversity; flood and water management, transport and more.

‘This year, we have committed to prepare an environment strategy which will provide a framework setting out the county council’s environmental principles and priorities, and feed into a wider plan to identify opportunities for enhancing biodiversity and supporting climate change objectives.

‘We have already made significant progress in taking action to tackle climate change, as our first ever climate change annual report shows. We planted more than 1,300 trees last year, with the potential to absorb nearly 20,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 20 years; we launched a parish pollinator pledge to improve habitats for vital pollinator insects; and we’re working closely with partners including district and parish councils, and the Forestry Commission on a range of initiatives including carbon storage mapping.

‘We are currently implementing a further £1.2m investment to tackle climate change, which include projects such as tree planting, rewilding and creating a propagation unit at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens to nurture plants at risk from rising temperatures.

‘We are committed to ensuring we do all we can to protect and enhance Hampshire’s natural environment, not only to help tackle climate change, but also to ensure the long-term sustainability of the county.’