Hampshire announces 'climate emergency' as politicians scramble to make council cut footprint

POLITICIANS have said environmental issues will be at the heart of future policies after they declared a climate emergency.

Tuesday, 18th June 2019, 1:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th June 2019, 4:48 pm
Protesters from Extinction Rebellion outside Portsmouth Guildhall

Hampshire County Council has joined 70 other local authorities in declaring an emergency, and has committed to play its part in reaching the government target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

Leader Councillor Keith Mans said: ‘It is clear that action on the scale required to meet the urgency of this global challenge can only be achieved if we all commit to lasting change.’

The council said it has been tackling climate change issues for many years, including reducing carbon consumption by over 40 per cent since 2010, seven years ahead of target, and reducing energy cost in buildings and schools by £30m since 2010.

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The authority hopes to save cash and energy to the tune of £240,000 a year by using LEDs on street lights.

It also aims to install 80 new electric car charging points across Hampshire by the end of the year, in order to increase the accessibility of eco-friendly cars, and a programme is underway to convert the county council’s 150 vehicle fleet to electric vehicles.

Cllr Mans added: ‘Our aim is to leave the county in a strong and sustainable position for future generations.’

Founder of Portsmouth’s Extinction Rebellion group, Nicholas Day, praised the council for its efforts: ‘I'm really pleased, it's the first step in the right direction.

‘It’s really easy to pass motions and see nothing happening, we want to see action.

‘I have a partner and a child and it costs less to get an Uber to the doctors than a bus, and that's ridiculous

‘The feeling across Hampshire that people want change towards environmental issues is becoming stronger.’

Councillor Rob Humby, deputy council leader and executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council, highlighted that they need to work with partners, businesses and communities to ‘establish effective ways action can be taken and results can be realised’ so as to help the climate emergency.

The council has cut printing, saving £900,000. It has also cut its office space by a quarter.