Hampshire announces fresh measures to tackle climate change crisis after protests

FRESH measures are to be taken in Hampshire to tackle climate change, develop new business districts and support rural areas.

By Maria Zaccaro
Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 9:20 am
Protesters held climate change rallies across the Portsmouth area. Pictured is: Leah Dollani and her children, Texas, one, Yasmin, 12, Brodie, 12, and Rocky, eight, at a protest at Portsmouth's Guildhall Square on Friday. Picture: Habibur Rahman

County bosses pledged to support renewable energy, work with the community to reduce waste and ensure climate mitigations such as energy and water efficient measures are in place across a number of sectors.

They have also vowed to work together to set out where business districts are to be developed, support the digital, creative, aerospace, defence and marine sectors while tackling the urban and rural divide.

It comes as a cross-party commission which looked into creating a vision for Hampshire to 2050 has published a list of actions that  Hampshire County Council and its partners should take to ensure the county is ready to face economic, climate, technological and transport changes over the next 30 years.

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Climate change protesters holding placards in Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Full details are yet to be determined but commissioners said that climate change has been identified as the ‘most important driver for change' in Hampshire.

In their report, commissioners said ‘It was felt Hampshire is under-prepared for the impacts of climate change on its economy, society and environment and that more should be done to mitigate against it.’

During a council meeting last night county councillors insisted the commission’s recommendations will bring ‘a real change’.

But some councillors warned the authority it may be facing challenges in implementing some changes given its need to cut £80m by 2021.

Climate change protester Ruby Cane, 14, at a rally in Falkland Gardens, Gosport, on Friday, Photo: Annabelle Dryden-Smith (200919-59)

Councillor Keith House, Hampshire’s Liberal Democrat boss, said the Lib Dems support the recommendations with ‘enthusiasm’.

But he added: ‘We must recognise there’s a risk of complacency. The challenge to cabinet in October is to think about what’s in front of you against what is in the commission’s report and say are we actually putting our policy into practice? I suspect we are not.’

He also suggested that more areas should be considered as the county plans to move forward.

‘There’s barely a mention to public health and yet again as a council we are talking about reducing funding for public health,’ he said.

But councillor Jonathan Glen invited public and councillors to email him with ideas that would ‘need’ to be considered.

‘So for example the areas that maybe this report does not include at the moment can be brought in at any time you like. There is no end to what we can do on this report,’ he added.

Further details are expected to be discussed by cabinet members next month.

News of the measures come just days after climate change protesters held demonstrations across Portsmouth and Gosport.

Hundreds of children and young people rallied as part of a global rally led by 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg.