Hampshire council joins network to demand cash for climate change support

HAMPSHIRE council has joined forces with 20 other rural authorities in the UK demanding support from government to tackle climate change.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 3:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 3:22 pm
The Countryside Climate Network is calling on funds to tackle climate change in rural areas. Picture from South Downs National Park

The newly formed Countryside Climate Network is calling for a slice of the delayed £100bn infrastructure fund to boost biodiversity, lower emissions and find more ‘sustainable solutions’ for rural areas.

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Group chairman Councillor Steve Count, who is leader of Cambridgeshire Council, said: ‘We’re frustrated that climate solutions and green recovery packages haven’t found the right balance, largely missing the rural voice.

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‘It can be hard to meet our sustainable ambitions when urban areas have no need to fund essential bus services to remote communities or invest in broadband because the market doesn’t reach isolated areas.

‘These examples of typical rural disadvantages add up, combined with a funding gap in rural areas twice that of our urban counterparts, means our stretched resources are diminished making the challenge of funding sustainable solutions even harder.’

According to the Committee on Climate Change, agriculture, land use and peatlands account for 12 per cent of overall UK emissions. And agriculture is responsible for 88 per cent of ammonia gas emissions, which form harmful fine particulate matter (PM) air pollution.

In a letter sent by the group to government this week it said: ‘Our rural communities are at the front line of feeling the effects of climate change. The driest of springs follows a winter of floods. Damaging our food production, bringing hardship to our villages and towns. But we can also be at the forefront of climate action too.

‘The countryside offers far more than a place to plant millions of trees to offset carbon emissions from elsewhere.'

Cllr Keith Mans, leader of Hampshire County Council, added: ‘At Hampshire County Council, we have put action on climate change at the forefront of our agenda.

‘Climate change has already had a significant impact in Hampshire - flooding and extreme weather events alone have caused physical or financial damage with far reaching consequences for us as an authority and for our communities.’

It comes as housebuilding was stalled in parts of south Hampshire due to harmful nitrates from farmland causing damage to wildlife in the Solent.

The Countryside Climate Network was established by UK100, a network of local leaders that campaigns on climate change.

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