Hampshire County Council puts environment among 'top priorities' as carbon neutral plans set in motion
PLANS are being set in motion to make Hampshire carbon neutral by 2050.
Hampshire County Council has agreed to commence work on a new environment strategy, in a bid to tackle long-term climate change.
Without action, it is believed that global temperatures will increase by two degrees in the next 30 years.
The county council will now develop a specific plan to meet the government's environmental targets, putting climate change at the heart of future decisions.
Councillor Jan Warwick, the county council’s executive member for climate change and sustainability, said: 'It is important that we do all that we can to underpin the long-term sustainability of the county and support a healthy environment.
'Protecting and improving the environment and quality of life for Hampshire residents is among our top priorities and it makes absolute sense to have a framework within which to work and guide the County Council’s activities.
'I am very pleased to see that the intention is to take a very collaborative approach in developing the environment strategy, by working with key partners to this end.'
The strategy will build on the outcome of the Hampshire 2050 Commission of Inquiry, as well as the work identified in the county council’s Climate Change Action Plan.
It is believed that this will collectively support the government's plans for an environmental recovery.
'Research has shown that access to high quality public spaces, gardens, parks, woodlands and rivers is associated with better mental health and wellbeing outcomes,' Cllr Warwick added.
Environmental campaigners say that co-operation with neighbouring councils will be critical in making the strategy a success.
Nick Sebley from the Portsmouth Climate Action Board said: 'Everyone is late to the party on climate change - Margaret Thatcher was warning people about it in 1989 - so although we need to tread carefully, we all need to be ambitious too.
'Because of this, we all have to work together to achieve our goal - the main sources of carbon emissions are energy use and buildings so tackling those things should be at the top of the county council's agenda.
'An interactive public awareness campaign would likely go a long way towards educating people as well.'
The News launched the Going for Green campaign this year, in conjunction with the Portsmouth Climate Action Board, to highlight climate and air quality issues in Portsmouth and Hampshire.