Hampshire County Council reveals climate change plans: wildflowers, energy saving and wind turbine policy change

MORE trees and wildflowers along roads and new investment into energy saving initiatives are among the measures set to be taken in Hampshire in a bid to tackle climate change – as well as revoking a policy that prevents wind farms on county land.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 2:52 pm
Updated Monday, 13th January 2020, 3:42 pm

County bosses have approved plans to plant trees and wildflowers on highways land and verges and create a matching-fund of a total of £1m to pay for measures such as solar panels and LED lighting.

Becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and reviewing county council policies and strategies over the next five years are also among the moves agreed by cabinet members at Hampshire County Council on Monday. (Jan 6)

The news comes as last year the authority declared a climate emergency and set up a commission to look into the actions that need to be taken to tackle climate change over the next three decades.

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A wind turbine
A wind turbine

The authority has also revoked a policy approved in 2013 which prohibited large wind turbines and wind farm developments on county land.

The council said the original policy ‘goes against the key principles of the emerging strategy’.

In an official report the authority also said: ‘Revoking it would send a strong message that the county council is taking this issue seriously. Any decisions on changes to county council land use will be subject to the normal approval processes and will be assessed on its own merits.’

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At the meeting opposition councillor Martin Tod asked the county council to consider a ‘more ambitious date’ as he said other district councils across Hampshire are aiming to become carbon neutral earlier than 2050.

He also asked the authority to ensure that the action plan will come before cabinet as it progresses in the future.

A review of the flood risk management strategy and the transport plan is also being undertaken .

Cllr Rob Humby, deputy council leader and executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: ‘It’s imperative that we place climate mitigation and resilience at the heart of our policy and decision-making. We need all the county council’s services to contribute to reducing emissions and building resilience – replacing transport fleets with electric vehicles, reducing carbon from street lighting to name just a few areas.’

County council leader Keith Mans has requested regular updates on the action plan so that cabinet can oversee progress.