New climate change board will aim to make Portsmouth carbon neutral by 2030

A NEW group charged with tackling the city's 'number one priority' has started working on plans to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 11:42 am
Extinction Rebellion protest and die-in in Portsmouth Guildhall Square earlier this year. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

After a climate emergency was declared by Portsmouth City Council in March this year an independent, non-political climate change board was set up.  

Made up of businesses and groups such as Portsmouth International Port, Extinction Rebellion and Airbus, the board will work to reduce climate change and improve air quality.

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Professor Steve Fletcher from the University of Portsmouth is chairman of the board. He said: 'Taking action to address the effects of climate change is in everyone’s best interest.

'The climate action board will work on behalf of all city residents to make our city a leader in climate action, including cutting unnecessary carbon emissions and reducing wasted energy, which will create savings for all of us.

'We will seek to unlock economic opportunities too, such as encouraging businesses focused on clean technologies into the city.'

The board met for the second time today, with the early stages of a strategy beginning to be worked out.

Extinction Rebellion leader for Portsmouth, Nick Sebley, was 'positive' about what the board had to offer. 'It's in the very early stages and we haven't set any policy yet but everything seems to be very positive,' he said.

'It has been based on the Manchester climate change board which has been quite successful.'

Portsmouth council's head of environment, Councillor Dave Ashmore, will also sit on the board as a council representative. He said: 'Councils can influence investment, submit bids for government schemes and make it possible for local communities and businesses to make more sustainable choices, but the scale and nature of the changes we need to make to avoid the consequences of a rise in global warming mean we need everyone on board.

'Tackling climate change should be the number one priority for this city.'

It comes as the government is considering the council's latest proposal for a clean air zone, which will charge lorries, buses, coaches and taxis to drive in the city centre.