Over 750 businesses and individuals in Hastings and Rye have signed up to the contents of a letter circulated by the constituency Green Party calling for Hastings Borough Council (HBC) to declare a Climate Emergency and begin “meaningful action” to combat what they refer to as “climate breakdown”. 

Following the recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Special Report on Global Warming, the target would be to limit this warming to 1.5°C. That “may still be possible with ambitious action from national regional and local authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities”, says the letter. Accordingly, “we support the council in the urgent need to reduce the town’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, to put this goal at the forefront of all decision-making from now on, and develop an action plan within six months to achieve this goal.”

The following practical steps should be taken “as essential commitments”:

Convening a citizens’ assembly in Hastings, led by the council, to generate local ideas for combating climate breakdown and to devise a path to achieving community-wide carbon-neutrality by 2030. 

Revision of the Local Plan starting in 2019, including applying rigorous energy efficiency standards such as the internationally recognised Passivhaus Zero Carbon standards on all houses built on council owned land, and adopting the principles outlined in the Wildlife Trust’s Nature Recovery Network, bringing nature into the places where most people live their daily lives. Reducing car use and promoting walking, cycling and sustainable transport should be at the centre of future plans for the town.

Working with local community energy providers to cover the town’s roofs with solar panels, combined in a smart grid that could provide cheaper energy for all local people.

Update the council’s 2010 Environmental strategy to reflect the climate emergency with measurable goals including carbon footprinting of all council activities.

Developing and adopting a council carbon budget each year alongside the annual budget. 

The letter declares that bold climate action can not only limit the effects of global warming but also deliver new green jobs and economic benefits, preserve wildlife and habitats, and improve life for people worldwide.

Julia Hilton, local Green Party secretary, says that HBC leader, Peter Chowney, has promised to propose a motion, at the full meeting of the council scheduled for next Wednesday 13th February, that will call for climate change action within its jurisdiction. The agenda for this meeting had not been published at the time of going to press, nor was it clear
what wording Cllr Chowney would put forward, nor whether it would receive cross-party support from the Conservatives. But the Greens have been asking supporters to turn up in numbers as a show of feeling.

• The full letter can be seen (and signed) on the website  www.segreens.com.
The meeting, at Muriel Matters House, will start at 6.00pm.
If you are intending to come along, you should arrive by 5.45 pm. 

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