By Cllr Maya Evans 

Being part of the team developing the HBC climate strategy has sometimes been frustrating. Many ambitious ideas could not be included through lack of funding and limited power to effect behavioural change in both big business and members of the public. As a result, the focus is very much on the realistic means which are currently available.

From lobbying government to engaging with local businesses and residents, our two-year action plan (see column above) acknowledges the importance of involving everyone, and especially mobilising the energy and expertise within our own communities.

PICTURE: Dave Young

Along with reducing our contribution to climate change, we need to prepare for its impacts on the borough. That means working with partners –
including the Government, East Sussex County Council and other agencies – to increase our climate resilience and ensure, where possible, that impacts such as rising sea levels are planned for locally. This will include retro-fitting homes, flood mitigation, local heat networks and domestic solar panels. 

The Local Plan, which is due for review this year, can give HBC teeth to ensure that all future developments in the town are sustainable, opening up options such as onshore wind and car-port solar, as well as reforming planning regulations towards prioritising climate mitigation over building conservation.

We also aim to support the decarbonisation of transport through planning policy, and measures that encourage the use of public transport and active travel.

Actions to reduce energy demand, switching to low carbon heat and transport are major transitions that will take time and investment – but are all very possible. Green technology is advancing; the public will to do something is evident. But only Government ultimately has the power to make the vital changes needed. Let’s hope they learn something from the current crisis.

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