Climate emergency declared by Adur and Worthing councils as ‘clock is ticking’

Solar panels installed on Portland House
Solar panels installed on Portland House

A climate emergency has been declared in Adur and Worthing as the two councils pledged to work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Council leaders will call on the Government to provide the powers and resources to make this target possible.

They also agreed to produce a strategy by January 2020 at the latest setting out how Adur and Worthing councils will work towards meeting their new carbon neutral target.

The actions were agreed on Tuesday night (July 9).

Officers described how the councils had already made significant progress in the area already, hiring a strategic sustainability manager in 2016 to drive down emissions, which they have reduced by 30 per cent since 2012.

Projects have included installing LED lighting at car parks, putting solar panels on council premises, encouraging staff to travel by means other than cars, and introducing more electric vehicle charging points.

In order to reach the target by 2030 the councils would have to virtually eliminate carbon emissions from its energy and transport use through almost entirely ceasing fossil fuel use, improve energy efficiency and significantly increase renewable energy on council buildings and land, as well as shifting to electric vehicles, use of smartgrids and battery storage, officers said.

Edward Crouch, Worthing’s executive member for digital and environmental services, said that while this was a ‘really major and meaningful piece of work’ they needed national Government ‘to lead on this as well’.

He added: ‘The clock is ticking.”

Meanwhile David Simmons, Adur’s executive member for health and wellbeing, wanted to see much more work on the subject done together with other local authorities so they saw the same measures introduced ‘across the piste’.

Neil Parkin, leader of Adur District Council, suggested some councils were just declaring a climate emergency to tick a box, but said: “We are going to do this properly, it’s going to be done.

“I’m worried about what is going to happen with my kids. It needs to be done and done quickly. We do not just want to talk the talk we want to walk the walk.”

But Labour’s Catherine Arnold said they needed to consider much more innovative solutions and asked why the motion had not gone even further.

Dan Humphreys, leader of Worthing Borough Council, said this would come out of the action plan being proposed.

He added: “If we do not do something about this now it’s our children and their children who will pay the price.”