What we are doing
Tackling climate change as a priority
Tackling climate change is a key priority for the council, as set out in our corporate plan. We know we must act now to start making a difference for future generations. We all have a responsibility to tackle climate change and encourage sustainability.
Current financial and regulatory frameworks put limits on what we can do. This is why tackling climate change needs to be a collective effort. We will work with partners, businesses and residents to take action. We will lobby central government to significantly increase powers to drive significant change locally, and for greater intervention by central government to reduce climate change.
As we have outlined, it will not be easy, 2030 is an extremely challenging target, and may prove impossible; however, that does not mean we should back away from the challenge or ambition to start this journey now. Our plan provides an outline road map for carbon neutrality a full 20 years ahead of the Government's target of 2050.
It's an ambitious target but as one of the first councils in the country to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, we believe we should be leading the way to support the town's residents, visitors and those who work here to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the whole town as close to zero as possible.
We are not alone. The science is now building a string consensus of the need for action. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Global Warming, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared to a 1.5°C rise. The report went on to say that limiting global warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities. We are currently experiencing the impacts of approximately 1°C warming.
Since this declaration, we have seen growing public support for environmental action including the Youth Strike 4 Climate Action marches.
We're already seeing the consequences of climate change in the borough and around the world. Together we can make a difference if we act now.
Our strategy and action plan
You can download the Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan to read more about what the council is doing.
The current action plan is our first step. Our response to the Climate Emergency will be an ongoing conversation with organisations, businesses and residents within Hastings and beyond, continuing to engage and learn as new challenge and new opportunities arise. In addition, we will continue to lobby central government to significantly increase powers to drive significant change locally, and for greater intervention by central government to reduce climate change and reduce dependency on unsustainable energy sources. We recognise that to achieve our ambition, Hastings not only needs action locally but from the government and the wider world.
There are actions that we can and will take to limit our own use of unsustainable energy sources and encourage others to do the same. This is, however, limited by available resources and the scale of government cuts that the council is having to cope with. Hastings Borough Council is committed to taking a firm lead on this and we want to achieve a carbon neutral Hastings.
The strategy is a town wide ambition, we want to create a shared vision which is not owned by any single organisation.
The strategy considers the direct sources of emissions from our use of energy in the town that are responsible for climate change. It does not consider the indirect source of emissions from our businesses and residents caused by the things we buy from around the world.
The strategy is a starting point and considers some of the ways to reduce the town's direct emissions. The strategy also seeks to work with partners to prepare for the impacts of climate change and adapt to extreme weather events as a result of climate change, which are expected to increase in the future.
What we have been doing
We have been busy since passing the climate emergency developing a climate change strategy and action plan.
- Setting up a Climate Board to ensure progress is monitored and that all new projects, policies, and programmes consider the impacts of climate change
- Opening The Bale House, a brand-new visitor centre at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, which is the first public straw bale building in Hastings
- Lobbying government for additional resources to help deliver the ambition of the plan and become a thriving environmentally friendly place to be
- Launching awareness campaigns to encourage the community to take action to help the environment thrive
- Installing solar panels on the roof of our main council offices at Muriel Matters House so we can produce some of our own electricity
- Encouraging recycling in the borough through My Hastings
- Improving street-cleaning services to reduce environmental waste and discussing with Biffa the town's domestic waste contractor the need to switch their fleet to non-fossil fuel vehicles
- Reviewing the council's vehicle fleet and identifying opportunities to replace with Electric Vehicles
- Supporting community beach cleaning events
- Encouraging residents to get a free Warm Home Check carried out by Warm East Sussex and to apply for the Solar Together group solar panel buying scheme
- Updating Electric Vehicle charging sites and also expanding the town's provision through grant funding from the Accelerated Towns Fund
- Commissioning expert research to understand the interventions we need to plan for to meet carbon neutrality
- Sharing the findings of our Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan with key partners to engage them in taking action to reduce their emissions
- Successfully applying for funding through the Green Homes Grant to retrofit and support the improvement of local homes, reducing energy demand and also addressing fuel poverty
- Developing the new Local Plan which considers climate change impacts on the town and supports greenhouse gas reductions into the future
- Commissioning a study to understand what a zero-carbon new housing development would need to consider
- Setting a baseline for the council's greenhouse gas emissions which will enable the monitoring of their own emissions.
In September 2020 AECOM consultancy and the council presented the climate emergency research findings to the Hastings and St Leonards Local Strategic Partnership. The recordings from the workshop can be found below.
Watch the recording and listen to the presentation to find out about where the town's greenhouse gas emissions from our use of energy arise form and the ideas about how we can plan to reduce them.
There is a lot more we are planning on doing as a council to tackle climate change. Details of this can be found in our strategy and interim action plan.
What we are doing