Observer column: 4 February 2022
This month, The Climate Coalition is calling on all of us to Show the Love and show decision makers in the government that we must see real, rapid and fair action to tackle the climate emergency and the nature crisis. You can find out more about this on their website. We continue to work hard on addressing the climate emergency and are committed to reaching our target of being carbon neutral for 2030 in our town, but we have a chronic lack of funding, and our powers are very limited. The government must enact the legislation that is needed and provide the funding to tackle this emergency.
So many people in our town are making changes to reduce their carbon footprint and you can find some suggestions on our Climate Change pages.
Our latest Climate Action Report detailing the work we have done to make progress towards being carbon neutral will be going to the Cabinet meeting in March. We will continue to lobby the government, our partners, and major companies, to do everything in their power to reduce their emissions and the damage to the environment.
We were very disappointed to hear that government funding for the Bus Back Better scheme has been reduced. Making public transport more environmentally friendly through electric buses is a key part in reducing carbon footprints. In Hastings transport and travel accounts for 29% of our carbon footprint and tackling this will be a big step towards us meeting our carbon neutral target.
We still have very high levels of COVID-19 in our town so let's keep socially distancing, wearing face coverings in indoor public places and washing our hands regularly. Face coverings are required for entry to council buildings, including Muriel Matters House, the cliff railways and Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.
Vaccination is the best way of protecting ourselves from serious illness caused by COVID-19 and we have two permanent vaccination sites in our town - Hastings Town Hall and the Hastings Centre. You can walk in for your first, second or booster dose at any time during their opening hours. You can find more information on our website.
We continue to work with the NHS to make sure everyone can get their jabs and Saturday February 12 will be a day of vaccination pop-ups in various locations. It will be a chance to ask questions and get more information as well. Please check our social media and website for full details and keep your eyes open for leaflets and posters advertising the day. If you have friends or family who still need to get vaccinated, please let them know.
The closing date for applications for the government's grant for hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses who have been affected by the Omicron variant is Monday February 14 and the Additional Restrictions Grant closes on March 14 or earlier if the money has been given out.
Full details of both these schemes are on our website so please check the criteria and apply if your business qualifies. We are keen to pay out to as many businesses as we can but have been given limited funds and are not expecting to receive any more money so get your applications in as soon as possible.
Let's keep supporting our local businesses wherever we can to support them and our local economy.
Council Leader's column