Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “In the year since we declared a Climate Emergency, we’ve undertaken a great deal of work to develop an effective strategy - a key milestone in setting a clear and practical direction for climate action in Hampshire. It is the result of our research, engagement, and links forged with our key partners; and demonstrates our commitment to tackling this major challenge – both in terms of achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience.
“Our aim is to link together mitigation and resilience, demonstrate leadership and work with local communities. We want to set an example as an organisation and create a unified approach to taking real action.”
Hampshire County Council has taken an innovative and long-term approach to reducing carbon emissions from its own estate and assets, achieving a significant reduction of over 43% in the past 10 years, the focus will now be on the wider Hampshire area. In addition to taking steps such as bidding for national funding where possible to reduce carbon emissions, specific County Council action to date has included:
- putting in place new transport infrastructure to improve air quality, and encouraging cycling and walking;
- reviewing and changing school menus to reduce carbon footprint
- upgrading and investing in buildings to make then more resilient to extreme weather conditions;
- using highways construction materials which are less carbon intensive;
- rewilding in country parks;
- tree and wildflower planting on highways amenity land; and
- working with the Forestry Commission, Forestry England, and Woodland Trust to assist with planting one million trees.
The Strategy sets out the priorities for action within each key sector, based on detailed local data. The headline data shows that the top three sources of emissions in Hampshire are:
- Industry & commercial – 38.89%;
- Transport – 36.98%;
- Domestic – 23.66%
Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, explains: “Through our work with the Carbon Trust, we now have a robust and detailed breakdown of Hampshire’s carbon emissions. Industry has emerged as the largest source of emissions in Hampshire, closely followed by transport and then the residential sector.
“As a local authority, the biggest influence we can have on emissions is in the transport and residential sectors, and this is where we will seek to focus our efforts while continuing to use our influence by working in partnership with the business community.”
Hampshire County Council’s Strategy sets two challenging targets for the County Council and wider Hampshire area: to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to build resilience to a two-degree rise in temperature. It recognises that there is a significant opportunity for the County Council and its partners to embed and maximise climate change and sustainability considerations as Hampshire starts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councillor Jan Warwick, Hampshire County Council’s Climate Change Advisor to the Executive said: “Climate change has already had a significant impact in Hampshire. Flooding and extreme weather events alone have caused damage to homes, infrastructure and our natural environment, with far reaching consequences for us as an authority and for our communities. Engaging with Hampshire’s communities and working with partners is key to ensuring this strategy is delivered and effective action is taken. We must embed climate change thinking into everything we do, and I am encouraged by how much significant activity is taking place across Hampshire.”