Folkestone & Hythe District Council declared a climate emergency along with many other councils in 2019 and a budget of £4.75m has been set aside for initiatives which will help the council hit its net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
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Climate change occurs when changes in the earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that remain in place for an extended period of time.
Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as methane, create a 'greenhouse effect' in the atmosphere, trapping the sun's energy and causing the earth, and in particular the oceans, to warm.
We can all rise to the challenge of reducing our own carbon footprint. This is the amount of carbon dioxide and other gas released by an individual's lifestyle or by an organisation into the atmosphere which cannot be absorbed by the reducing number of trees and other vegetation.
Following the declaration of the climate and ecological Emergency, a low carbon and sustainability specialist was appointed to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Working Group which is in the process of producing a Carbon Action Plan.
In order to work out the most effective measures to be included in the action plan, Laser Energy was commissioned to produce a report to show the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions for the council's own estate.
This report showed that the council's use of gas was particularly high - partly due to the number of sheltered housing blocks in the area. It also highlighted significant emissions from the council's grey fleet (staff cars).
Laser are now working on an options appraisal which will be considered by the working group in September. Any measures proposed will need to be assessed for cost and impact on the council's emissions before being included in the plan.
The Carbon Action Plan will be a living document with regular reviews.
A presentation about our grounds maintenance team's environmental responsibility, including its biodiversity work, was shown to the climate and ecological emergency working group. View the slides.
We're exploring the demand for electric vehicle charging points across Folkestone & Hythe. This will help us to plan future charging locations.
If you own, or are thinking about buying an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid, you can suggest a location for an on-street charging point.
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The emergency declaration also commits the council to play a leadership role to help the local community meet a 2030 carbon neutral target.
Council officers have used the Scatter tool to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions for the district as a whole.
This showed that for scope 1 (direct emissions) the most significant sources were road and residential buildings. For scope 3 (other indirect emissions) aviation and road travel are the most significant sources.
Whilst it is recognised that the council has limited direct influence over these factors , the working group will consider ways in which the council can support local residents to reduce their own carbon footprint and how the council can lobby the government and Kent Council Council on these issues.
Our Carbon Action Plan was adopted by Cabinet on 24th February 2021. It includes a baseline of the Council's current carbon emissions and sets out 33 actions to continue Folkestone & Hythe District Council's journey to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2030.
There are a range of actions, some of which can be tackled quickly and others which will take longer to implement. They focus on six key areas - energy; behaviour change; transport; water; contracts and biodiversity/green space.
You could start by calculating your own carbon footprint to see what impact your home, appliances and travel are having. You can also see how this compares to the national averages.
There are various ways that Folkestone & Hythe residents can help to reduce their carbon footprint. These include:
Find out more about alternative ways to travel in Kent at kentconnected.org
The Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) programme is supported by the European Regional Development Fund to provide a free business support programme in the south east. LoCASE has announced that their follow-on programme has been approved by Government which means they can help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with grant funding up until Spring 2023.
For more information visit the LoCASE website.
If you would like to add a community group to this list or would like more information about reducing carbon emissions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org