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Climate change

Folkestone & Hythe District Council declared a climate emergency along with many other councils in 2019 and a budget of £10m has been set aside for initiatives which will help the council hit its net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

More information about the motion can be found on our website by clicking here

Solar Together Kent

This is a collective solar PV buying scheme supported by Kent County Council. It allows residents and small businesses to install solar panels on their homes and businesses at an affordable price. Folkestone and Hythe residents can register to take part in the scheme.

What is climate change?

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.

What is the council doing?

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.

The council is already taking steps to reduce the council's carbon footprint including:

◼️ Planting 900 trees across the district in 2019/20 including small, native and semi-medisumature trees

◼️ Installing a network of electric vehicle charging points across the district, including charging points in the council's own Civic Centre car park

◼️ Planting wildflower areas and managing land to promote biodiversity

◼️ Reducing strimmer use and pesticide application around trees and obstacles where suitable. Discussion is also taking place about trialling alternatives to pesticides

◼️ Purchasing battery operated grounds maintenance equipment where suitable to replace petrol powered equipment

Reducing carbon emissions for the district

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.

What can you do?

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.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

There are various ways that Folkestone & Hythe residents can help to reduce their carbon footprint. These include:

◼️ Recycling is one of the most important contributions that can be made

◼️ Insulating your home to keep warm in winter and cool in summer

◼️ Getting a compost bin where garden trimmings and vegetable peelings can be recycled and used in the garden or use our garden waste service to get rid of grass cuttings and leaves

◼️ Collecting rainwater in a water butt and using it to keep the garden looking healthy

◼️ Planting insect and bee friendly flowers in the garden and considering carefully the need to use certain pesticides

◼️ Considering alternative ways of travel

◼️ Car-share your journey

◼️ Walk or cycle locally - try www.click2cycle.com for riding around Folkestone and Hythe

◼️ When replacing a car consider an electric or hybrid vehicle

◼️ If travelling long distances, use public transport if possible

◼️ Reduce air travel

Find out more about alternative ways to travel in Kent at kentconnected.org  

Get involved locally

◼️ Hythe Environmental Community Group aims to help people reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, reduce excess waste, improve the recycling of what waste they do produce, improve the visual impact of the area and increase their appreciation of the areas flora and fauna.

◼️ Plastic Free Hythe and Sandgate is a community network tackling single-use plastics.

◼️ Say No to Plastic is a group which shares discoveries on how to reduce plastic waste.

If you would like to add a community group to this list or would like more information about reducing carbon emissions please contact climate@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

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