Climate emergency action heats up

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Surf Coast Shire Council took the next step on its commitment to addressing climate change with the endorsement of its Climate Emergency Response Roadmap.

At its November 2019 meeting the Council endorsed an approach to develop a three-part Climate Emergency Response Plan comprising:

  • A short term corporate action plan that will identify actions that can be implemented quickly and within existing resources.
  • A strategic corporate action plan that identifies initiatives that would require a longer timeframe, and possibly additional resources.
  • An approach for how Council will work with the community on community focussed action to support the climate emergency response.

The response plan follows Council’s declaration of a climate emergency at its August 2019 meeting.

Work has begun on the corporate plans with organisational wide staff workshops already having been held to identify quick wins and longer terms ideas. These will be worked up into a full list of actions.

Surf Coast Shire Mayor Cr Rose Hodge said the corporate response plans would provide an opportunity for Council to directly act on its own operations.

“In doing so we can set ourselves targets and commit fully to achieving them. This is worthy in its own right and gives us the opportunity to lead by example and inspire others to develop their own response plans.

“We also see an enormous opportunity to work alongside the community on local climate change mitigation and adaptation ideas.

“The community response will be exciting to see, and given we received a petition of more than 1,000 signatures seeking action on climate change, I’m sure there will be many people keen to be involved in local climate action.

The Council will set its own corporate energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, land use and biodiversity targets.

New actions will also build on work already being delivered by Council in areas such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, transport, waste, land management, open space operations and emergency management.

Amongst the Council actions already delivered or underway are:

  • Converting pedestrian streetlights to LED.
  • Installation of 230 kW of solar panels, a 1.5kW wind energy and 6.5kW battery storage.
  • Participation in a renewable energy buyers group (of more than 40 Victorian Councils) to purchase 100% of Council’s electricity from renewable sources by 2021.
  • New electric and hybrid vehicles added to Council’s fleet.
  • A flare installed at Anglesea landfill to convert methane emissions into less harmful carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Establishment of a Renewable Energy Task Force comprising community, industry and Council representatives.
  • Planning for a shire wide food organics collection service.
  • Creation of the Powered by Positive campaign which includes a website to support people to use less energy and install solar.
  • Delivered a solar bulk buy program in the community.
  • Use of drought tolerant species, recycled water and mulching in open space areas.
  • Supporting vulnerable clients to manage heatwave events.
  • Native vegetation management, pest plant and animal control.
  • Consideration of climate change in the Hinterland Futures strategy

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