secretary@essexlibdems.org.uk
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Carole Mulroney, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning confirms the Borough's commitment to the Climate Change Emergency

November 4, 2020 10:45 AM
Originally published by Southend Liberal Democrats - Working For You

At the Council meeting on Thursday, 29th October 2020, Carole Mulroney, Lib Dem Councillor for Leigh Ward and Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning confirmed the Borough's commitment to the Climate Change Emergency.

Carole said "The Environment crosses all departments in the Council and in our lives and so I hope you will agree that there is a lot going on despite the current pandemic. So watch this space.

I was asked to confirm that The Climate Change Emergency declared by the Council on 17 September 2019, remains a high priority for action and that as a coastal town, we must be alert to the consequences of not being proactive to make changes to our use of carbon based products and demonstrate leadership in our Town.

What actions are the Council taking?

The Council is currently drafting a series of long-term strategies that firmly embed and integrate both climate mitigation and adaptation into our decision-making process. These include:

  • Climate Resilience and Urban Greening Strategy 2021-2025;
  • Net Zero Strategy 2021-2025;
  • Waste Strategy;
  • Local Transport Plan;
  • Local Plan.

As a result of the Climate Change Emergency and to support our Climate Emergency Declaration the Council has drawn up a Green City Action Plan. It presents an exciting opportunity for Southend to deliver upon its ambitions to become a 'Green City' prioritising five key areas to address the issues namely,

  • Climate Leadership and Strategic Approach;
  • Pathway to Net Zero Carbon;
  • Building Climate Resilience across Southend;
  • Future Generations, and
  • Building Partnerships to Establish a Green City.

The Green City Action Plan will be published in early 2021. We are one of the few local authorities in England that has committed to publishing an annual Sustainability Report which provides an update on the progress that we have made over the past 12 months. A copy of the 2018-2019 Report can be viewed at:

https://www.southend.gov.uk/downloads/file/4676/low_carbon_energy_and_sustainability_annual_report

The new National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy (FCERM) for England was launched in the summer of 2020. Its long-term vision is to achieve a nation ready for, and resilient to, flooding and coastal change.

This resilience is key and is the corner stone of all flood & coastal schemes going forward. This includes developing the authorities Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) Policy. The Council is also undertaking a catchment study in partnership with the Environment Agency, Anglian Water and Essex County Council. This will look to deliver a reduced flood risk from the brook to the surrounding roads and properties.

The New Local Plan will also take on board the aim and objectives of the new FCERM strategy. The Council's Local Flood Risk Management Plan and Surface Water Management Plan will be updated in 2021/22 as well as collaborating with the Environment Agency to update their National Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs).

Some of the key projects now underway are:

  • SPONGE - concentrating on sustainable drainage solutions;
  • SARRC - using nature-based solutions to protect our shorelines from sea level rise and support flood risk management;
  • Remedy Smart Local Energy Solutions Design - creating a pathway for a new localised energy system targeting decarbonisation and substantial cost reductions for households;
  • Cool Towns and Nature Smart cities - examining issues around heat stress and using Green Infrastructure to mitigate the extremes of climate change and improve health and well-being.

These are just some of the 60 plus projects currently being pursued working with a variety of partners both locally and internationally (France Netherlands and Belgium).

We have recently secured further funding to provide four schools with an urban greening programme (Interreg France (Channel) England programme), which will help deliver greener infrastructure on selected school sites in Southend. Supporting our schools is a priority action for the Green City Action Plan.

We were the first local authority in the UK to become a Founding Local Authority Partner to Better Planet Schools. It is an initiative led by the Young People's Trust for the Environment and provides completely free learning and education materials to primary schools in Southend. Each participating school has saved at least 12% of its energy use through their involvement in the programme. With the average school's energy bill being £31,000 per annum this has resulted in significant carbon and financial savings for our borough's primary schools.

This is a continually evolving task and commitment being made across all the various disciplines of the Council and will involve all parts of our communities ages and demographics.

There is also our current Tree and Transport Strategy updates.