Climate Change Strategy
A Climate Change Strategy For Woking
Concepts such as climate change and global warming can be hard to relate to as we go about our everyday business. But it's an undeniable fact that for the past few years in all parts of the UK -- our own Borough included -- people have had to struggle against hurricane force winds, fallen trees and floods that have devastated homes, schools and businesses.
Woking is believed to be the first UK authority to have adopted a comprehensive Climate Change Strategy on a scale that is likely to meet The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution targets of 60% reductions of CO2 equivalent emissions by 2050 and 80% by 2100. To download a copy of Woking's Climate Change Strategy in PDF format, click here.
For the South East of England it is predicted that over the next 80 years there will be an increase in average annual temperatures of between 2.0 - 2.50 C and 4.0 - 4.50 C and decreases in annual average rainfall of 0 - 10% This masks seasonal variations predicted -- wetter winters and drier summers with rain increasing by 20% in winter and a decrease of between 8% - 23% in summer. So we can expect a changing pattern of more extreme weather with floods, and droughts becoming "normal".
There are various international and national targets set to address the issue of Climate Change. The government's Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has predicted that the target reduction in greenhouse gases, expressed as CO2 equivalent emissions, should be 60% by 2050 and 80% by 2100.
If action is not taken to reduce greenhouse gases (CO2 equivalent emissions) within 30 years there could be an irreversible effect on the Global Climate. This is why Woking Borough Council has taken a lead and developed its own Climate Change Strategy for the Borough -- taking the view this is not something to be ignored -- we all have to take action now.
This Climate Change Strategy for Woking aims to build on the Council's current environmental success and to take a carbon neutral approach to the future of services and activities within the Borough. The strategy sets out a range of options which aim to reduce CO2 equivalent emissions and take further measures to enable the habitats within Woking to adapt to Climate Change.
In 1990 it was estimated that Woking produced 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year -- the aim is to reduce this output to 200,000 tonnes per year by 2090. This reduction can be implemented in a variety of ways. Some of these are already in place and will be developed further in the future.
A first step towards putting the Strategy into action has been taken with the publication of guidance on Climate Neutral Development. The guidance encourages developers to design and build new development which does not contribute to the causes of climate chnage, and is resilient to future changes in climate.
Some of the measures that will be implemented as a result of the Climate Change Strategy:
- Use of sustainable combined heat and power sources of energy in the borough -- discouraging the production of CO2 type gases.
- Increased use of photovoltaic and renewable energy.
- Incorporating, at the next review of the Local Plan, planning policies which will ensure that new development in the Borough reduces CO2 equivalent emissions of greenhouse gases (ie 80% less than its impact would have been in 1990).
- Introducing a local award scheme to recognise any developments that incorporate features which contribute to the long-term aim of sustainable development, including reducing CO2 equivalent emissions and mitigating against climate change.
- Adopting a target of purchasing 100% of the Council's electrical and thermal energy requirements from sustainable sources and 20% from renewable sources by 2010/11.
- Pursuing, in the management of Council land, the use of irrigation systems that integrate the re-use of storm water.
- Adopting best practice in the management of the Council's own land and buildings and working with the Environment Agency, Thames Water and developers to create wetlands in or near existing floodplains, with a view to enhancing capacity of the floodplain.
- Exploring means of creating environmentally friendly energy from waste and encouraging the avoidance of landfill.
- Maintaining the Home Energy Conservation Act target of 30% improvement in energy efficiency by 31 March 2006.
Tackling Climate Change in the South East
Woking Borough Council is a member of the South East Climate Change Partnership. The Partnership includes public, private and voluntary sector organisations who are working together to investigate, inform and advise on the threats and opportunities arising from the impacts of climate change in South East England and to promote adaptive planning in the region.
For further information or a hard copy of the Climate Change Strategy contact:
- Woking Borough Council
Telephone: 01483 755 855