How you can help make South Tyneside a greener place
South Tyneside residents are being asked to share their views on climate change as council bosses press ahead with plans to slash carbon emissions.
In July this year, borough councillors declared a climate emergency and pledged to take all necessary steps to make the council ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030.
This included creating a climate change strategy, supported by a five-year action plan, by the end of March 2020 and becoming a champion for a carbon neutral future in the borough.
Today, South Tyneside Council launched a public consultation to help develop the plans.
Lead member for area management and community safety on the council, Coun Joan Atkinson, has urged residents to have their say.
“Climate change is an issue that affects each and every one of us so it’s important that we listen to people’s views on how we as a council can continue to cut our carbon emissions,” she said.
“We set ourselves an ambitious target to do all we can to make the council carbon neutral by 2030 and we have to decide how to prioritise our time and resources to achieve that. We would welcome any suggestions from residents.
“Council emissions account for less than 5% of borough-wide emissions, but we need to lead by example and look at our own operations first to see how and where we can make the greatest impact.”
Carbon neutral refers to a state where the net amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is reduced to zero because it is balanced by actions to reduce or offset these emissions.
Civic buildings, leisure facilities and street lighting account for 71% of South Tyneside Council’s total emissions, with libraries and council vehicles also having an impact.
According to the council, targeted projects have reduced emissions by 48% since 2014/15, with more schemes planned.
Coun Atkinson added: “We’ve already significantly reduced the council’s overall carbon footprint by delivering innovative energy solutions, replacing old and inefficient buildings with modern, centralised hubs and increasing our on-site electricity generation.
“We’ve invested £1.5 million in converting more than a quarter of our street lights to LEDs and we are committed to embedding renewable solutions and efficiency measures into our business, but we know there is still more to do if we are to meet our target.”
Public consultation will run for four weeks until Friday, January 17.
The survey contains 16 questions and explores both council plans and the role of the public around tackling climate change.
Residents can have their say at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/climatechange.
Hard copies can also be printed on request at The Word, Hebburn Central and Jarrow Focus.