Hampshire County Council’s Action Plan started
Ray Cobbett and Philippa Grey represented Havant FOE at the kick-off meeting of the community Climate Action Team set up by Hampshire County Council (HCC) after their declaration of a Climate Emergency in the summer. Havant FOE were one of numerous groups invited from throughout the county which are active climate change campaigners.
Specifically, the objectives of the event held in Winchester Library were to;
- To identify and engage with relevant community groups and community organisations
- To provide an opportunity for community groups to highlight their priorities and how these can be incorporated into the Council’s strategy and action plan
- To begin to map existing activity across Hampshire in this sector and understand the support that community groups can offer in delivering against priorities
- Facilitate future working between community groups and with the Council.
There was a broad consensus on the long list of action areas. Further analysis suggests however that renewable energy generation, domestic energy efficiency, data collection and progress measurement are on the list of many groups. Priorities differed across the groups with some strongly in favour of renewables and local energy cooperatives (heavily influenced by Basingstoke) with Havant FOE picking out biodiversity, flooding and the Local Plan. A full report is available on request to [email protected]
Rivals Clash Over Tree Targets
A bidding war has broken out between Conservative and the Lib Dems, over the number of trees each of them wants to plant yearly during the next parliament. For the Conservative its 30,000, the number recommended by Climate Change Committee while the Lib Dems offer is 60,000. Labour say they will follow the science but no target has been set so far. Cynics will point out that previous targets have been missed by a mile so what’s the point?
A mature horse chestnut tree, for example, averagely mops up about 7 of the 10 tonnes of carbon each person in the UK produces and that as well as other vital services trees provide, it is a powerful reason for a massive expansion in planting thousands more to offset global warming. Havant’s tree cover is only 9% less than the UK’s national average which is one of the lowest in Europe.
Can Development Be Greener Than Farming?
Havant FOE members made up most of the five local residents who attended a meeting of the Havant councils Operations and Place Shaping Board to discuss nitrate run-off into the Solent. Representatives from Southern Water, Environment Agency and Natural England attended to brief elected members. A report of the meeting is available from [email protected]
One of the more surprising-even counter intuitive-nuggets of information to emerge was that development of green field sites produces significant less nitrates per hectare than modern farming with its heavy reliance on nitrogen-based fertilizers. Also, brown land, such as the former gas works site next to New Lane railway crossing, can often be hugely expensive to remediate. The distinction between green and brown land, it was suggested, should be replaced by agricultural and non-agricultural land and water consumption should be limited to 110 litres per person per day.
Havant’s Air Quality is ‘very good’
Local authorities are required to monitor air quality in their districts, particularly nitrogen dioxide from traffic. Havant’s 2019 report has just been published and its executive summary says” Air quality within the Havant Area is generally very good. “This Annual Status Report shows that the air quality objectives are likely to be achieved for all pollutants at relevant locations throughout.
The Borough and many residential areas are likely to enjoy excellent air quality with local pollutant concentrations less than 50% of current air pollution objectives.” However, there are rising concerns around congested road junctions, Traffic gets squeezed along narrow roads with tall building on each side thus elevating kerbside traffic pollution.
The B2149 / A3023 transport link between Havant Town Centre and Hayling Island is considered to remain a location where the annual mean objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) risks being breached. The report’s conclusion that there are no immediate concerns over air quality in the Havant area that high emissions traffic such as commercial vehicles are not increasing. Improving public transport, the growth of electric cars and the provision of more EV charge points will all be helpful. The full report is available on request to [email protected]
Havant Repair Café Planned
Earlier in the year the group heard a presentation from the team running Portsmouth Repair Café. People with be familiar with the Mobius Loop symbol and mantra to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. How much stuff is thrown away because of a fault that could easily be repaired and think how it would help to conserve the planet’s diminishing resources?
The answer of course is to launch a Repair Café, run by volunteers offering a free service to the community. And this is what is being proposed for Havant by a group of enthusiasts who plan to meet in the Meridian Centre on Saturday morning, 30th of November.
A Change at the top
Friends of the Earth Chief Executive, Craig Bennett, will be moving on early next year to take up a new appointment as CEO of the nationwide Wildlife Trust. In a statement Craig praised the work of local groups adding,“It has been a real honour to serve as Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth and I will always remain a passionate supporter and friend of this extraordinary organisation.”
Just before parliament broke up the government announced a moratorium for the foreseeable future of exploratory and other fracking in England (while at the same time approving a new coal mine in Cumbria)
Most campaign groups have given the move a guarded welcome but stress they would prefer an outright ban. The Kimmeridge Ridge running across Hampshire is more suited to drill for oil rather than shale gas although fracking technology can be used for both.
Dates for the Diary
Monday 25th November
Climate Hustings at Winchester United Reformed Church, Jewry Street, features introduction by Sir David King, former Chief Scientist to the government and climate change expert.
Tuesday 26th November
‘Geography for Parents’ organised by the Head of Geography, Paul Turner from Bedales School, Petersfield. Aims is to challenge parents on how much they understand about climate change.
Friday 29th November
Schools Strike in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth organised by Friends of the Earth & Extinction Rebellion, also featuring open mike speeches and stalls.