On Monday 10th February 2020 SOHAM TOWN COUNCIL declared a climate emergency.
In following the lead of Central Government, who declared an emergency on the 1 May 2019, Cambridge County Council in May 2019 and East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) on 17th October 2019 Soham Town Council now adds its name to a growing list of public bodies that are waking up to the scale of the crisis that faces us all.
TO CHECK OUT THE CARBON FOOTPRINT FOR YOUR AREA PLEASE click here
The Office for National Statistics has recently launched new UK climate change statistics portal, providing statistics on climate change and related topics, including energy use and emissions levels.
Soham Town Council recognises that to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and ideally by 2030, only 10 years from now, action not words are needed.
Soham Town Council aims to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and to make its net impact lower, neutral or ideally negative as soon as possible. It will consider its environmental impact in all its decisions and work with the Soham residents other tiers of government and neighbouring Town and Parish Councils to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as far as possible.
As part of its work, Soham Town Council will consider the effects climate change might have on the community and take steps to mitigate those effects and to support residents in coping with those changes that will be required. Climate change is not achievable by one individual’s effort or voice alone but remains a collective community responsibility.
Soham Town Council has already started its own work to reduce carbon emissions by:
- In 2019 assessing its own street lighting stock which uses inefficient energy bulbs currently providing 7 tonnes of C02 annually and reducing this tonnage to lower than 1 tonnes by changing to LED timed dimers.
- In 2019 encouraging dog owners to take their dog foul home and dispose of it via the domestic waste system. In 2017 the council decided not to place any further dedicated dog bins in the town but provide additional community bins into which bagged dog foul may be placed.
- At its November 9th 2020 meeting under minute 89.20 e) the town council signed up to the ECDC Charter to ban helium balloons and sky lanterns on its lands. For more information on this initiative please click here
- Look into the feasibility of providing street lighting in certain areas that is powered by by-product of dog foul decomposition. The additional benefit is that the composted material produced can be used as fertiliser for non-food plant production such as enriching common land soil, meadow lands as well as the flower beds in and around Soham
- In 2020 commissioned an Energy & Carbon report for all assets and activities Soham Town Council undertakes in the community and plans to implement those recommendations.
- At it February 2020 meeting under min 10/20 the council approved that it would no longer manage and those additional costs associated with road verges owned by Cambridgeshire County Council within the town to facilitate annual habitat creations to encourage wildflower and insects including bees and other pollinators.
- In 2021 hopefully purchasing an area of ground for additional community benefit including possibility of introducing and maintaining a wild meadow
- supporting the introduction of solar power generating farms on publicly and privately owned agricultural lands that are of poor food production quality and looking at the possibility of Soham being linked to this sustainable (renewable) recourse network.
- Looking to plant more trees in and around the town (Centre) of Soham as part of its Policy (tba) regarding carbon emission and to carbon offset both locally and (inter)nationally by aligning itself to a recognised NFP organisations such as www.carbonfootprint.com
- Undertaking ground works in and around byway 113 (Mill and Bracks Drove) to join Wicken via a cycle path (Due to be completed 2020). For more information on this project click here
- Supporting planning decisions that encourage green(er) housing and sustainable amenities such as electric car charging points, food macerators in kitchens allowing food waste to be processed via the sewage treatment processes rather than into landfill and supporting developments that demonstrate carbon, environment and ecological sustainability.
- Local schemes such as car sharing (pooling) clubs, community buses powered by local (community) or privately-owned solar farms and any other community led initiative that can further these aims.
In order to carry out its aims and ambitions, Soham Town Council will:
i) designate a Town Cllr who can spearhead and create a working group that can act as a hub to inform, energise and enable Soham Town Council, its committees and its staff to make greenhouse gas reduction a primary consideration in all its policies, strategies, decisions and actions;
ii) Make sure environmental costs are balanced with financial costs in its budgetary considerations; in this in 2021 it produced a Energy and Carbon report looking specifically at its activities and will be acting on these recommendations in due course.
iii) Work with its suppliers, partners and customers to gain as much support as possible for its aims;
iv) Give support to and receive support from communities within Soham and other local neighbouring communities, to achieve its aims;
v) Create or attract other community projects to assist with its aims;
vi) Call upon East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and UK Government to help Soham residents in achieving its aims.
Cllr Philip Lane was appointed as delegated Lead role in 2020 and at its November 2021 meeting under agenda item 140/21B full council approved that it was imperative for it to spearhead and take the lead in these important matters to reducing fossil fuel use and CO2 and other greenhouse gases emissions, to the potential of using land currently held and being currently acquired by the town council for community use and benefit, to those current volunteers and initiatives already happening at the allotment site(s) as well as use of residents own private gardens to encourage biodiversity and net gain.
Accordingly Cllrs Warner, Horgan, Aitchison and Ross were delegated with this wide ranging and diverse portfolio brief.