In a meeting this month, leading councillors agreed with the proposal to invest in a renewable four-year energy contact for council buildings and operations, subject to approval by Full Council.

This commitment follows recommendation by the council's Environment Panel in line with its newly adopted Climate Emergency Action Plan.

"We all have a very important part to play in helping to tackle climate change," says Councillor Penny Plant, Cabinet Member for Environment and Chichester Contract Services at Chichester District Council.

"This year, our Environment Panel developed a Climate Emergency Action Plan, outlining key work that the council can do to help address this issue. Switching our largest energy contract to 100% renewable electricity and gas is one of the critical ways in which we, as an organisation, can reduce our carbon footprint.

"Carbon reduction is already a key focus in many areas of the council's work. New policies are currently being proposed to set standards for sustainable construction, energy efficiency and water usage in new developments through the Local Plan Review. Policies for sustainable drainage, flooding and wildlife corridors also form part of this work.

"The council's Air Quality Action Plan also aims to reduce carbon emissions through the development of new walking and cycling infrastructure and the installation of electric vehicle charging points across the district.

"Reducing carbon emissions is an urgent but complicated issue. However, we are confident that the implementation of our action plan, which sets out a carbon reduction target of 10% year on year until 2025 in the district, will have a positive impact on our residents, workers and visitors. We are in the process of recruiting a new Climate Emergency Officer, who will develop the plan for delivery this autumn."

Cllr Martyn Bell, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council, adds, "As a council, we are committed to taking whatever steps we reasonably can to address climate change within our buildings and the work that we do.

"Moving our electricity and the majority of our gas supply to renewable energy is just one of the ways in which we are trying to limit our environmental impact. Last year, we worked to remove single use plastics from our council premises and to encourage residents and businesses to reduce their use."

Cabinet members also recommended that further investigation be carried out into evolving procurement initiatives in the renewable energy sector, which could enable smaller commercial users to purchase energy directly from renewable energy producers in the near future.

Date of release: 13 March 2020

Reference: 3966