A working group is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.
On Wednesday 24th July 2019, Folkestone & Hythe District Council declared a Climate & Ecological Emergency. The Council then promptly set up a working group, to bring together a policy and plan for the council to deal with climate change at a local level.
Ten out of the twelve councils in Kent have declared a Climate Emergency.
Yet as can be seen from the chart only six councils publish their councils Greenhouse Gas Emissions data.
“Local authorities have an important and often over-looked role in cutting carbon emissions and solving the climate crisis, but most are doing far too little, and even the better performing ones can do much more.” says a Friends of the Earth spokesperson.
Dover District Council publish on their website their annual amount of Greenhouse Gas Emissions they directly or indirectly create across their estates and operations. They hold data as far back as 2008/09. Here is their data for the last five years.
The total tonnage of Co2 emissions produced by DDC in 2018/19 was 2,699 tonnes. This is the equivalent to CO2 produced for 6,697,270 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle, or fifteen trips to the moon and back. To remove this amount of Co2 from the atmosphere one would need to plant 44,629 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
The most widely accepted approach and the one accepted by all six councils who publish a Greenhouse Emissions report, is to identify and categorise emissions-releasing activities into three groups (known as scopes). The three scopes are:
Scope 1 (Direct emissions): Activities owned or controlled by a council that release emissions straight into the atmosphere. They are direct emissions. Examples of scope 1 emissions include emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, furnaces, vehicles; owned by the council.
Scope 2 (Energy indirect): Emissions being released into the atmosphere associated with a council’s consumption of purchased electricity, heat, steam and cooling. These are indirect emissions that are a consequence of a council’s activities but which occur at sources you do not own or control.
Scope 3 (Other indirect): Emissions that are a consequence of your actions, which occur at sources which you do not own or control and which are not classed as scope 2 emissions. Examples of scope 3 emissions are Cllrs driving to and from meetings, business travel by officers and Cllrs, customers visiting the council and waste disposal.
Folkestone & Hythe District Council do NOT produce a Greenhouse Gas Emissions report, so the public cannot see the amount of tonnes of CO2 they are producing each year.
However, under scope 3 – we known that Folkestone & Hythe District Cllrs and officers have driven just over 40,000 miles in 2019/20, generating 24.8 tonnes of Co2. To remove this amount of Co2 from the atmosphere one would need to plant 410 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or plant 32.4 acres of forest in one year. That’s enough trees to cover Radnor Park one and half times.
While the pandemic continues and Cllrs meet by video conferencing, the amount of CO2 they and officers produce will have fallen so far in 2020/21. However, one would expect as soon as meetings can resume in the council chamber, the amount of CO2 produced by Cllrs will rise.
13 months after declaring a climate and ecological emergency, Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Climate Change working group, chaired by Cllr Lesley Whybrow (Green), has failed so far to bring a policy or a plan to be scrutinised by Overview & Scrutiny Committee or to full council to vote on.
We hope when this does happen, it will include the recommendation that an annual report of Greenhouse Gas Emissions be produced by the Council annually, as it would be good for them to lead by example, as other council’s are already doing so.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful