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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 20/06/2006
Climate Change



APPENDIX D
Waverley Borough Council

ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
– 20TH JUNE 2006

Title:

CLIMATE CHANGE
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

The overwhelming view of the scientific community is that climate change is a reality – it is already occurring and will continue to occur into the future. The costs to society, the economy and the environment, locally and globally, could be enormous. The UK Government is now encouraging all local authorities to sign the ‘Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change’ to publicly show their commitment to addressing climate change. A Climate Change Action Plan is also attached, which shows how Waverley is and will be meeting the challenge of climate change.
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Environmental implications:

There are numerous environmental implications associated with climate change. Signing the Declaration will show Waverley’s commitment to playing its part in addressing the causes of and impacts from climate change, which will include issues relating to energy use, water use and impacts on biodiversity. The associated Climate Change Action Plan shows how Waverley is addressing the challenges to the environment arising from climate change and the emissions that are contributing to it.

Social / community implications:

Climate change is likely to have some positive but mainly negative impacts on society, particularly regarding water supply and human health, both in Waverley and elsewhere around the globe. Some of these implications are potentially catastrophic. The Nottingham Declaration shows Waverley’s commitment to playing its part in addressing the causes of and impacts from climate change, and the associated Action Plan sets out the detail as to how the challenges of climate change will be met by the Council.

E-Government implications:

The signed Declaration and the Climate Change Action Plan will be made available on Waverley’s website, together with further related information on climate change issues.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no resource or legal implications associated with signing the attached Declaration. The voluntary, non-statutory nature of the declaration means that there are no sanctions if a Council does not deliver on a particular aspect of it.

There are also no direct resource or legal implications associated with the Climate Change Action Plan. All actions contained within the plan have already been included within existing budgets and work programmes . Some additional costs may arise if some actions are taken further, for example if options appraisals on renewable energy potential for any of Waverley’s properties result in the wish to install such technologies; however, these would be the subject of separate reports to Committee.

There are several partnerships in existence at local, county, regional and national level dealing with climate change and related activities. Waverley is already working in partnership with other organisations on a number of projects, as noted in the attached Climate Change Action Plan; additional opportunities for partnership working are also likely.
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Introduction and background

1. Climate change describes the changes in average weather patterns, such as rainfall, temperature and wind, occurring over a long period of time. The Earth’s climate is constantly changing due to a variety of natural causes. However, scientists have found that, in recent years, average climate temperature has risen far faster than would occur because of natural causes; they therefore conclude that this recent change in climate is man-made. The overwhelming view of the scientific community is that climate change is a reality – it is already occurring and will continue to occur into the future, although the exact impacts on weather patterns are still unknown.

2. Here in Waverley, climate change is likely to result in warmer average temperatures, so drier summers, wetter winters and less snow. Drought and flooding could therefore become more likely. There may also be impacts on local wildlife. Both positive and negative impacts on human health are likely.

3. Problems experienced elsewhere around the globe are predicted to include flooding from global sea level rise, drought, food and water shortages, the spread of disease, loss of wildlife, the possible melting of the polar ice caps and higher frequency of storms and other extreme weather events.

4. The costs to society, the economy and the environment from climate change could be enormous.

The Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change

5. The ‘Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change’ is a voluntary pledge to address the issues of climate change. It represents a broad statement of commitment that any council can make to its own community.

6. The Declaration was originally launched at a conference in Nottingham in October 2000; to mark the fifth anniversary of the Declaration it was relaunched in December 2005. The revised version was developed by several organisations, including the Carbon Trust, Energy Saving Trust, Environment Agency, Local Government Association and the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP). The new version is broadly similar to the original but better reflects current thinking on climate change.

7. The UK Government is now encouraging all local authorities to sign the Declaration to publicly show their commitment to addressing climate change. Over 100 local authorities have already signed the pledge, including those with respected reputations on environmental issues; locally, both Hampshire County Council and Woking Borough Council have signed the declaration.

8. The Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change is attached as Annexe 1 to this report. In signing the declaration, the Council would be giving a public commitment to play its part in addressing the causes and possible impacts of climate change.

Climate Change Action Plan

9. The Climate Change Action Plan, attached as Annexe 2 to this report, sets out how Waverley Borough Council is playing its part in addressing both the causes of, and possible impacts from, climate change.

10. Areas of Waverley’s work covered include:
Housing
Planning and Building Regulations
Countryside management and landscape
Household waste management and recycling services
Sustainable Community Planning
Emergency planning
Facilities management
Procurement
Staff and visitor transport
Promoting climate change issues

11. The actions listed in the Action Plan relate only to existing budgeted work already being progressed or to be undertaken in the short-term future. It is proposed that the Action Plan is reviewed after 12 to 18 months so that progress with the many short-term actions listed can be assessed. It is also proposed that the public and external organisations are consulted at that stage to obtain their views on the action undertaken by Waverley to date and their views on what action should be taken in future.

12. Detailed targets have not been set at this stage as the relevant data is currently not available. During the 12 to 18 month period of this first version of the Action Plan, monitoring systems will be set up to collect current, future and backdated data; this will enable progress with, for example reducing energy and water usage in Waverley’s offices, to be assessed.

Conclusion

13. Waverley’s signing of the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change and adoption of the attached Climate Change Action Plan will allow the Council to demonstrate that it is taking action to address climate change.

Recommendations

It is recommended that this Committee:

1. recommend to the Executive that the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change, attached as Annexe 1 to this report, be signed;

2. recommend to the Executive that the Climate Change Action Plan, attached as Annexe 2 to this report, be adopted; AND

3. requests Officers to produce a further updated Action Plan in 12 to 18 months from the date of adoption.
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Background Papers (DE&L)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
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CONTACT OFFICERS:

Name: Peter Maudsley Telephone: 01483 523398

E-mail: pmaudsley@waverley.gov.uk

Name: Susan Gilfrin Telephone: 01483 523448

E-mail: sgilfrin@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/o&s3/2006-07/116