First draft published of Dorset's 'Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy'

First draft published of Dorset's 'Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy'

Published by Maria Greenwood at 9:09am 16th July 2020. (Updated at 9:15am 16th July 2020)

Dorset Council has published the first draft of their Climate and Ecological Emergency strategy online. 

It has been released ahead of the Place Scrutiny meeting, which is due to be held on 23rd July.

In May 2019, Dorset Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency and since then have been devising a strategy to address Climate Change across Dorset.

Dorset Council's  say the plan will show 'a realistic and achievable approach to becoming carbon-neutral by 2040 - a decade before the Government's 2050 target.'

Photo of students outside Thomas Hardye school
Students at Thomas Hardye School in climate change protest.

Cllr Ray Bryan said:

"I'm confident that this strategy provides the foundation for an action plan that is realistic, ambitious and deliverable by 2040 and I'd like to thank everyone who has been involved in putting it together.

"It is vital to recognise that the world has changed dramatically since we declared a climate emergency over a year ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has left Dorset Council with huge financial challenges that need to be urgently addressed. Balancing what we need to do to address climate change with our legal requirement to provide statutory services is key.

"When our financial situation improves, when opportunities present themselves, or when new technology becomes available, I promise we will regularly return to this work to look for ways we can achieve our goals earlier. But in the meantime, I would ask everyone to read the strategy and let us know your views when we launch the consultation."

Extinction Rebellion protest at Dorset Council
Extinction Rebellion called on Dorset Council to declare a climate emergency.

Dorset Council plan to consult the public and key stakeholders in order to gather views on their proposed approach, as set out in the strategy later on in the year.

Recommendations from the strategy document include:

  •  Maximise renewable energy opportunities of all DC buildings; convert all off-grid DC buildings to heat pumps or biomass, convert heating of all on-grid buildings to hydrogen-ready hybrid heat pumps, install largest possible capacity solar arrays on every building.
  •  Construct large renewable energy installation on Council-owned land to meet Council's demand.
  •  Ensure Dorset Council supports sustainable development by prioritising social and environmental well-being as well as economic value.
  •  Carry out internal waste audits across our operations and create waste reduction plan.
  •  Increase biodiversity on identified areas of Council land, and increase area of Council owned or managed land for ecological & carbon sequestration outcomes.
  •  Change as many vehicles within Council fleet as possible to ultra-low-carbon replacements. Provide electric vehicle charging points and other ultra-low-emission fuel alternatives across the Council property estate.
  •  Look at new ways of working to reduce carbon emissions as people move from home to work.
  •  Encourage green business growth and tourism as Dorset becomes the clean air place to live and visit.