HGN – our role in Herefordshire’s response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency

Hands holding model glass globe

In December 2019 Herefordshire Council invited a small group of people to join a steering group and develop the process of Herefordshire’s response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE). This group includes 6 members of HGN, including members of New Leaf, Extinction Rebellion, Brightspace and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust. The group also includes officers and members of Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Business Future Forum, and representatives of the NFU. The group meets once a month.

The group aims to get people actively engaged in creating a socially just and ecologically safe zero carbon future that will see Herefordshire thriving.

The purpose of the group itself is to steer and oversee the development of a new collaborative countywide Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Action Plan. The CEE Action Plan will aim to describe a process towards net zero carbon with a significant increase in biodiversity by 2030. An initial plan for the county, as the basis of further collaboration, will be published in December 2020, along with the establishment of a representative and accountable governance structure to support its delivery.

Technical approaches to achieve zero carbon are increasingly well documented, but if our work as a county is to be successful zero carbon approaches must give appropriate weight to economic viability, environmental protection and social equity.

This work must also feel meaningful in the context of our day to day lives, and supportive of the wellbeing and work of all people in Herefordshire. Given the effects of Covid, a focus on the health and thriving of people and planet is more relevant than ever, and we are exploring a number of tools and models to help us open up broad discussion locally to support this work.

Over the summer of 2020 the CEE steering group will be focusing on 5 core themes:

  • Energy saving in the built environment
  • Transport
  • Energy generation
  • Land use*
  • Community engagement

In order to develop a portrait of the way Herefordshire maps against these themes the CEE Steering Group will be inviting local people to contribute their time and ideas to this work. We hope to draw in a wide range of local stakeholders, aware that there is great expertise and ingenuity across the county that would significantly contribute to this work.

Stakeholders will be invited to get involved in a desk-based process of gathering understanding:

  • Understanding Herefordshire – mapping local issues relating to the 4 themes, including baseline emissions, ecological risks, opportunities / priorities, etc
  • Exploring models – including national and international advice on the theme itself and on successful ways of working
  • Understanding policy – including research on national policy that is already in place that might affect our work on these themes.

Alongside the desk-based work we plan to work via local dialogue, with a series of small and large web-based consultations and conversations exploring (for example) local activity and projects, local opportunities for collaboration, and opportunities for further local development of each theme with local businesses and communities.

We will be inviting stakeholders to come forward over the coming month. So please watch the HGN newsletter for more details.

*These four themes are highlighted in the Zero Carbon Britain 2019 Report (‘Rising to the Climate Emergency’) and are the themes we use in The Great Collaboration as necessary to achieve a Zero Carbon Herefordshire. Energy saving in the built environment and transport changes will be key to powering down our energy hungry lifestyles. Energy generation is of course our chance to ‘power up’ – making use of increasingly versatile and resilient renewable energy options. And land use, core to our working lives in Herefordshire, also has a vital role to play in carbon management, removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through natural carbon capture. Ensuring local biodiversity and the abundance of natural habitats is also an essential part of the future for our county.

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