Wednesday of this week was the monthly meeting of the county’s CEE steering group. The group was set up in December 2019 to devise an Action Plan for the county to reach net zero by 2030. The group is led by Councillor Ellie Chowns, and attended by a number of local organisations including Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, Herefordshire Business Futures Forum, Herefordshire Green Network, Herefordshire Business Board, Brightspace, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, Herefordshire Extinction Rebellion, and the NFU. The plan is being developed by the Environment, Climate Emergency & Waste team at Herefordshire Council.

The work of the group, which meets monthly, is currently focused on developing understanding of the county’s carbon emissions and carbon reduction opportunities across transport, land use and buildings. The group is also exploring the county’s energy needs and its power generation capability. There is awareness that land use, core to our working lives in Herefordshire, has an important role to play in carbon management through carbon capture and sequestration.

Declaring a climate and ecological emergency is comparatively straightforward. Creating a plan to achieve that goal in a way that is deliverable and realistic requires the rethinking of many processes, and inevitably it can’t happen as quickly or smoothly as we would hope. HGN welcomes the initiative and the chance to participate. We see our role as one of support and challenge for this process, lobbying for the best possible outcomes for people and planet as this work develops. 

This month the group discussed updates from Herefordshire Council on the county’s CO2 emissions data. These show that transport is still our highest source of carbon emissions, followed by industrial and commercial fuel use and domestic gas – surprising in a county where so many properties are off gas grid. We also watched a presentation about the county’s waste strategy with some exciting opportunities ahead as changes come in from central government encouraging a more circular economy. Herefordshire Youth Council’s impressive Ambassador for Climate and Environment joined the meeting, and the group reviewed progress to date on work towards a county Action Plan.

Over the coming months as the development work on these themes completes it is planned that the group will seek local engagement on the content of the plan before its launch in December 2020. Work is being undertaken to consider how that engagement should take place in order to be most effective. 

HGN is keen to represent both the concerns and the expertise of our membership through this process, so if you have any issues, ideas or offers of support please do get in touch. 

The next group meeting will be in early September.