Draft Climate Change Action Plan gets its first viewing
Today the Council discussed the first draft of its Climate Change Action Plan.
At the council meeting on 3 July Councillors committed to accord urgency to developing a climate change action plan. Initially, the aim was to produce a draft plan within three months, but this timeframe was extended to accommodate the election and incoming new council.
Chairman Nicol Horrell said it was important that all councillors were involved and understood the Council’s commitment to applying best practice and science to its responsibilities relating to climate change.
“Taking action to address climate change impacts now and in the future is a priority for this council. We are committed to making a difference in our business and doing the same for Southland.”
The Council’s draft Climate Change Action Plan is being developed in two parts. The first part is focused on what Environment Southland can do, particularly in its day to day business. The second part takes a regional approach, which the Council is working on with the other councils.
The draft plan presented today related to the first part. It identified a wide range of actions. Some of these included initiating a full engineering review of the Waihopai flood management scheme, upgrading the Stead Street pump station, developing a stocktake of actions that can be undertaken within existing budgets, design and implementation of an emission reduction programme across all of the Council’s operations.
“Our Climate Change Action Plan will continue to evolve, but we aren’t waiting to act. We already have some initiatives underway such as transitioning to hybrid and low emission vehicles.”
Work is also underway on developing the regional climate change actions, through a cross-Regional Working Group. This collaboration started with the Southland councils jointly commissioning the Southland Climate Change Impact Assessment, which was endorsed by all four of Southland’s councils from May to July this year. This assessment provides data and addresses potential impacts of climate change on a range of components of climate, hydrology and coastal processes across Southland.
A Climate Change Action Working Group made up of Environment Southland councillors has been formed to work with staff on the development of the Environment Southland draft Climate Change Action Plan as it progresses. The appointees are Chairman Nicol Horrell and Councillors Robert Guyton, Eric Roy and Bonnie Mager.
“Environment Southland always takes a long term view with future generations in mind and that makes addressing the impacts of climate change vitally important.”