In his latest message to residents Cllr Alan Jarrett discusses COP26 and climate change.
I hope this message finds you well.
Sunday (31 October) marked the start of the 26th United Nations annual Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) which is being held in Glasgow over the next couple of weeks.
The summit will bring leaders from around the world together to what is the most important environmental summit our country has ever held. During the summit, the UK is aiming to secure a global plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as from cars and factories, to zero by 2050.
As you may be aware, we declared a Climate Change emergency in Medway in 2019 and we are now working hard to achieve carbon neutrality across Medway by 2050.
Earlier this year we adopted a Climate Change Action Plan which sets out how the council is taking action to reduce emissions and respond to the challenges of climate change. The actions within the plan will be reviewed each year and local partners, and the wider community, will be able to have their say. I hope that you will take the opportunity to take a look at it.
Tackling climate change in Medway must be the responsibility of us all and we are keen to provide a space in which the community can come together to discuss how we can all do our bit. On Tuesday, 9 November we’re holding a Climate Change Community Conversation evening at Rochester Corn Exchange from 5.30pm to encourage residents to discuss climate change and start to identify a community action plan. If you just want to find out more about climate change or would like to share your ideas on what we can do in our communities, we would encourage you to register to come along. These conversations are extremely important as they will help us prioritise future work.
Some of the actions we’ve already taken to tackle climate change include:
- A £12million energy efficiency programme in council buildings.
- Continuing work on an ambitious £11million LED street lighting replacement programme, which is anticipated to save £20million in energy savings over the next 20 years.
- Installing 34 EV charging points in three council-owned car parks.
- Planting 13,842 trees across Medway thanks to funding from the Urban Tree Challenge Fund and establishing a Medway Tree Fund.
- Creating 30 miles of wildflower verges to allow a wider diversity of wild grass and flowers to thrive.
- Producing an animated video to raise awareness of air quality, its effects and what can be done to reduce the impacts, which has been promoted in schools across Medway.
- Continuing to expand and improve Medway’s cycle routes, now at 81 miles.
We can’t tackle climate change alone, we can all make small changes in our daily lives which will make a big difference including reducing food waste, turning off the taps when you brush your teeth, walking or using public transport more often and recycling correctly. Why not share how you and your families are doing your bit by posting on social media over the coming two weeks of the conference using the hashtag #SmallChanges and tagging our social media channels MedwayClimateChange.
Cllr Alan Jarrett
Leader of Medway Council