Worthing Borough Council set to declare ecological emergency

Released: Tuesday, 07 March 2023

Worthing Borough Council is set to declare an ecological emergency to tackle the ongoing effects of climate change on the environment, wildlife and public health.

The move is an expansion of the Council's 2019 Climate Emergency Declaration and is part of its ambition to be fair, green and local in both policy and action.

A new Climate and Ecological Emergency Response Group, made up of local environment groups and community organisations, will be set up to identify opportunities to influence regional policies, find funding for local projects and support grassroots action.

New developments and refurbishments will be expected to incorporate renewable energy sources, green roofs and landscaping that offers shade and rainwater absorption, supporting the Council's target of making the borough net zero carbon by 2045. Developers will also be required to help increase biodiversity in the area.

Government funding has been secured to make the Council's buildings more energy efficient through improved glazing, insulation and solar panels, while the innovative Worthing Heat Network will supply up to 20 town centre buildings with air source heat pumps.

In a bid to make Worthing greener, a tree planting scheme called Trees for Streets is also set to be launched. Residents and businesses will be offered the chance to sponsor the planting of scores of new trees in their neighbourhoods. The trees will be planted by the Council's parks team, with residents encouraged to keep them nourished with recycled water.

Reducing air pollution and improving the quality of the water will be a big focus as will a survey into how the town can adapt to cope with increasingly frequent severe weather events.

Pushing for active travel improvements that encourage cycling and walking will become a top priority, along with affordable, reliable and green public transport. Increased EV infrastructure will be provided to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles.

Cllr Helen Silman, Worthing's Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency, said:

“We are in a climate and ecological emergency that affects every one of us.

“By working together with different organisations and community groups we aim to adapt to and mitigate the adverse consequences of climate change and relieve the crisis in the ecological sphere. By ensuring our principles of being fair, green and local underpin all of our decisions, we aim to make Worthing the greenest town on the south coast.”

Cllr Vicki Wells, Worthing's Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:

“It's sobering to know that according to Ordinance Survey research Worthing has the least amount of green space per person in the country. This impacts wellbeing, wildlife and infrastructure. The message from residents during the Big Listen Campaign was loud and clear - locals want a greener Worthing. The new Trees for Streets initiative hopes to remediate this by allowing easy crowdfunding of new trees in areas nominated by the public. The scheme is already hugely successful in Cambridge and Harringay and we hope to follow suit in Worthing.”

2021-12-01+PR23-025 - Looking vertically up into the green tree canopy and leaves (Pexels - felix-mittermeier - 957024)

(PR23-025)

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Page last updated: 20 February 2024

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