Council priority two A greener East Devon
Our commitment to addressing the climate change and ecological emergency is a key priority for the council. Our focus will be on achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 and taking care of and enhancing our built and natural environment in our towns and villages, countryside and coastline now and for future generations. The details of this work is included in our Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.
The council will change all its current working practices to reduce its carbon emissions to the minimum.
The objective for the whole district will be to work with all residents, businesses, and partners to:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings through low carbon development and retrofitting
- apply for funding to encourage energy reduction and promote green energy
- implement carbon offsetting schemes within the district
- reduce further the waste generated and increase the percentage of recycling
- prepare the community for climate change so we can all become more resilient
In recent times, we have seen the value of green and open space for recreation and health and wellbeing. We shall be implementing re-wilding, nature recovery and conservancy schemes to enhance our precious environment.
Green space in the Clyst Valley
Covid‑19 has resulted in changes to work and lifestyle patterns in the district. We need to explore and understand the impact of new ways of doing things, such as working from home and the impact of online meetings on carbon emissions.
We recognise the importance of working with others on this journey; we will work with partners and contractors, town and parish councils, businesses, visitors and community groups to support them in reducing their carbon footprint.
Greener East Devon for us also means placing the highest emphasis on the natural capital of our stunning environment – coast and countryside – and the value and importance of biodiversity within it. As custodians for future generations, preserving and enhancing our natural environment is key.
Rewilding project in the Broadclyst area
We want to provide a healthier, more beautiful natural environment that inspires, educates and involves residents and visitors to East Devon.
This commitment to greener East Devon comes at a price. It needs to be appropriately funded and resourced. However, we believe it to be essential for the future of our district.
Recently there has been a staffing shortage affecting our recycling teams, we have begun to address this and will keep it under review. We will also need to respond to any future contractual tipping point that could be triggered by further local property growth as this would lead to higher contract costs. We will also need to respond to anticipated government changes to the national recycling requirements that may affect our collection policy and costs.
Our priority actions for a greener East Devon
- Fulfil the actions and commitments in our Climate Change Strategy (aimed at reducing the council’s carbon footprint and that of our partners, contractors, businesses, communities, residents and visitors through green procurement, reducing carbon use in our supply chain and seeking to influence the businesses from whom we purchase) and update our Carbon Plan which will be the primary vehicle for delivering our intentions.
- Develop a Local Plan policy that protects the existing biodiversity and to improve and add to it significantly, to provide for communities to be more sustainable and provide improved interconnecting greener routes with cycle and foot ways.
Meeting high environmental standards
- Using the council’s investments and bank accounts to support the green economy.
Planning in our environment
- Work with landowners and developers to deliver habitat mitigation on-site with new developments or to provide mitigation close to the development site.
- Ensure that we are giving appropriate protection to our built heritage, including developing policies for the new Local Plan to continue to conserve and protect our listed buildings and conservation areas.
- Work with our communities to review our conservation area boundaries and their management plans, to develop a list of locally important heritage assets and progress the other actions in our Heritage Strategy.
- Develop planning policy to protect the nature corridors with new developments; protect and enhance our natural habitats, green spaces and the existing treescape across the district; increase tree planting and replacement schemes; review our tree management policies and promote best practice.
- Complete the review of the Playing Pitch Strategy and develop policies in the new Local Plan to protect existing playing pitches and support our sports clubs and communities to deliver new and enhanced facilities.
Promoting recycling and reducing waste
- Continuously strive to increase recycling rates and reduction of residual waste tonnages so we are amongst the highest recyclers nationally and the lowest council in England for residual waste disposal per household and continuing the promotion of the green waste collection service and home composting.
- Improve on street recycling including starting a programme of replacing older dog waste bins with dual mixed waste/recycling bins.
- Continue working with all district and unitary councils in Devon with a Keep Devon Litter Free campaign and other countywide recycling projects and explore ways to further reduce on street littering.
Protecting and enhancing our natural environment in coast and country
- Continue to develop our nature reserves including the award-winning Seaton Wetlands, and to work with landowners and groups on projects that will benefit to climate change and biodiversity net gain.
- Continue to work with partners to deliver the important Clyst Valley Regional Park.
- Address the risk of flooding and erosion by strengthening community resilience and extending flood prevention measures.
- Monitor carefully the progress of the Environment Bill 2020 and prepare appropriate plans to address the implications for East Devon District Council.