Local Friends of the Earth and Climate Action Groups in Hertfordshire response to the Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy
Friends of the Earth and Climate Action Groups across Hertfordshire have submitted the following response to the current consultation on Hertfordshire County Council Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy.
Our response welcomes the SHS, and we are pleased to see the commitment to making the council’s own operations net zero by 2030, and the recognition of the importance of tackling the decline in biodiversity as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
However, as currently drafted, we feel that there are areas of the SHS (and the associated action plan) that need to be significantly strengthened to meet the level of ambition that the current climate and ecological emergency demands, some key points being:
- The SHS should include not only long term goals for 2030 and 2050, but also short to medium term goals against which progress can be monitored.
- The current target in the SHS to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the county ‘before 2050’ is too weak and vague and should be replaced by a commitment to a 90% reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2040.
- Targets for improving wildlife and biodiversity should be aligned with recommendations from the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to manage 30% of land area for the benefit of wildlife. This applies to both HCC’s own land and the county as a whole.
- Targets for waste and recycling should aim to make the county a zero-waste area, where all “waste” material is minimised, reused or recycled (following a circular economy approach). Targets relating to landfill alone are not adequate.
- The SHS recognises the importance of monitoring and scrutiny (page 4) but needs to set out more clearly how this will be done in a way that is robust and transparent.
- A communication strategy needs to be developed as part of the SHS – not only to involve others in the development and delivery of action plans but to engage Hertfordshire residents and businesses with the climate and ecological emergency.
The SHS should commit HCC to lobbying the UK government for the resources and enabling actions it needs to deliver its objectives.