In March 2019 this Council committed itself to a Climate Emergency Resolution, committing ourselves to becoming a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030. The City of Durham Parish Council acknowledges the urgent need for global society to reduce carbon emissions and we acknowledge that “business as usual” is not an option in the face of the climate emergency and that society in its current form is unsustainable. We need to move to a net zero future.
Climate impact and our influence: using our powers wisely:
The City of Durham Parish Council has made a commitment to combatting the global climate emergency by encouraging a healthy natural environment, improving air quality, promoting zero carbon developments, managing land for nature and reducing waste, so promoting the health and wellbeing of our residents and reduced impact on the global climate.
We are now seeking to underpin all our activities with the principle of sustainable development, embodied within the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We recognize our role in helping to deliver these goals. We therefore wish to adopt the following Sustainability Principles, which will underpin all our work.
Some of these commitments can be met a Full Council level, as it is recognized the Council does not have the powers to achieve many of these aspirations but will have to work with partners to encourage their action. Some of the commitments will be better achieved through the Council’s Committees.
Sustainability Principles at Full Council level:
• Encourage the county council to take a wider view of the local governance by:
• revising the Climate Emergency targets in line with other councils – ie to be carbon neutral by 2030, including disinvestments from carbon fuel funds and from airport expansion and seeking for economic stability rather than economic growth;
• supporting the proposed Durham Climate Change Alliance to have greater responsibility as a high-level decision maker.
• a reduction of road building and support for low carbon transport infrastructure including improving communal transport;
• regeneration across the county not just focused on the city;
• new homes (and retro-fitting of existing) to be zero-carbon, fitted with renewable energy, nature friendly, and located close to public transport and amenities;
• all new taxi licences in the county to be restricted to electric vehicles;
• designated places for trees, creation of renewable energy, nature restoration and safe walking and cycle routes.
Sustainability Principles through Committees:
Actively support planning applications for new renewable energy in the area.
• Place conditions on all new planning applications: require every decision to be well informed on its climate impact and demand that the planning authority provides you with the appropriate information;
• Influence decisions on infrastructure and transport projects made by local authorities;
• Encourage increase in the amount of renewable energy generated locally & encourage use of electronic display showing how much energy has been generated and how much money and CO2 emissions saved;
• Request street lighting which uses well-directed LED lighting;
• Encourage car-sharing schemes for commuting and non-commuting journeys.
• Press for differential car-parking charges for fully electric, hybrid and high carbon vehicles and provide dedicated spaces with electric charging points;
• ban the use of idling carbon-using vehicles (eg ice cream vans and promotion vehicles) in the Market Place, Millenium Place and other central urban spaces in the County.
Ensure money is invested wisely.
• ensure any council funds are invested safely in low-risk sustainable banks or investment funds.
Provide a local guide that provides information on accredited local businesses including:
• renewable energy installers for solar panels, batteries, EV charging points and heat pumps;
• eco-friendly retailers, green builders and landscape companies;
Buy green and support bulk purchases
• reward businesses committed to a green future;
• encourage green electricity, help develop new renewable energy (eg Ecotricity, Good Energy and Octopus);
• buy green including any food provided at events, (mainly plant-based food and less but better meat and dairy);
• support local costs of installing solar PV & other renewable technologies such as heat pumps;
• bring together local homeowners and businesses to support lower costs if done in bulk, street by street, or area by area.
Encourage the formation of Climate Action groups in schools
• provide resources, training and advice to climate action groups;
• help them come together to demand national action;
Manage land for nature.
• allotments, bridleways, burial grounds, commons and open spaces and village greens can be managed to enhance nature, particularly through changing mowing regimes.
• Encourage support for “Buglife’s B-lines project” aiming to support the development of a network of wildlife friendly corridors;
• help people green the streets where they live.
• reduce pesticide (eg glyphosate weed killer) use and other harmful activities including using signage on council-owned land where you use peat-free compost.
Increase tree cover.
• Campaign to replace all trees that are lost and to double the city’s tree cover. (The Forestry Commission’s aim is for at least 20% tree cover) including encouraging and supporting landowners to take park in tree planting.
Use green transport.
• Encourage employees and councillors to walk, cycle or use public transport or car-share;
• Encourage the county council to provide bikes or electric bikes for staff for any work-related trips including zero-interest loans for buying bikes;
• Refund travel costs only for electric vehicles.
Recycle fully and minimise waste going to landfill or incineration.
• ensure all waste is recycled or composted;
• set-up community recycling facilities for hard-to-recycle items;
• set up a community composting scheme;
• minimization of waste by reuse (eg, reusable cups) & avoiding unnecessary purchases.