Local News

Step forward for council’s climate plan

Test Valley Borough Council’s plans to tackle climate change have come a step closer after the authority’s climate action plan was unanimously supported by councillors.

At a full council meeting on 10 June, the action plan that sets out the authority’s recommendations to reduce its carbon footprint was given approval by all present elected members.

The plan was put together during a six-month period and was approved by the authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee this March. Among the proposals were to plant as many trees as possible over the next few years and reducing paper output by offering a number of digital alternatives.

Another of the recommendations announced in March was the need to utilise video conferencing. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, this step has already largely been taken.

Environmental portfolio holder, councillor Alison Johnston, said: “I would like to thank council staff, elected members and the wider communities and businesses who have all contributed to this document. This is a living document; it needs to be.

“Reacting to the current pandemic has, rightly, been the council’s focus over the past few months. As we work through the recovery phase, we have the opportunity to adapt to new, low carbon ways of working and living. We must seize this chance and continue working together as we push forward with the next steps of this action plan.”

The council has already taken multiple steps to help tackle climate change in the borough, including the installation of solar panels on council buildings and using more environmentally-friendly printing. electric vehicles to its fleet. The authority is also looking at opportunities to replace the current fleet vehicles with electric or alternative fuel options.

Chair of OSCOM, councillor Zilliah Brooks, said: “This is a pivotal time in our communities but with the right support, we can make a truly lasting difference to our environment.

“I’m very proud of this document and I’m glad that the council’s cross-party support has enabled this to be agreed and allow us to move forward.”