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Council's commitment to the environment; STOCKTON Borough Council takes its responsibility towards the environment seriously and has committed to a wide range of eco-friendly initiatives, small and large, to play a leading role in protecting the planet for future generations. Copenhagen Treaty.

Stockton Borough Council is hoping the Copenhagen Treaty is successful in bringing the world community together to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change. Councillor Jennie Beaumont, Stockton Borough Council's cabinet member for the environment, said: "Copenhagen represents a real opportunity to make a huge impact on carbon reduction.

"I hope the leaders can agree on ambitious targets, as we have done here at Stockton. We're aiming to reduce our emissions year on year and are working hard to make this happen.

"The government of the Maldives recently held a cabinet meeting underwater, to highlight the growing threat to their country if climate change continues at its current rate. It really showed what's at stake and how it's up to all of us - governments, councils, businesses and the public, to get on board and make the changes to our lives and work to fight climate change."

The council's Carbon Management Programme continues to deliver, with a predicted 8.5% reduction in emissions this year through a range of energy saving measures.

Support to its Climate Change Schools continues and the council will shortly be providing real-time energy monitoring in around 20 schools thanks to a successful bid for regional funding. This will enable school staff to become more aware of the energy they are using and take action to reduce their carbon emissions on a day to day basis. It also provides an excellent educational tool for young people who are becoming very committed to achieving a more sustainable lifestyle.

The Covenant of Mayors The EU Commission is encouraging European cities and regions to commit to cutting their emissions by more than 20% by 2020 - more than current recommendations. Stockton Borough Council signed up to this in January 2009, joined by all the other North-east councils meaning this is the only complete region to sign up.

The council is required to submit a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) to the commission in January, outlining its plans for meeting this target. But as there is already an active Carbon Management Programme in place and a review of the Climate Change Action Plan has just been completed, the council is well on the way to producing the SEAP.

Electric vehicles The Care For Your Area street cleansing team has recently acquired two battery powered pick-up type vehicles - pictured below - which can now be seen out and about around the borough collecting bagged litter.

Councillor Beaumont commented: "We've been looking at introducing alternative fuelled vehicles for some time. These vehicles can carry out every task required of them without producing a single exhaust fume!" Government recognition The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recognised Stockton Council as the one council in England to have committed to a high level of action to prepare for, and adapt to, the impact of climate change. The Government introduced new measures to assess the progress local authorities are making to tackle climate change, in response to the devastating floods of summer 2007. Under these new measures, Stockton Borough Council is England's only authority to report a high level of commitment to climate change, which includes having a Climate Change Action Plan in place and prioritising action in key areas of service delivery.

Priorities include:. Protecting areas prone to surface water flooding. Creating a landscape to provide cooling green spaces, natural drainage and shelter from wind and rain. Ensuring staff are fully trained and able to help with emergencies caused by extreme weather events. Ensuring buildings and roads are able to cope with extreme weather events such as flash floods or heat waves Councillor Jennie Beaumont said: "Adaptation means altering our lifestyles, homes, schools, roads, workplaces and environment to cope with the effects of a changing climate. We've taken an active lead on the issue and I'm thrilled to see we are so far ahead of nearly ever other council in the country. Council officers have worked really hard on this project and it's great to see their work recognised by central government. "Even if we reduce emissions there is still a build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere which will continue to affect our climate for the next 40 years - so as well as everyone reducing emissions, its also important to adapt now to the inevitable climate change coming in the future."

. Further information: Visit for simple tips to cut down your carbon emissions and save money.

You can download the Council's Climate Change Action Plan at For general energy advice, visit


HOPING FOR SUCCESS: Councillor Jennie Beaumont, Stockton Council's cabinet member for the environment
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 16, 2009
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