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Climate change: Bishop's Stortford Town Council recognises 'severe' threat with new strategy

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Climate change was top of the agenda for Bishop’s Stortford Town Council with backing for a new environmentally-friendly strategy.

Members of its finance and policy committee voted unanimously to back a raft of measures to cut the council’s carbon footprint and recommended that the full council adopt the green plan.

The council’s Conservative leader, Cllr John Wyllie, and Liberal Democrat member Louie Corpe, who was elected in May, collaborated on the policy with chief executive officer James Parker.

The Old Monastery in Windhill, home of the Bishop's Stortford Town Council offices. Picture: Vikki Lince (17518515)
The Old Monastery in Windhill, home of the Bishop's Stortford Town Council offices. Picture: Vikki Lince (17518515)

Its central plank is that: “Bishop’s Stortford Town Council recognises the severe threat posed by man-made climate change and other man-made activities which contribute to the degradation of the natural environment, and is committed to taking concrete and measurable action to reduce the environmental impact caused by its activities and to influencing others, to the extent that it is able, to do likewise.”

Mr Parker analysed the council’s environmental impact and found that its consumption of energy was roughly equivalent to that consumed by 16 people in the UK, while its consumption of water was similar to that of 100 people.

The council’s allotments – where 500 holders use mains supplies to irrigate plants – and the splash pool in Castle Gardens are responsible for the bulk of water demand.

The Old Monastery, Windhill. Picture: Vikki Lince (17518535)
The Old Monastery, Windhill. Picture: Vikki Lince (17518535)

The policy will focus the council on reducing its use of energy, water and non-recyclable materials while exploring the use of solar panels, electric vehicles, improved insulation and heating control systems, more home working and “intelligent control of energy use at the paddling pool”, where two pumps currently operate around the clock to keep the water clean during the summer season.

The committee agreed that an evidence-based strategy with continual evaluation of impact was the best way forward.

Mr Parker told the members: “I’m recommending a scientific approach.”

He warned that “going at it like a pet project” would “achieve the appearance of action with very little impact”.

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Cllr Corpe said: “I totally agree that a scientific approach where we approach things in a quantitative way is the right way way forward. Without being able to measure, there is no way to minimise.”

The council will tackle “low-hanging fruits” for “easy wins” before drilling down into its procurement process.

Members’ next step is to come up with a premium they are prepared to pay for more expensive green goods and services.

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