CPRE Wiltshire participates in Wiltshire Council’s emerging Climate Strategy
Following its workshop on green and blue infrastructure held last year, Wiltshire Council’s Climate Strategy Team has recently consulted organisations and environmental groups on ways in which reductions in carbon emissions may be achieved and the natural environment encouraged and enhanced. Such measures will improve our health and the enjoyment of our surroundings; and are vital if a serious attempt is to be made to address the World climate emergency. They will also help to reach the Council’s carbon neutral target by 2030.
Road transport is a key issue to address, since it causes by far the greatest proportion (45%) of carbon emissions in Wiltshire. Alongside reductions in carbon use, there will need to be strong action on environmentally friendly initiatives – including tree planting, and conservation of natural water resources – to gain overall improvement of and increases in our “green and blue infrastructure”.
In responding to the Council’s Climate Strategy questionnaire, CPRE emphasised the following essential measures that need to be addressed with considerable urgency:
- reduction in car use and increase in public transport coupled with no new road building;
- all new buildings to be energy-efficient and energy-generating; existing buildings converted to become energy efficient; and
- fully inform and engage Wiltshire residents in mutual aims.
Our suggestions for improving Green and Blue Infrastructure included the following:
- brownfield sites are both allocated and taken up first before any greenfield sites; with all agricultural land protected against built development;
- new housing is well-spaced-out with gardens, and street trees that will give height and shade i.e., not just small ornamental trees and exotic planting;
- edge-of-town housing is kept to a minimum and low in height (one or one and a half storeys), with varied styles and roof-lines, interspersed with gardens and trees;
- trees in towns are replanted where lost and new planting is undertaken in streets, car parks, on road verges and in open spaces;
- existing roads are well maintained;
- battery installations are on brownfield/industrial sites, not in the open countryside;
- energy-generation by wind/hydrogen/energy-efficient and energy-generating buildings (including use of solar tiles) instead of acres of solar panels on agricultural land which could otherwise be used for growing food;
- 100% easy/convenient recycling of household rubbish; and
- non-plastic use for packaging etc.
Green and Blue Infrastructure and Climate Strategy Consultation documents should be ready this autumn. We have asked the Council to ensure that they are prepared and consulted upon in tandem with revision of the Wiltshire Core Strategy which sets out the planning policy framework for the county. CPRE will be taking part in the consultations and urges others to do the same. These important documents will set development aims and policies for the next decade at a time when they will be critical for the future, not only of our county but also, in part, for our country and the World.