More electric vehicles, green spaces, returned to nature, houses made more energy efficient and a trawler ban allowing the restoration of kelp beds off the coast of Sussex are just some of the climate change initiatives outlined in a new report by the Greater Brighton city region.

The report concludes that Greater Brighton is showing leadership on a range of climate issues, members working together towards a net zero carbon target.

The report is the first annual update on the GB10 pledges on the environment signed off last year to measure actions, not words, from members of the region who include all local councils, three universities, business groups and the South Downs National Park.

Among the initiatives progressing outlined in the report includes:

  • Development of the Sussex Bay initiative to enhance the potential of marine and coastal environments to deliver carbon sequestration and biodiversity. Kelp which captures carbon is beginning to grow back after trawlers were banned from scouring the seabed.
  • The establishment of a housing retrofit task force to begin comprehensive energy efficiency programmes on older homes
  • The establishment of a Sussex Hydrogen Group within Greater Brighton to promote and support the introduction of the clean fuel including powering buses.
  • Action from water companies in the region to recycle waste water to relieve pressure on fresh water supplies in places like chalk rivers
  • Local councils making moves to change their vehicle fleets to run on electricity rather than fossil fuels and establishing charging points.
  • Advanced planning to move council house stock away from gas heating and projects to install heat pumps, including those using heat from sewers under way.

Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Cllr Phelim MacCafferty, who is also Greater Brighton’s environment lead, said he was pleased to see progress in the first year but warned there was still much to do.

“We established the GB10 pledges so we could inform residents about what we were doing on climate change but more importantly so we could be held to account for our work on this front,” he said, “The need for action to tackle the terrible harm climate change is already visiting upon the planet remain extremely urgent and must involve all of us which is why the first year of the GB10 shows the power of working collectively as a region to get things done. But as the report indicates there is much more to be done and we cannot let up the pace of our work.”

The report, to go before members of the region’s board next week, says more work is needed to develop leadership to develop a low-carbon economy and progress is being made on developing a model to allow investment in climate projects.

Together, the report says, the actions ‘contribute to demonstrating that the Greater Brighton area can be an exemplar to government about how to decarbonise a small city, rural communities and coastal areas.’

The Greater Brighton city region covers an area from Selsey in the west to Newhaven in the east and as far north as Crawley. By working collaboratively it has brought significant investment into the region and is now positioning itself as a key leader in clean, sustainable growth.

See the GB10 update …

Photo: Hare in wildflower margin by Adam Huttly