Greater Brighton is to take a major step towards becoming one of the country’s top regions for climate change action as task forces are created to research and fund new projects.
The City Region wants to be at the forefront of climate change action, creating new jobs through sustainable growth and backing pioneering carbon emissions cutting projects in efforts to be carbon neutral within eight years.
Now its members have recommended establishing a £250,000 fighting fund to create what is known as a Blue Green investment plan. And it has secured one of the country’s top climate change specialists to help it meet ambitious new targets
Sir Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and a former government adviser on the sustainable use of natural assets like seas and woodland, will lead a slimmed down Greater Brighton committee to attract environmental projects to the region and the private and public funding that might go with them. The post will be funded by Southern Water which is working with Greater Brighton on water and energy conservation projects.
Alongside this two university members of Greater Brighton will lead a newly established Scientific, Technical and Advisory Panel (STAP). The Universities of Sussex and Brighton will head the effort to secure research funding and create a roadmap to reach net zero targets, as well commissioning work to bring in future investment.
Cllr Phelim MacCafferty, Greater Brighton’s lead on the environment, said:
“Scientists believe we have just 8 years to limit the catastrophic effects of global warming, so this step change is recognition that we have no time to hesitate. Establishing these small expert groups, partners will build on the work already underway to attract new resources, partners and organisations.
“The Greater Brighton region has always been at the forefront of environmental innovation as we make progress to net zero emissions. Working together with our pioneering businesses and new technologies, it’s vital this shared ambition will deliver innovative solutions to the climate crisis.”
At meeting of the Greater Brighton Economic Board which governs the City Region agreed to a series of moves over the next year, members agreed to secure an additional £180,000 from stakeholders that will see a total of £250,000 invested to ‘pump prime’ future schemes. This includes £40,000 from the GBEB and £30,000 from Brighton & Hove City Council, which has already been committed.
In October 2020, Greater Brighton committed to tackle climate change with 10 pledges – the GB10 – on a range of environmental issues chiefly concerning water and energy conservation. The City Region’s Hydrogen Sussex group is also promoting the production of the clean energy source and promoting the development and uptake of hydrogen vehicles.
Work on both is progressing at pace with plans including a new hydrogen plant at Shoreham Port and the world’s first commercially-led deployment of fuel cell buses in Crawley.
Greater Brighton is a legally constituted City Region with a coalition of seven local authorities, representing an area stretching from Bognor in the west, Crawley in the north and Seaford in the east in which more than one million people live. This coalition also includes two internationally recognised universities and business partnerships that speak for hundreds of cutting-edge businesses in the region.
Photo top: Shoreham Port
Photo below: Newhaven Marina