With Eastbourne Borough Council setting a course for carbon net zero by 2030, cabinet councillors have considered the annual carbon neutral report that shows a 15% reduction on the council’s carbon footprint and 6.8% reduction in the borough’s carbon footprint.

The reductions against the 2018/29 baseline was achieved largely because of the reduced use of buildings during the pandemic, but the direction of travel has been broadly welcomed by councillors.

Councillor Jonathan Dow, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “The downward trend is undoubtedly good news, but of greatest longer term importance are the changes we’re implementing that will deliver the permanent reductions in carbon emissions needed. Not least of these is our move to a zero carbon electricity tariff that, alongside reduced consumption, will result in zero emissions from 2022.

“Significantly, what the analysis has also shown us, is that while there was less use of buildings during the pandemic, fuel and power consumption continued and that the decarbonising of heat and the improvement of building management is fundamental to meeting our carbon reduction targets. Let’s not forget that buildings generate nearly 40% of global carbon emissions.”

Eastbourne Borough Council has long recognised that partnership working is key to the success of any local authority’s climate change and carbon reduction ambitions. The council is working with the Eco-Action Network; the Sussex Local Nature Partnership; the South Downs National Park and the Universities of Brighton and Sussex; as well as neighbouring local authorities and other community groups.

Through these links, the council has progressed the use of hydrogen as a fuel through Hydrogen Sussex, started the decarbonisation of social housing, the retrofitting and decarbonisation of private sector housing, produced a regular sustainability email bulletin for residents and one on the theme of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, supported nature based solutions for carbon capture regionally, grant funded local projects and made land available for tree planting projects.

Councillor Dow added: “We have 68 actions in our strategy and we are monitoring each one. Like most people I want action on climate change and I want it now. Eastbourne Borough Council is doing all it can to ensure we hit our target of being carbon neutral by 2030.”