A report detailing the progress of work to achieve carbon neutrality in Eastbourne by 2030 was considered by Cabinet councillors.

Eastbourne Borough Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and developed a strategy and action plan to meet the 2030 target.

The meeting heard that there has been a 20% reduction in the council’s emissions since 2018/19 . Underpinning this figure is a 16% decrease in emissions from gas consumption, and 30% decrease in electricity consumption.

Councillor Jim Murray, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said:

“It’s sometimes overwhelming when you consider the true scale of the challenge we face in tackling climate change. 

“And sadly, most of the headlines from COP28 fell short of the really seismic change that the vast majority of scientists and climate experts believe we need to make.

“However, the collective force for good of people power and individual organisations worldwide will contribute to the goals we must achieve.

“To this end, I am pleased with the significant progress we have made in Eastbourne so far. I want much more, but the direction of travel is encouraging and we need everyone to play their part.”

Partnership working remains key to the success of any local authority’s climate change and carbon reduction ambitions.

Working with council partners such as: the Eastbourne 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, the council has progressed regional and local projects such as:

• Publication of Decarbonising our Housing Stock: Roadmap for 2030 zero carbon.

• Enabling funding bids by others, in particular Treebourne’s tree tagging / tree champion scheme to care for the 1000 trees planted in the town.

• Providing supporting evidence for Eastbourne Food Partnerships Sustainable Food Places’s bronze award application.

• Securing funding for 84 retrofits from Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) 2.

• Development of an affordable housing scheme in the town centre with low carbon heating, a green roof, and sustainable travel plan.

• Participation in Solar Together, a bulk purchase solar PV and storage scheme – 87 residents and 2 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have accepted offers from the scheme (as of October 2023).

• Delivery of 18 electric vehicle charge points aimed at residents with no access to off street charging in 3 council car parks.

• Enabling the Sustainable Transport Summit to take place on November 17th, organised by Eastbourne ECO-Action Network volunteers.

• Production of a Carbon Neutral e-bulletin.

Councillor Murray added:

“I must thank all our partners and the climate action champions in communities across Eastbourne for all they continue to do to get us to our 2030 carbon neutral target.

“We will double down on our efforts in 2024 and I will continue to hope that our national and international leaders will do the same.”