What is Climate Change?
Climate Change refers to any significant long-term change in the expected patterns of average weather of a region. In recent years greenhouse gas (including carbon) emissions as a result of human activity has led to widespread global warming and changes in weather patterns. Therefore, in order to limit the rate of climate change and negative impacts associated with it it is vital that we all work to reduce our carbon emissions.
What have Epsom and Ewell Borough Council committed to?
Climate Change Action Plan
Councils across the UK have begun to take action to reduce their carbon emissions. For instance, in 2019 Epsom and Ewell Borough Council committed to their Climate Change Action Plan, this involved setting an ambitious target of carbon neutral by the year 2035. This 4-year plan includes implementing a range of measures to help reduce the council's own emissions as well as promoting good practice throughout the borough, such as:
- Increasing the number of safe cycle routes throughout the borough;
- Tackle the use of single use plastics at Council operated buildings and venues;
- The introduction of an Environment and Sustainability Project Officer;
- Working with relevant specialist groups in the community to drive up sustainable practice both inside and outside of the organisation;
- Promote the use of more sustainable materials in packaging;
- Roll-out of new low energy thin client infrastructures.
Single Use Plastic Policy
Furthermore, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has committed to their Single Use Plastics Policy Action Plan. This recognises the threat waste plastics pose to the environment and details ways in which we can reduce our plastic usage. This includes:
- Measuring use of single use plastics and set targets for reduction;
- Work with our employees and suppliers to encourage them to take practical steps to reduce use of plastic;
- Using recycled and recyclable plastics where use of plastics is unavoidable;
- Encourage recycling opportunities for the plastic waste we and our supply chains produce in our buildings and daily operations;
- Support and encourage employee and community initiatives to remove plastic waste from our environment.
- Begin to add requirements in contracts relating to our commitment to more environmentally sustainable options;
- Ensure any council operated events use sustainable material only.
What can you do?
As individuals there are a number of practical steps you can take to implement a positive impact on your own emissions including:
- Promotion of recycling/reduction of waste - Epsom currently recycles around 56% of their waste, however, increasing this our individual recycling rates will be critical in the reduction of Epsom's overall binned waste.
- Lobbying local supermarkets and businesses to promote the use of sustainable packaging - by raising awareness of the behavioural shift in consumer attitudes it may work to change the way in which products we currently by are packaged.
- Researching and switching to a renewable energy solutions e.g. ensuring your energy supplier uses sustainable sources such as solar or wind power.
- Unplug devices and electronics when they are not being charged.
- Install energy saving initiatives into your home e.g. condensing boilers, double glazing and energy saving light bulbs.
- Ensuring that your house is appropriately insulated - helping to save energy and keep you warm!
- Calculate your individual carbon footprint through the use of handy online calculators (included in useful links).
- Use more sustainable forms of transport where appropriate e.g. utilising public transport as opposed to driving.
- Avoid excessive purchases and try to promote sustainable purchase habits such as using reusable cup or bag when possible.
- Review what food we eat - meat and dairy known as having a greater environmental impact.