Kelsie Learney, Leader of Winchester City Council, spoke at the WinACC open meeting on Saturday 3 July. She set out what the new Cabinet plans to do to cut Winchester's carbon footprint. WinACC members and supporters were encouraged by her clear commitment to creating a low carbon Winchester where we want to live, and appreciated her honesty about the hard decisions that the Council's Cabinet will have to take to manage the cut in Council finances. A detailed account follows:-
“A world of conspicuous consumption, keeping up with the Jones’s and jetting round the world isn't a world I want to live in” was the message from Kelsie Learney to a packed meeting of Winchester Action on Climate Change last Saturday.
In a talk called “Change at the City Council: fresh air or hot air?” the new Liberal Democrat leader of Winchester City Council said that the Council will be recruiting an energy surveyor who will explore how to renovate the Council’s properties, increasing their insulation to cut the carbon dioxide emissions of heating.
The Leader is keen on the idea of a compact city, where you can walk into the centre and cycle from one side to the other. In particular, the Cabinet hopes to improve radial transport links to make it easier to get around. “A low carbon society will be a happier society”, she said. “As I walk and cycle through Winchester, I wave and talk to people, making the human contact that you can't do in a car”.
The Council’s Cabinet has been restructured to put climate change up the Council’s agenda. Kelsie Learney warned the meeting that the Cabinet will have to make some difficult decisions, given the crunch in Council funding. But she welcomed challenges from Winchester Action on Climate Change as a critical friend who would help make Winchester the kind of place we want to keep living in.
Chris Holloway, WinACC’s co-ordinator, said, “It’s great to hear the Council leader say clearly in public that climate change is apriority for her administration. We were particularly pleased to hear that the Council is willing to invest now to save money in the future by cutting the energy use, and energy bills, of Council property”.
The next open meeting of Winchester Action on Climate Change will have the theme of Low Carbon Food, and will include a bring and buy stall of home-grown produce at 10:30 on Saturday 7 August at St Lawrence Parish Room, Colebrook St, Winchester SO23 9LH.