The Council invited comments on the revision of the priorities – deadline 28 October. The Community Strategy guides the Council’s priorities for the next 3 years, and sets how the Council allocates resources. For example, Council grants go to groups that contribute to the Community Strategy priorities. See WinACC's response.

It was public opinion (thank you all) that made cutting the carbon footprint of the district into one of three priorities in the Community Strategy  three years ago. The City Council now plans to replace the 3 priorities with 13 – and not one of them mentions climate change!

The simple message is that cutting the carbon footprint of the district must be a top priority.

The Council wants a few, clear, practical things to do to turn this into a reality. So these are the ideas WinACC suggested.  

  1. Above all, show leadership. Publicise the Council’s commitment to tackling climate change, the biggest challenge facing humanity. Publicise the planning policies that give developers confidence to invest in the District. Show how the Council is cutting its own carbon footprint , and residents will follow its example.
  2. Implement the action plan to support the development of the low carbon economy in the District.
  3. Improve the ratio of energy used and energy generated from renewable sources in the district by a target percentage a year by encouraging and facilitating investment by business, communities and residents. Invest Council money in renewable energy, which is good for the Council's finances as well as the environment. For example, put solar panels onto Council roofs – offices, housing, car parks - and invest in large renewable schemes.
  4. Reduce energy consumption and help those in fuel poverty by investing in energy-saving measures in all the Council's buildings, including Council housing. They need top quality insulation, new boilers, and renewably powered district heating networks. 
  5. Source all Council purchases of food and fuel locally, and encourage others to do the same.
  6. Support Cool Communities, a large-scale programme of personal behaviour change for 10,000 households in the District to cut 2.5 tonnes from their carbon footprint, including funding in partnership with other bodies.
  7. No-one should be forced to drive a car to live their life. The City Council has limited transport powers but it can still make a difference. Develop a coherent public transport strategy and a walking strategy to accompany the cycling strategy. Implement the strategies (by investing in pavements and cycling, managing parking to discourage car use in the centre of cities, towns and villages, and presenting the case for investment in public transport to the county council, economic partnership, private transport providers and government).
  8. Take advantage of all opportunities for securing Government funding for energy-saving measures.
  9. Continue the partnership with WinACC, which has brought in over five times the value of its commission to fund carbon reduction measures in the last 18 months

Having climate change as a priority does make a difference - not least, it helped bring over a quarter of a million pounds of Government money into the District to fund low carbon projects. Far more people wanted climate change to be a priority than mentioned any other topic last time the Council consulted, and there is no reason to change it.