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Council Sustainability Strategy lacks ambition

March 17, 2021 6:20 AM
At last weeks Scrutiny Meeting Liberal Democrat Councillor Simon Hicks highlighted that important parts of the District Council's sustainability strategy had not been achieved - the key target in the strategy of achieving a 50% domestic recycling rate by 2020 had not been met, with a 43% recycling rate reported for the last quarter.

Commenting later, Simon Hicks continued "Even before the pandemic the recycling rate in Mid Sussex was flatlining, although clearly Covid-19 has had an impact and I am pleased the long-promised food waste collection service continues to be prioritised for implementation. However, the strategy also included a commitment to have delivered a Burgess Hill to Haywards Heath Cycle Route by June 2021, and this is also not now feasible in that timescale, with a specific route yet to be even identified.

Mid Sussex Recycling

Whilst the Council agreed in 2019 to support government strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, it did not set specific targets of its own, and my own amendment at the time which declared a climate emergency and challenged the Council to achieve carbon neutral status by 2030 was voted down by the Conservative administration. Given the County Council has already declared its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 this was particularly disappointing.

The District Council has made good progress on some sustainability issues, however the current sustainability strategy lacks ambition and the proposed approach of replacing it with a sustainable economic strategy raises questions of whether environmental sustainability is being put on the back burner.
Therefore I hope that the working party proposed by the scrutiny committee to formulate the new strategy is able to challenge the Council to set demanding targets towards becoming carbon neutral and climate resilient given the huge nature of the task we face due to climate change."