22 Mar 2010

Huge success re climate change measures

I had the pleasure of presenting the report to Cabinet at the District Council on 11th March - it is a report that I have been working on for some months: "Tackling Climate Change inquiry: Financing Domestic Sustainable Energy Measures in the Stroud District." Unfortunately this catchy title doesn't really do justice to the contents of this report - see below.

Photo: Interesting Cabinet? OK not quite the right image for this!

Click here to see a webcast of the Cabinet meeting - click on Index points and scroll down to number 17 part (b) to see my presentation. As regular blog readers will know I helped get this report through Scrutiny back in February - see details and recommendations here which include calls for an energy strategy, a cross party working group, a contingency fund to seek grants, support for installers, research into an ESCo, a trial project of solar or heat pump at a sheltered housing scheme and more!

I am particularly delighted that this got through, as when we started we were told that only several of the recommendations would be passed. Infact 9 out of 10 got through. Only the Pay as You Save didn't get through - but that was a long shot - and hopefully the trial will allow us to learn and poss use that for our own housing stock.

As noted the catchy title didn't do justice to the reports contents - as I said in the introduction: "Climate Change presents huge challenges and I am pleased to see it remains one of this Council's key priorities - however, as we know, the recommendations in this report have other benefits like developing the local economy, working towards more energy resilience and tackling fuel poverty. Our housing stock presents some particularly huge challenges - these challenges wont be new to members - for example 1,700 - that's 30% of our homes - are considered 'hard to treat' homes with very low energy efficiency ratings. Fuel prices are forecast to rise. Sir Richard Branson and other business leaders warned last month that we face an energy crunch in 5 years. While Age Concern note that, despite government relief, one in five older people skip meals to save money for heating."

There is no question that this is a monster-sized challenge. These recommendations are only a step along the way. As I said in my presentations previously we need to make a step change to take on these challenges - the acceptance of these measures go some way to preparing the ground. Now for the next step.....one particular interest is to see how we can use the feed-in tariffs....

Also at Cabinet...

- a disappointing delay to our inquiry into planning,
- a great new Animal Welfare Charter that theCouncil has signed up to (although as I pointed out at the meeting it would be good if we had an Ecologist to advise re planning like other Councils),
- and more but I've run out of time to write this up - you'll be able to see the minutes on the SDC website and many of the issues come to Full Council in April.

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