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Last modified: 17 Dec 2020 10:40am

Looking across Lake Ellesmere from grass and bank

The Council has officially put climate change at the heart of its work, as it adopted its first formal climate change policy.

The policy, adopted at this week’s Council meeting, brings together the work that the Council has been doing in recent years on climate change into one comprehensive and cohesive policy. It commits the Council to make climate change mitigation and adaptation a core component of its planning and decision-making.

Mayor Sam Broughton says the policy is a stake in the ground for the Council.

“We have a legal requirement to act, but we also have a moral responsibility to our community to take the right actions now,” he says. “In discussions with our community they have clearly told us that climate change is a key concern for them.

“This policy is our commitment to lead our community forward, bringing together the work we have already done and acknowledging the actions we need to take to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to them.”

Mayor Broughton, on behalf of Selwyn, was one of the earliest signatories to the New Zealand Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration 2017. The policy builds on the Council’s commitments in the declaration and its legal requirements under the Zero Carbon Act.

It commits the Council to reduce its own carbon emissions, to carry out regular assessment of risk and opportunities, to report back on its actions, engage with tangata whenua, work with regional and national authorities and raise awareness of climate change impacts and opportunities in the community.

The policy is the foundation for the work the Council will now undertake with strategies and an action plan to follow to implement the policy.