Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Slough Promises Invisible Footprint

Slough has become the latest council to sign the Nottingham Declaration in a ceremony on Monday 10th August.

Slough Borough Council leader, Labour's Cllr Rob Anderson said, "We are committed to making Slough a cleaner, greener town, and part of that pledge includes reducing the council's impact on the environment."

Over 300 councils have signed up so far, and some may wonder why the delay, but Slough is not just stopping there - east Berkshire's less glamorous relation has used the opportunity to go much further and joined 13 other cities across the world to form the UN's Climate Neutral Network.

Slough's strategic director for improvement and development, Roger Parkin, explained that energy efficiency is not only good for the planet, but it will also help reduce your utility bills.

The move pushes the town to the forefront of global environmental efforts alongside luminaries like Vancouver, Sydney and Rizhao as the main UK representative for the Copenhagen Climate Conference later this year. It places additional burdens on local service providers and businesses, including ICI and Mars, although the pledge to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2028 is more modest than Vancouver's pledge to be completely carbon neutral by 2012.

Quentin Given of Friends of the Earth called it great news, but warned that to be treated seriously they must be more ambitious.

Meanwhile leader of Slough's opposition Conservative group Cllr Peter Dale-Gough ridiculed the move as a waste of time and a political stunt, saying "How can we even begin to compete with Sydney, we haven't even got a bridge."

"The lunatics have finally taken over the asylum," he said, and called it a "flight of fancy" which was "an incredible waste of money".

Meanwhile it has been noted that Slough has come up with three programmes which it thinks those businesses and service providers will accept as achievable target, including a proposal for greener fuel for the towns' bus fleet (which are operated privately by the First Group), compared to 53 programmes in Sydney.

Oranjepan says:
Slough has been chosen for political purposes by those with vested interest in power and is being objected to for political purposes by those with a vested interest in profit - it's a worthy plan with a less than worthy political debate, and may end up causing any efforts to be worthless.

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Update: Cousin Gideon Mack notes some interesting statistics from fellow Nottingham Declaration signee, Reading Borough Council - drawing the obvious conclusion that there is still a lot of simple things which can be done.
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