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Reviewing the green dream
On being elected, Green politicians at Brighton and Hove City Council promised they would try to create the greenest and most sustainable city in the country. TIM RIDGWAY finds out how the green dream is evolving.
Green = On Target
Amber = Nearly on target/not enough information
Red = not meeting target
Carbon footprint (per resident)
2009 data showed it had reduced by 15.6% to 4.8 tonnes per person since 2005, short of the 16% reduction target.
The 2012 target for the year is 4.55 tonnes per person - a 20% reduction on 2005. Data is not yet available.
Carbon footprint (council)
38,034 kilo tonnes Latest data indicates it had seen a 3.3% reduction in emissions between 2010/11 and 2011/12.
However the council missed its target to reduce emissions to 37,182.
A 4% reduction target has been set for housing, schools, corporate buildings, street lighting, fleet fuel and work-related travel for next year.
The local authority is about to start developing a programme to become zero carbon which will be in place within 3 years.
Six businesses are accredited to the Green Tourism Business Scheme. There are 16 across East Sussex and 22 in West Sussex.
The council planned to install solar panels on thousands of public buildings.
However government plans to reduce the amount of money it pays for power generated under the Feed In Tariff has limited this to 1,600 council homes. A few public buildings will also benefit.
Household waste sent for reuse, recycling and composting – 28%
This is well below the regional and national average. The council set no target for this year however in 2012/13 they want 32%.
A council spokesman said: “Recycling rates tend to be lower in cities than in less densely populated areas.
“This is down to a number of factors such as residents having less space to store their recycling and higher turnover of population. In April this year we introduced a communal recycling trial in Brunswick and Adelaide ward in Hove.
“Feedback has shown that most people prefer this service to the black box collection and that the tonnage of material collected for recycling has increased significantly. We have applied for Government funding to extend this scheme in the city centre subject to consultation.”
Municipal waste sent to landfill – 26.8%
No target is set for this year however 2012/13 target of 11.6%.
Waste that cannot be or is not separated for recycling or composting (per household) – 581kg
2012/13 target of 602kg. Current results show this indicator is on track to meet this.
Green waste collection – not offered
A council spokesman said: “The most sustainable way for dealing with green waste is home composting. The council subsidises composters and supports community composting schemes, particularly in areas where people don’t have a lot of outside space.
“Experience in other areas has shown that green waste collections increase the total volume of waste collected as people are less inclined to compost at home. This increases the cost of dealing with waste.”
Energy efficiency of 11,000 council homes
Increase from 76.6% in 2010/11 to 76.8%
Increase number of allotment plots – 2,934
An increase of 116 allotment plots in the city during 2011/12
Allotment waiting list – 2,071
Demand for allotment plots in the city is high. The number of residents awaiting a plot has risen during 2011/12 by 357.
Cycle parking – 2,647
In the last year 379 more stands were installed
Bus journeys – 43 million
Brighton and Hove is one of the best performing authorities in terms of bus passenger journeys.
There is a target of an average increase of 800,000 passenger journeys per year.
That has not been met for 2011/12 but it is still an increase on previous years. The target for 2012/13 is 44.55 million.
Bus services running on time – 89%
Drop from 91% in 2010/11 but bosses put this down to extensive roadworks across the city.
Services are on average 42 seconds late.
Carbon Dioxide emissions due to transport
No up-to-date figures are available. However the council aims to meet its target of 306 kilo tonnes – down from the 2009 figure of 317ktn
Adults and children killed or seriously injured in road traffic incidents – 172 (2011)
6 people were killed, and 168 people seriously injured in road traffic accidents during 2011.
146 is the number of people forecast by the Department for Transport to be killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents in Brighton and Hove in 2011/12.
Cost of transport (council) – down from £2 million to £1.8 million.
Due to fewer private vehicle miles were claimed by staff and fewer train journeys
Sites of Special Scientific Interest
The city’s two SSSIs, Brighton to Newhaven Cliffs and Castle Hill, near Woodingdean, both meet the Government’s targets and are in good condition
The groundwater currently fails to meet the set criteria for quantity.
This is due to overall water use being high and two water company abstractions being investigated for potential environmental impacts The current status of quality is ‘good’ but it is flagged as ‘at risk’ This is due to increase use of pesticides and nitrates and leaking sewers.
One planet living
The city council’s Green administration plans to become the most sustainable city in the country relies on the One Planet Living principle.
This is a global initiative which is based about enjoying a high quality of life within a fair share of the earth's resources.
Among the ten principles are transport, culture, zero waste, zero carbon and wildlife.
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “Work has already begun to bring the council closer to achieving One Planet Living status.
“New energy saving lighting at the Brighton Centre, for example, is expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 23.5 tonnes a year, and save at least £41,000 a year on electricity bills.
"We know things could be better and there are some big challenges to overcome to achieve One Planet Living status.
“We are focusing on schemes that not only improve quality of life for people and the environment in Brighton and Hove, but many of them will save us money now and in the long term.”
This council is developing a three year programme which will form the basis of their 25 year long term vision to reduce the ecological footprint of the city to a One Planet level.