We're Making the World of Difference! Environment GO GREEN Town Halls Lead the Way in Tackling Global Warming

Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), January 6, 2009 | Go to article overview

We're Making the World of Difference! Environment GO GREEN Town Halls Lead the Way in Tackling Global Warming


Byline: KELLEY PRICE

LATEST Government figures have shown departments are lagging behind in the climate change targets they've set themselves.

But closer to home, council offices on Teesside are faring better in the race to reduce our collective carbon footprint, with 'go green' initiatives to save the readies - and the planet at the same time, as KELLEY PRICE reports.

CARBON emissions from Government offices are not being cut fast enough to meet its own targets, according to a report by the Sustainable Development Commission.

Ironically, the Department for Business (Berr) and the Department for Environment (Defra), which both looked after climate policy, saw their performance worsen compared to last year.

But on Teesside, local authorities are flying the flag for action against global warming.

A second major climate change conference will be held by Middlesbrough Council in March, to help its counterparts across the country tackle global warming.

Stockton Council's carbon-reduction drive to reduce the authority's energy bills by a quarter in five years is well on track, with a saving of almost pounds 200,000 in a few months.

A similar project by Redcar and Cleveland Council has cut electricity consumption by 7.4% over the past year among other successes.

And Darlington's bustling market has been named the second most environmentally-friendly in the North, including Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As large public-facing organisations, the Tees Valley's authorities are using their sway to spread the green message to residents and the business world.

A green manifesto was published in September by all the councils in the North-east to demonstrate how local government was working together to show green issues are at the heart of policy and decision-making.

One Planet Living - a campaign by environmentalists BioRegional that promotes the idea of living within the earth's resources - is being adopted by Middlesbrough Council. The group's subsidiary, BioRegional Quintain, is also the main developer behind Middlehaven, which will be the UK's largest zero-carbon development.

Environmental sustainability co-ordinator Bob King said the authority was not looking at energy efficiency in isolation.

"We are working to ten sustainability principles set out by One Planet Living, from zero carbon and waste to transport and social aspects," he said.

"We are living a three-planet lifestyle at the minute, but we want to help people across the Middlesbrough community to understand these sustainability principles.

"It's not about going back to being cavemen, but looking at ways of improving our quality of life in an efficient way.

"This isn't a quick fix, but long-term investment. It's embedded throughout the whole authority."

Darlington Market manager Peter Wilson agrees. Gradually, over a number of years, his team's efforts have dramatically reduced the amount of waste produced by the 90-stall market, earning them the National Market Traders' Federation accolade. …

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