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Plans for public engagement over carbon-neutral Exeter

Published: 1 October 2019

Plans for public engagement over carbon-neutral Exeter Council Leader Phil Bialyk

Plans for major public engagement over Exeter’s ambitious target to become carbon-neutral by 2030 are set to be discussed by councillors.

Next week’s Executive meeting will discuss plans for workshops, talks, debates and a major summit that will enable everyone in the city to explore the challenges, and the changes that will need to be made.

The public engagement will help to shape a plan or ‘roadmap’ that addresses how a carbon-neural future can be achieved.

Council Leader Phil Bialyk said: “Exeter has an opportunity to show leadership among cities through decisive implementation of policies, innovations and investment that shape the way we live, and our environmental impact, for decades to come.

“Delivering these policies will also offer additional benefits including reduced air pollution, congestion and road fatalities, and improved health outcomes, from more active travel and cleaner air.

“I look forward to everyone getting involved and working together to make Exeter carbon-neutral, and at the same time improving quality of life for everyone in the city.”

In a report to Executive, members are recommended to approve a budget of up to £30,000 to secure external support for the development and delivery of the programme of activities.

The Council has asked Exeter City Futures to establish a roadmap for delivery of the carbon-neutral commitment.

It will work with the Council to deliver a series of events and engagement activities to identify and explore the types of solutions that can deliver the city’s carbon-neutral aspirations, and ensure Exeter remains a great place to live.

It is hoped that a formal launch can take place in October. A series of specialist workshops supported by public engagement activities will follow, involving residents, experts, politicians, community and business leaders and young people.

They will explore the barriers that need to be overcome, and begin a conversation about the level of lifestyle change that may be required.

A high-profile summit event, where stakeholders will be asked to present the scale of the carbon-neutral ambition and to review, discuss and agree the resources that will needed for solutions to be found.

The report says the commitment to make Exeter a carbon-neutral city by 2030 has potential to make a “vital contribution to our planet and all its people”.

It says: “Delivering this commitment will require the involvement of everyone across the city - individuals, communities, companies or organisations. Inevitably, lifestyle, business and investment choices will need to be made and therefore it is critical to ensure that the widest possible range of stakeholders are involved in the development of the roadmap.”

The reports says decreasing carbon-intensive transportation will play an important role in limiting future emissions. Policies that encourage compact, pedestrianised zones, zero emission vehicles and modal shifts toward walking, cycling, public transport, as well as shorter commute distances, will be key to delivering the carbon-neutral target.

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