To consider a report by the Director for Digital and Resources, copy attached as item 13.
The Committee had a report before it attached as item 13, this had been circulated to all Members and a copy of which is attached to a signed copy of these minutes.
This report set out background information on the Portfolio of the Worthing Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency to enable the Committee to consider and question the Cabinet Member on issues within her portfolio and any other issues which the Cabinet Member was involved in connected with the work of the Council and the Worthing communities.
A Member asked “Can you give us any up to date information on the development of the District Heat Network?”
Members were told the procurement process was progressing well, having now entered into the “preferred bidder” stage and final negotiations were underway. A report was being brought forward to Worthing Joint Strategic Sub Committee on March 6th, with contract award expected in April 2023. The network would provide low carbon hot water to council buildings, Worthing Hospital and others, and would be expanded over time to offer a solution to more buildings in Worthing, including homes.
A Member asked “What, in your opinion, are the main challenges facing us as a Council as we move towards becoming a net zero Borough?”
Members were told the council had indirect control only over a very small proportion of the Borough's emissions and direct control over even less.
There was a need for central government policy and funding to help the big transition to low carbon homes, and many businesses also needed support.
Significant partnership working at local, regional and national levels would be required to ensure a joined up and cohesive approach to reducing carbon emissions, for example on transport with the County Council and Transport for the South East.
To date the council had progressed a number of partnership projects such as Solar Together Sussex and the Warmer Homes programme, as well as taking a leading role in delivering the Heat Network, which would provide a meaningful way for residents and businesses of the borough to decarbonise their emissions more cost effectively than without council input.
A Member asked “What measures are you taking to encourage residents to replace their cars with environmentally friendly alternatives to support Worthing’s net zero agenda?”
Members were told at a strategic level recalled from that last year, the Borough Council expressed strong support for Transport for the South East’s Strategic Investment Plan which would identify the significance of Worthing as a key part of the regional rail and bus network with potential to link major transport improvements into an improved network for public transport and opportunities for active travel.
Locally, the our Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan continued to inform West Sussex's decision making on infrastructure investment in the town and consultation will shortly be underway on a number of strategically important cycle routes for Worthing. They had also made the decision to extend the Donkey Bike scheme; and were looking at how they could reintroduce a quality bus partnership for Worthing.
A Member asked “The council set a net zero target of 2030 in 2019. The council belongs to a local authority network that commits to being net zero for the Local Authority by 2045. With 15 years difference in target, what would you say is the realistic time frame for the Borough to turn net zero?”
Members were told that in 2019 the Council set a target to be net zero carbon for its operational emissions (called 'scope 1 and 2') for its own estate and fleet by 2030.
The UK100 network, which consisted of the UK's most ambitious local authorities leading on climate change, had an 'area-wide' target of 2045.
The council remained committed to meeting both targets and had multiple programmes of work ongoing to ensure they were met
Members also asked about the proposal from National Highways about the A27. Members were told a response was being prepared.
The committee had no recommendations for the Worthing Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency