Calls for climate emergency to be declared in West Sussex

Michael Jones' motion is due to be discussed at County Hall next Friday
Michael Jones' motion is due to be discussed at County Hall next Friday

Fears that coastal areas in West Sussex could be devastated by rising sea levels have prompted calls for a climate emergency to be declared.

The issue will be raised with the county council at a meeting next week after a Notice of Motion was added to the agenda by Michael Jones (Lab, Southgate & Gossops Green).

Mr Jones will tell the meeting that councils all over the world have already declared such emergencies and West Sussex should do the same.

He said: “West Sussex is already suffering from flooding problems, and a significant proportion of its population and a large number of its settlements are based in coastal areas which would potentially be devastated by a rise in sea levels caused by continual global warming.”

The Notice of Motion also calls for the council to aim to be carbon neutral by 2030 and to appeal to the government to help make that target possible.

The council has already put in a lot of work to reduce its carbon footprint.

Its sustainability strategy for 2015-2019 states that carbon emissions have been reduced by more than a quarter since 2010/11, with a target of 50 per cent reduction by 2025.

The pledge was to use the minimum amount of natural resources with more energy coming from renewable sources.

Mr Jones added: “Councils like West Sussex are uniquely placed to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions – for example because of their capacity for local energy generation, such as running our own solar farms and promoting solar energy take up among local organisations and residents, supporting the greater use of electric powered vehicles both in the private and public sector and for personal use, and investing further in public transport.”

The council will meet at County Hall, Chichester, at 10.30am. Members of the public are welcome to attend and the meeting will be webcast via westsussex.public-i.tv .