Blacktown City Council has presented a clear statement to its community acknowledging a climate emergency and committing to a target of 100% renewable electricity for Council operations by 2025.
Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM said; “The science-based evidence is totally clear. We are in a state of climate emergency requiring ‘a call to arms’ for immediate action by all levels of government, industry and our communities.
“Without urgent action, the urban heat impact on the communities of Western Sydney will be catastrophic.”
Blacktown City Council last night (Wednesday) voted to adopt a series of measures as a response to Climate Change including an aspirational target of net zero carbon emissions for the community by 2040.
“Our primary commitments are to address climate change by seeking to reduce emissions in our day-to-day operations and throughout the community, provide refuge from extreme heat for our residents and ensure our planning controls and policies reduce urban heat.
“At the same time it is vital that we work with our industry partners and the community to ensure a clear understanding is built – that there will be no fundamental impacts on business or employment.
“Sydney averages 10 days a year where temperatures are above 35 degrees. Western Sydney averages 10 to 20 days a year of temperatures above 35 degrees. That figure is predicted to rise to between 15 and 30 extremely hot days by 2039.
“Blacktown City Council has been a leader in urban environmental planning for decades, so we are in a strong position to deliver a serious plan at a time when our national leaders are giving us little but uncertainty.
“Council already has a zero-net emissions target by 2030 for its operational electricity, fuel and gas use. Council has a number of community tree planting programs aimed at reducing urban heat and is currently trialling heat reduced pavement reconstruction.
“Blacktown City was the first council to introduce free electric vehicle charging stations and is increasing its own all electric and hybrid vehicle fleet.”
Blacktown City Deputy Mayor Julie Griffiths said, “A recent survey of 1,800 NSW residents found that 85 per cent of respondents believe climate change will increase their cost of living, make it harder to find fresh food and impact negatively on the health of their families.
“We must respond to climate change to protect our communities.”
Blacktown City Council voted to adopt the following recommendations:
- Blacktown City declares that we are in a state of climate emergency requiring immediate action by all levels of government.
- Blacktown City Council commits to a target of 100% renewable electricity for Council operations by 2025.
- Blacktown City Council will work towards an aspirational target of net zero carbon emissions for the community by 2040.
- The Mayor will write to the NSW Government requesting that the annual rate cap be increased by 1% to allow councils to start funding initiatives such as increased use of renewables, to accelerate carbon neutrality and adapt to climate change impacts, especially urban heat.
- Council will allocate $100,000 each year for a climate change emergency fund that we can draw on to implement climate change initiatives not currently funded in the current Climate Change policy and strategy.
- Blacktown City Council will continue to encourage other Western Sydney councils to join us in working to achieve these targets.
- Blacktown City Council will update our ‘Responding to climate change strategy’ annually and report our progress to Council.
“Blacktown City Council is the biggest LGA in NSW with a population of more than 395,000. That figure is predicted to reach 525,300 by 2031 and 600,000 by 2041.
“The massive residential development has produced a ‘furnace of urban heat’ with hectares of concrete and asphalt replacing bushland and open fields.
“The policies and planning controls covering those developments have over the years been taken away from Council.
“Those planning instruments have to be updated to ensure that any future developments are sustainable and ensure the reduction of urban heat.
“The NSW and Federal governments need to fund the strategies to reduce urban heat impacts in Western Sydney.
“Without immediate action, the effects of increasing urban heat on the health, productivity and wellbeing on a rapidly growing population in Western Sydney will be catastrophic, “Mayor Bleasdale said.