The following Environmental Policy was agreed by Full Council on the 17th October 2019. If anyone has any comments to make on this policy, please contact the Town Council by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 01206 303535 or call at the Parish Hall.
BRIGHTLINGSEA TOWN COUNCIL: ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
‘To stabilise and progressively reduce our environmental footprint; to progressively reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and make sure our estate and services are adapted to the future impacts and opportunities of climate change; and to contribute positively to Brightlingsea’s character, local environmental quality and natural environment.’
This policy applies to all the land and properties that Brightlingsea Town Council owns and land/properties that the Council manages or is responsible for. Brightlingsea Town Council encourages and supports those who manage facilities on its behalf to do so in an environmentally responsible manner.
Brightlingsea Town Council recognises that its activities will have some negative impacts on the environment. The aim of this policy is to establish broad objectives to enable the development of activities that will minimise negative effects on the general environment and also work towards enhancing and protecting Brightlingsea’s immediate environs.
The Council, as a responsible local authority, will adhere to all relevant legislation both present and future.
The Council will aim to improve its environmental performance and influence improvement in Brightlingsea in the following ways:
- Use energy, natural resources and non-renewable resources efficiently and strive to minimise waste and pollution.
- Inform Brightlingsea’s residents of the Council’s environmental activities and respond and react to feedback.
- Support individual behaviour change in Brightlingsea’s residents, leading by example and supporting environmentally friendly activities.
- Support local businesses in the adoption of low-impact practices.
- Manage its land using environmentally-friendly practices that will promote biodiversity and protect habitats.
SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIONS
Brightlingsea Town Council is committed to action in the following, specific areas:
Water will be used efficiently for Council activities and on Council premises. The Council already uses drinking water from the main supply rather than bottled water.
In the Council’s parks and green spaces planting schemes and technology that minimise the need for watering will be used, e.g. planting drought-resistant species and using mulches and water gel crystals.
The Council will continue to implement water-saving measures on its allotments, for example, encouraging tenants to reduce their water usage. The Council will encourage tenants to take up organic gardening.
The Council acknowledges the quality and extent of the local saltmarsh and intertidal mudflats and the rich biodiversity these habitats support, and it recognises the protection under both national and international legislation. Birds are of high importance as qualifying features for many of these designations, in particular the Colne Estuary (Mid Essex Phase 2) Special Protected Area (SPA), which is exclusively designated for birds. The quality of this local environment is mirrored in the fact that between the SPA and the additional protection afforded by the Colne Estuary (Mid Essex Phase 2) Ramsar Site and Colne Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), no less than 19 bird species of conservation importance utilise this site, as well as important numbers of wildfowl assemblages throughout the winter season. The Council has supported the installation of nesting areas for Little Terns on its land and will continue to support similar projects in conjunction with other local statutory bodies.
The Council’s Planning Committee will consider issues of water use, water run-off and water pollution when making recommendations on planning applications. The Council will support the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)1 in new developments and redevelopments to reduce flooding risks, manage storm-water, minimise diffuse pollution from surface water runoff and help maintain groundwater levels.
The Council’s Planning Committee will consider sustainability, environmental impact and biodiversity when commenting on planning applications in Brightlingsea and also when developing or redeveloping any of its own buildings. The Council will update its Town Plan in a way which will facilitate and support a possible future Brightlingsea Neighbourhood Plan.
The Council will work closely with the Environment Agency and Marine Authorities with regard to sea and flood defences.
Planning Authority’s Local Plans
The Council will support the District Council on the need for having an adopted local plan as soon as possible. It recognises fully the restrictions on future development in Brightlingsea by the ‘one road in, one road out’ and the limited areas suitable for development. The Council will press for the use of planning obligations (section 106 agreements) to promote sustainable development and mitigate environmental impacts resulting from any developments.
Climate Change and Energy Conservation
The Council will monitor its energy use and improve upon energy efficiency within its buildings by adopting energy-saving measures, e.g. purchasing electrical equipment with good energy ratings. The Council will increase awareness of energy efficiency amongst employees and encourage energy-conserving behaviour, e.g. switching off lights that aren’t needed and switching off equipment rather than using standby.
The Council will support the installation of chargers for electric vehicles and work with other organisations in Brightlingsea so that the type and size of the chargers are complimentary.
In the longer term, the Council will investigate the feasibility of sustainable supplies of energy to power its premises.
The Council will minimise its waste production wherever possible, by reducing, repairing and reusing resources, and by recycling the waste its activities produce, where facilities exist. Rubbish will be disposed of safely, following the correct procedures, and only licensed contractors will be used to deal with hazardous wastes.
The Council will work to increase the number of recycling facilities within the town but would not support a proposed inert waste recycling plant at Morses Lane should a planning application be submitted.
The Council will continue to encourage sustainable transport systems, promoting public transport and non-polluting modes of transport within the town, such as cycling and walking. As a long-term goal, the Council will investigate sustainable, minimally polluting forms of fuel for its vehicles.
Biodiversity and Green Spaces
The Council will, wherever possible, consider the conservation and promotion of local biodiversity in all its activities, but particularly with regard to land management. The Council will seek to manage green spaces in a manner that promotes and protects biodiversity. This includes the management of invasive plants on its land and using planting schemes that exclude species known to be invasive in the SE of England. The Council supports the concept of ‘green lungs’ whereby open spaces and green areas are linked together. It will continue to look at opportunities for increases the total amount of open space in Brightlingsea. According to one source there is currently a deficit of 13.68 hectares of play and formal open space in Brightlingsea.
The Council is committed to providing information (where appropriate) or providing a signposting facility to the relevant authorities, to assist Brightlingsea landowners in the control of invasive species, environmentally sensitive land management and biodiversity conservation.
The Council will protect and, where possible, enhance the quality of Brightlingsea’s natural environment and open spaces. It will consider the change from mown grass areas to meadowland in appropriate locations. The Council aims to make open space accessible wherever possible. The Council will encourage and support tree planting both in urban and rural situations.
The Council will continue to promote the use of its allotments as a source of local food, helping to reduce the food miles consumed by Brightlingsea residents.
The Council will look to create bylaws if these are required to protect and conserve its green spaces.
Council procurement is continually assessed for sustainability implications, with the intention of purchasing renewable/recycled, environmentally low-impact and recyclable materials, so long as the requirements for value for money and quality are met. The Council will purchase from companies that have environmental management systems in place if possible and co-operate with other local government organisations that already purchase items such as recycled paper as part of a purchasing consortium.
The Council will endeavour wherever possible not to use single use plastics.
The Council will ban the use, by the Council or its contractors, of certain specified environmentally damaging products where an alternative product or method is available. These products are:
- Ozone depleting chemicals
- Tropical hardwood that is not certified independently as coming from a well- managed forest
- Pesticides on the UK ‘Red List’ and EC ‘Black List’2
The use of peat for soil amelioration will be avoided wherever possible.
For those businesses that wish to supply goods or services the Council will retain the right to ask for an environmental policy and action plan from those businesses.
Sourcing materials locally, where feasible, will reduce carbon emissions resulting from transporting produce. The Council will promote local produce and products within the community as appropriate, which will have the additional positive effect of supporting the local economy. It will continue to support the annual Brightlingsea Food & Drink Festival.
Where applicable the above will apply to our own grounds staff.
Awareness, Lobbying & Partnerships
The Council will promote awareness of, and information on, environmental issues within the community. It will act as a voice for local environmental concerns to those agencies given statutory powers to tackle problems.
The Council will continue to engage in partnership working with the local community, organisations and other tiers of local government in partnerships on conservation projects. The Council will also support other groups involved in environmental work in the town, including the Brightlingsea Litter Pickers, Brightlingsea in Bloom, Harbour Commissioners, The Springmead Garden Trust, An Ethical Life (a refill/zero waste shop in Brightlingsea’s High Street) and other organisations that support and are involved in environmental issues.
This environmental policy will be subject to annual review and where possible the Council’s improved environmental performance will be measured against specific targets and objectives. It is recommended that the review would be carried out by someone outside of the Council.
Prepared by Cllr Ben Smith MSc (EnvRes), in association with members of BTC Planning Committee.
Signed off by Brightlingsea Town Council as a ‘Draft for Consultation’ on 17th October 2019