Byron Shire Action Group Calls for an Expedited Net Zero Emissions Target
Byron Shire Action Group today stated it would implement additional environmental measures to bring forward Council’s net zero emissions target from 2025 to 2023, if elected in the upcoming local government election.
Media release July 22, 2021
“Our concern is that while the Council subscribes to the notion of leading-edge environmental policy, it has fallen far short of real action. Our intention is to make it clear what our commitments will be, and to be judged on our actions, not our talk,” said Mayoral candidate Bruce Clarke.
”Our environmental policy has been informed by real world success achieved by comparable NSW Local Government Areas, as well as by national and international best practice.”
Byron Shire Action Group will provide environmental leadership to build the infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the community. To this end, it proposes the following core environmental initiatives to build upon and reinvigorate the Council’s work in the environmental sphere.
Reduce Emissions of Council Operations
- Expedite the transition of all plant and equipment to electric where possible, from small handheld equipment to large plant and equipment.
- Expand the installation of rooftop photovoltaic and battery storage at Council sites.
- Consider the installation of megawatt scale battery storage as part of the Council’s proposed 5MW Dingo Lane Solar Farm.
- Accelerate the replacement of all street lighting to LED. In 2017, streetlights accounted for a total of 3.5% of Council emissions.
- Use new sustainable material technologies for Council construction projects including green concrete, recycled glass and aggregate in roads and footpaths, and recycled plastic for pothole infill, street furniture, play equipment and fence posts.
- Implement a preference policy for Council suppliers who practice low emission strategies.
Exceed Council’s Targeted Annual Reduction of 2.5% Use of Fossil-based Energy
- Establish a fleet of electric buses to create an efficient, effective and reliable public transport network.
- Support the further development of active transport, including the construction of additional walking and cycling infrastructure, and facilitating easier access to these pathways.
- Convert all fleet/pool cars, and waste vehicles to electric.
- Install sufficient and accessible electric vehicle charge points across the Byron Shire.
Conservation of Our Biodiversity and Natural Environment
The impacts of the Council’s sewage treatment works on the Belongil estuary were highlighted during recent legal action against the West Byron development proposals. Initial recycling and reuse plans dating back to 2007, including wetland rehabilitation, have not eventuated. Additionally, land has not been set aside for necessary pollution abatement ponds. Byron Shire Action Group will:
- Implement urgently needed solutions to the massive overrun of treated effluent from the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant being dumped into Belongil Creek.
- Seek urgent collaboration with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to implement immediate limits on development which connects to the Sewage Treatment Plant.
- Implement plans for reuse to ensure compliance with the project’s initial Environmental Planning Authority approval.
- Review Council’s options for future capacity.
In line with the basic principles and objectives of the NSW Coastal Protection Act 2016, we intend to implement a variety of measures for the management of foreshores along the entire Byron Shire.
- Using geobags and re-profiling the dunes, as temporary measures only, in order to stabilise the foreshore and mature trees using Council’s plant and equipment
- Ensure timely clean up of unsafe debris.
- Review longer-term solutions such as sand replenishment to halt coastal erosion.
Forest Conservation, Agricultural Technology Initiatives & Efficient Drainage
We will prioritise the following critical environment areas:
- The need for efficient drainage to avoid ongoing, damaging urban flooding especially in the Ocean Shores and Mullumbimby areas.
- Increased forest conservation including creation of more wildlife corridors.
- Support for Ag Tech initiatives and best sustainable farming practice including regeneration of soil, and reduced water usage.
Consistent and Clear Community Collaboration
Byron Shire Action Group will work with the community to support and facilitate sustainable initiatives. It intends to ensure Council collaborates with residents and local businesses to reduce emissions not just in Council operations, but as a region. This community-first approach will be based on partnering, knowledge-sharing, and running pilot trials with residents and local businesses to develop and implement innovative solutions to reduce costs and emissions. This will be done by:
- Encouraging social enterprises.
- Facilitating businesses to buy or install renewables by implementing knowledge-sharing initiatives.
- Promoting and supporting local industries and production with a view to increasing the circularity and thus sustainability of our local economy.
“Byron Shire’s rich and diverse biosphere is both a gift and a responsibility. The vulnerability of our ecosystems to both unsustainable development and the danger of climate change necessitates ambitious and effective action.
This action must bring together all levels of government and the wider community to place Byron Shire at the forefront of protecting our natural world and establish a model for a sustainable future,” Bruce concluded.
About Byron Shire Action Group
As a team of strong, like-minded Progressive Independents, Byron Shire Action Group believes in putting the people of Byron Shire ahead of allegiance to any political party. By providing smart leadership and better governance, the team will focus on the real issues faced by the community. Under the leadership of Mayoral candidate Bruce Clarke, the focus is to ensure Byron Shire maintains its heritage, character and values while adapting to future demands. Bruce is a lawyer, local government specialist, trained mediator, environmental strategist with high-level management expertise. He is joined on the team by senior diplomat/journalist/communications specialist Julie Meldrum; café owner and Brunswick Chamber of Commerce committee member Gary Deller; and small businesswoman Janine Khosid. In the lead up to the Council election on September 4, 2021, specifics about key action items and policy papers will continue to be released that will act as a blueprint for a reinvigorated and reunited Byron Shire. For more details, please visit www.byronshireactiongroup.org
M:0459 815 141