11 Aug 2021

Hutt City Council publishes plan to cut its carbon emissions

5:21 pm on 11 August 2021

Hutt City Council has published a plan to cut its own carbon emissions, including switching half its vehicle fleet to electric within 10 years.

Hutt City mayor Campbell Barry.

Mayor Campbell Barry. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Mayor Campbell Barry said all councils, cities and countries had an obligation to do their part to avoid a climate catastrophe.

"If we don't begin to act with more urgency, we risk increasing the effects climate change has on our infrastructure, property, public health, biodiversity, economy, and our day to day lives," Barry said.

Hutt City Council's interim carbon reduction plan - Mahere Hukihuki Whakaiti Waro me te Manawaroa ā-Āhuarangi mō Te Kaunihera o Te Awa Kairangi Interim Carbon Reduction and Climate Resilience Plan 2021-2031 includes 21 actions developed by council with the guidance of Mana Whenua and the Lower Hutt Community Climate Change Response Lead group.

The plan's executive summary stated "Lower Hutt city is located on the most densely populated flood plain in New Zealand, and as a coastal city, it is vulnerable to sea level rise. We will likely see at least a half a metre of sea level rise this century, and that will put billions of dollars of infrastructure and property at risk, impacting people's lives and their

wellbeing.

"Rising sea levels will push up the water table, making it harder for Te Awa Kairangi Hutt River to drain the water during flood events. If we reach two degrees of warming, major floods could occur three times as often as they do now.

"While we are uncertain about the pace and scale of future change, we do know that planning for the future means planning for a different climate. Our role is to enable a city that is more

resilient, where everyone thrives."

Actions in the plan include:

  • Phasing out natural gas at council facilities and replacing it with low carbon technologies
  • Upgrading Lower Hutt city's 14,200 streetlights to LED
  • Introducing EVs for the new rubbish and recycling service
  • Having 50 percent electric council vehicles in 2025 and 100 percent by 2030
  • Investigate the feasibility of removing methane via a controlled flare burn-off at the closed landfill in Wainuiomata.

Barry said the carbon reduction plan was not going to "solve the climate crisis on its own".

"But it does show our commitment to continue working alongside our communities in order to address the environmental challenges we all face."

The plan would need to be revised over the coming year as the council improved its "understanding of emissions associated with the services Hutt City Council delivers and the infrastructure we invest in, take account of new government initiatives and new technologies and respond to community priorities set out in the Lower Hutt climate action roadmap", it said.

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