Co-operative Alliance: will not ‘deviate from our duty’ in tackling climate change

A Cabinet councillor at Lewes District Council has reaffirmed the Co-operative Alliance’s commitment to making essential changes to how the authority functions in the drive to tackle climate change.

Councillor Julie Carr, Cabinet Member for Recycling, Waste and Open Spaces, was speaking after councillors approved a new policy to reduce the use of pesticides and a strategy that will deliver pollinator friendly land management across the district.

Councillor Carr said:

“The Co-operative Alliance took control of the council just three months ago. From day one we were clear that as custodian of land across the district we would not deviate from our duty to implement policies and plans that nurture and protect our natural environment.

“The pesticide policy and pollinator strategy that Cabinet agreed are the two latest and very important steps forward in this approach.”

Lewes District Council will now use non-pesticide options for weed control as a first choice whenever possible – the authority was amongst the first to pioneer the use of hot foam.  The technique works by applying heat to the weed in the form of hot water and foam. The near boiling point foam acts as a thermal blanket, keeping the heat on the weed long enough to kill it.

A strategy has also been agreed by Cabinet that changes the council’s approach to land management, putting a much greater focus on pollinators and the critical importance of their role in the food chain.

Councillor Matthew Bird, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said:

“A third of all the food we eat is dependent on pollination. We have a vital role to play in ensuring that we create the best conditions for pollinators to thrive. This is especially important given the challenges they and all of us face in a changing climate.

“This excellent strategy sets out how we will follow pollinator-friendly land management practices on the land we own and manage, promote the importance of pollinators through our broader public communication and, in our planning authority role, encourage greater biodiversity including pollinator habitats.” 

Professor Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, added:

“It is vital that we do more to look after our declining pollinators, so I am delighted to see Lewes District Council’s new strategy to reduce pesticide use and increase habitat for these most important of creatures.”

The council also recently appointed a new Strategy and Partnership Lead for Sustainability to drive forward a programme of far-reaching action, targeting zero carbon emissions and full climate-resilience by 2030.