East Gippy Shire Council Climate Actions

The East Gippsland Shire Councils’ (EGSC) online newsletter Environment Connect has a number of items relevant to climate and climate action. The Newsletter noted a “collaborative LED street light replacement” with South Gippsland and Wellington Shire Councils to upgrade “LED street lighting…across the three Council areas in the first half of 2022. The use of LED globes [is predicted to] save $3,665,000 over 20 years in East Gippsland…” and presumably there will be an equally significant saving in greenhouse gas emissions. The LED replacement is also part of the EGSC’s Cities Partnership with the Climate Council.

Environment Connect also noted “Our draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2022-2032 has closed for comment.  We received 472 hits to the website, 184 downloads of the strategy and 53 survey responses.  Feedback was positive with a sense of urgency to just get on with it.” The three top key findings were “Conservation of the natural environment and biodiversity (this was ranked as the highest priority with an average ranking of 2.3 out of 7), Sustainable management of natural resources (includes climate mitigation) (3.2 out of 7) [and] Community participation in the climate response (4.1 out of 7)”. Also “Growth in the circular economy” and “Community resilience to respond to increasing climate risk and natural disasters” were in the key findings.

Environment Connect added that “Community feedback, recommendations and suggested priorities will now be reviewed and taken on board. A final version will be presented to Council in the coming months. If endorsed, the final strategy will then be released with a four-year action plan.” It is significant that although the survey was headed 10 year strategy the final response will be a four year plan. My submission to the survey here and here.

Finally the newsletter looked at the “role of street trees” in particular looking at the ‘heat island effect’. “The importance of these trees in the future should not be underestimated. As more and more developments are being built, the heat bank from the roads and concrete need to be addressed. The Parks and Gardens unit would love to see avenues of trees along our urban roadsides that will reduce the urban heat banks…Choosing the best tree for the right location is vital, whether it be native or exotic. An interesting point from using deciduous trees is in winter is they reduce the wind speeds by 50-90% and in summer trees and gardens can reduce surface temperatures by up to 40%.”

The EGSC is to be encouraged in these and other similar endeavours. Perhaps one new avenue they can pursue with vigour is the publicising, supporting and promoting the offshore wind program recently announced by the Andrews government.