Aberystwyth Town Council is committed to continuous environmental improvement. This Environmental Policy seeks to establish broad principles upon which a Town Environmental Strategy will be based. The Town Council is committed to playing its part in tackling environmental damage and improving the quality of the environment.
The Town Council will try to “think global but act local”, recognising that by working with the community to reduce the net harm Aberystwyth does to the environment the community can contribute to the objectives of the Rio Conference. (See Appendix).
The Town Council will seek to promote the conservative and sustainable use of natural resources, to minimise the adverse environmental effects of its own activities and take positive action to improve the environment.
The Council will promote environmental awareness within the community and work with the local community in partnerships to achieve environmental change.
It will monitor local environmental change and act as a voice for local environmental concerns to those agencies given statutory powers to tackle problems.
To those ends within the resources available and where practicable, Aberystwyth Town Council will:
Develop an energy policy with the aims of:
- Measuring and setting targets to reduce the use of energy and water in its own buildings, vehicles and equipment.
- Promoting sustainable energy generation.
- Promote energy efficient designs of buildings and good site management.
Develop a resource minimisation policy with the aims of:
- Measuring and setting targets to reduce the use of non-renewable resources, promoting the use of renewable or recycled materials wherever possible.
- Opting for environmental friendly products and purchasing from companies supporting BS7750 objectives where possible.
- Measuring and setting targets to reduce waste: through reuse and recycling.
Develop a strategy for monitoring and minimising pollution with the aims of:
- Commencing work on behalf of the community (in conjunction with statutory environmental agencies) to reduce local pollution by making information on air, water and soil quality available to the public and specifying those actions which would improve the situation, (as well as highlighting those activities which are likely to have given rise to it in the first place).
Develop a transport and planning strategy with the aims of:
- Continuing to encourage more sustainable transport systems, promoting the use of public transport, and non-polluting modes of transport e.g. cycling.
The Rio Conference
In 1992, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (`the Earth Summit’) in Rio, over 150 nations including the UK endorsed a 500 - page document, Agenda 21, which sets out how both developed and developing countries can work towards sustainable development.
Agenda 21 says that sustainable development requires humanity to:
- Reduce our use of energy and raw materials, and production of pollution and wastes;
- Protect fragile ecosystems;
- Share wealth, opportunities and responsibilities more fairly between North and South, between countries, and between different social groups within each country, with special emphasis on the needs and rights of the poor and disadvantaged.
Agenda 21 also argues that we will only be able to achieve these aims through planned, democratic, co-operative processes:
- We will not achieve sustainable development by accident but must consciously plan and work for it, at all levels from international to local;
- All people, including poor and disadvantaged groups, must have a say in decisions about environment and development;
- All social groups and interest, including business, education, and voluntary and community groups as well as governments at all levels, will need to work in partnership.
Agenda 21 singles out local government as having a special role. Two thirds of the actions in Agenda 21 require the active involvement of local authorities. Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 calls on them to initiate Local Agenda 21 processes - partnerships for sustainable development at a local level - by 1996. Local Agenda 21 is about applying the partnership approach to achieve action for sustainable development at local level.