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Claire's blog - Climate Change activities


Welcome to my first Blog specially to keep you up to date with what I am doing as the Climate Change Member for Mole Valley. I am very privileged to have this position and take my work very seriously. So much so, I have gone back to Uni. as a mature student and am studying Sustainable Development and Environment. Here are some of the things we have been moving forward with.


I'm sure most of you will know that over two years ago now, after decades of Tory Administration, we, the brand new Liberal Democrat Administration declared a Climate Emergency. Since then we have worked tirelessly to lower our Council's carbon footprint, along with our contractors. Masses of work has gone on behind the scenes to find out how we can do that. Our footprint was analysed by the Carbon Trust who advised us to acquire as much of our own green electricity as possible.


We have put our heads together to create our Climate Change Strategy. This is far reaching with some great innovative initiatives to lower our footprint. The first Action Plan has been completed so we are now working on our second action plan. This will roll out our procurement toolkit to make sure our contractors are following the same ethos as Mole Valley District Council.


One of the more fun ideas is the Community Lottery Fund. I wanted our residents to feel included; therefore, this is designed to support our local charities and groups who are in need of funds. There are 40 for you to look at. Ticket purchasers (that's you, I hope) can choose which group they want their money to go to and 10 pence of every ticket goes to the Mole Valley Environment Fund. Or you can designate the Environment Fund to be your choice for all of your money to go to. The Environment Fund money will go towards planting trees in Mole Valley. Each week there is a jackpot of £25,000....You may even wish to buy a regular ticket as a Christmas present for a friend: https://molevalley.gov.uk/lottery


We were extremely lucky to be in a great position to apply for and win government funding of almost half a million pounds to fit LED lights and Air Source Pumps in Dorking Halls and Pippbrook These have now been installed and will be connected very soon. Thus lowering our carbon footprint significantly.


As you know, we've committed to installing 90 Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCPs) across MVDC car parks. It's been tough with the complications of the pandemic, including the challenges of the employment market and the difficulties of spiraling costs. It's also proven very complex in terms of the survey work and permissions as the installations impact on other people's land. The good news is that all of the detailed survey work is now complete and we should be going to tender for the EVCPs and the physical installations early in the new year.


We have succeeded in finding out that more solar panels can be installed, through our feasibility study. Very few councils have solar carports. We now know this is possible in three of our Mole Valley car parks, as well as more solar panels on Dorking Sports Centre, Leatherhead Leisure Centre and Pippbrook Council Building. All these panels will soon supply these buildings with more clean green energy. We all know councils work slowly but these will be on their way soon.


In October I was so proud to put a motion to Full Council. Surrey County Council has the authority to make decisions on applications for mineral extraction in Mole Valley. Our Council only has the capacity to advise. I put it to the Council that we should advise SCC to consider not allowing new extraction permissions. It was then discussed, cross party, whether we should add, and 'not renew existing permissions'. This was agreed and passed unanimously! Wow what a moment. If only our National Government would do the same!


Since then I have made a statement to SCC's planning department that, in the light of this and declaring a climate emergency, we would ask them not to allow the new Brockham application. If you would like to see this please go to https://www.molevalley.gov.uk/CausewayDocList/DocServlet?ref=MO/2021/2103&docid=1178978


We also have joined the UK100 which supports councils wishing to do more to mitigate climate change. For more information please go to https://www.uk100.org/

Over the next few months I would like to update you regularly and keep you informed with all the things we are doing. In the meantime please have a look at: https://www.molevalley.gov.uk/goinggreen to help you on your quest to help our ailing planet.

Thank you so much and a Merry Christmas to you all

Claire Malcomson

Cabinet Member for Climate Change.