HVCA Manifesto

 The climate crisis has become visibly more urgent as demonstrated by extreme weather events throughout the world. We need immediate local, national and global action to tackle it. 

Hope Valley Climate Action (HVCA) was established to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change and to make a positive difference to the future of the Hope Valley and beyond. HVCA’s 1000 supporters are ready to play our part but we need serious and resolute political leadership. 

Our vision of the Hope Valley is a tranquil landscape that is used more sustainably, is less polluted, and thrives with wildlife and birdsong. There will be access to better transport for residents and visitors alike, a secure low carbon energy supply and lower energy bills. It will be a special place for those who live here and for those from surrounding towns and cities who come to enjoy and experience the National Park. 

We ask the incoming government to step up to the challenge and call for all candidates seeking political office to commit to: 

Better, safer, low carbon transport for residents and visitors 

Transport is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the UK. 90% of the visitors to the Peak Park come by car. Our roads are unsafe for children to cycle to school and for people of all ages to walk to the shops. 

We want residents and visitors to use safe and enjoyable walking and cycling routes and travel happily and sustainably on better public transport. There will be fewer journeys by car, and it will be easy to charge e-cars and e-bikes throughout the Hope Valley. 

We are asking for government and related bodies to: 

1. Substantially increase and sustain investment in active travel to provide the resources needed to create and manage a network of high quality cycling and walking routes in the Hope Valley. We would like to see the type of budget allocations that Scotland and Wales are now giving to active travel [£58 per person per year] and ensuring allocation of active travel budgets to rural, as well as urban, areas, particularly those with high numbers of visitors1 

1 Scotland has committed to do this from 2024 onwards. Their annual spend on active travel is £58 per head which would add up to an annual budget of £9 million for Derbyshire Dales and High Peak constituencies. 

2. Ensure safe travel for all road users by reducing the default speed limit in residential areas and on minor roads to 20mph by 2025, making active travel much safer and more attractive to many more people. 2 

2 Wales, central London, half the largest 40 urban authorities in the UK and whole rural councils like the Scottish Borders, Lancashire and Cheshire West and Chester have already made 20mph the default speed limit for residential streets. Oxfordshire and Cornwall are also introducing a county-wide 20mph limit for such roads. 

3. Speed up the shift to electric vehicles by recommitting to the deadline of 2030 for all new car sales to be electric vehicles, accelerating the transition to electric buses, and scaling up the charging infrastructure across the UK, including delivering 10 public charging points for electric cars and bikes for local residents in each village in the Hope Valley by end 2025. 

4. Require public authorities responsible for transport [sub-national, mayoral and highway authority] to plan and deliver a high quality, affordable, integrated public transport service for local bus and rail, drawing on best practice elsewhere in Europe: one network, one timetable, one ticket. This would transform public transport use and reduce the need for car travel by local people and visitors. 

Secure low carbon energy supply and warm homes 

In Hope Valley constituencies, around 15% of residents live in fuel poverty. Solar technology is not normally permitted in conservation areas and on listed buildings, and wind turbines are effectively banned, despite most people supporting the deployment of well-sited facilities in harmony with nature. 

We want warm homes and affordable bills and a low carbon energy supply that is based on renewable energy, protecting us from volatile markets and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. 

In the UK, the workforce to make the country’s homes energy efficient is just 17% of that required. 

We are asking for government and related bodies to: 

1. Change UK wide and national park planning regulations to allow well-sited onshore wind and solar in harmony with nature, including for listed buildings. 

2. Triple renewable energy production by 2030, including installing locally. appropriate small-scale wind and solar for all Hope Valley villages, so that a significantly higher proportion of electricity used in the Valley is generated locally. Explore the potential for floating solar farms on local reservoirs. 

3. Allocate investment to enable a four-fold increase in electricity grid capacity and develop regional and local energy systems. 

4. De-link the price of electricity from gas, so the benefit of cheaper renewable energy is passed on to consumers. 

5. Deliver a ten year programme of energy efficiency and retrofit, including grants and interest free loans, to reduce energy needs and bills, and eliminate energy poverty in the Hope Valley. 

6. Develop training programmes in every county to provide an adequate workforce of suitably skilled people to retrofit our houses, install low carbon heating, and advise on and install renewable electricity generation. 

7. Strengthen the Future Homes Standard 2025 to ensure that all new homes are carbon neutral within 3 years. 

A beautiful landscape absorbing and storing carbon and supporting economically viable, nature friendly farming 

We want land management within the Hope Valley to play its part in tackling the climate crisis. We want to see low-carbon agricultural and land management practices that: lock more carbon into soils and vegetation; deliver nature based solutions to issues such as provision of clean water and reducing flood risk; support thriving nature and wildlife; produce food; and provide good livelihoods. 

We are asking for government and related bodies to: 

1. Restore actively functioning blanket bogs in peatland areas of the Hope Valley to absorb carbon and reduce flooding downstream. Specifically, to assure the long-term funding of peat restoration projects and actively support Moors for the Future and others to deliver these projects. 

2. Support projects to maintain, enhance and create sensitively located woodland and hedgerows, across both farmland and amenity land aiming for at least a 40% increase by 2030 (compared to 2020). 

3. Promote regenerative approaches to management of grassland, in balance with the protection of our existing carbon and species rich permanent grassland aiming for 30% of grassland in the Valley to be managed for carbon and nature in line with the 30×30 target of protecting 30% of the planet for nature by 2030. 

4. Commit to on-going support for farmers’ clusters such as Hope Valley Farmers to ensure there is a forum for shared learning, to contribute to the delivery of climate and nature positive farming as set out above. 

5. Ensure robust funding mechanisms that truly incentivise carbon and nature positive farming, particularly rewarding longstanding existing positive management. Specifically, we are calling for the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) to offer payment rates that support fair livelihoods for farmers delivering public goods; and the continuation of Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) beyond 2025. Support farmers in moving away from the use of chemical fertilisers where this is still the case. 

6. Create a plan to decarbonise farm equipment and machinery, including developing charging infrastructure, with incentives to support farmers to switch away from fossil fuels. 

7. Cease pesticide use on roadsides, verges and amenity land in Hope Valley towns and villages; and encourage community engagement with alternative proactive management approaches. 

Support steps to decarbonise the construction industry 

Cement manufacture is a significant part of the local economy. The Hope Cement works releases 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 annually, and so is the largest point source of CO2 in the County, accounting for half the CO2 released from within the Peak District National Park. The cement produced is used in the construction industry, in mortar and concrete. Three approaches are possible to reducing CO2 emissions from the industry. One is to reduce the amount of cement used, and so the amount it is necessary to manufacture. A second is to use alternative, lower carbon, cements, or to manufacture ‘Portland’ cement using raw materials that generate less CO2. A third option is carbon capture and storage (CCS). 

All three approaches present challenges, and we believe all three need to be pursued. 

We are asking for Government and related bodies to: 

1. Mandate the calculation of the carbon costs of construction and repurposing of buildings, as a preliminary move towards taxing carbon emissions. 

2. Revise planning guidance and tax regimes so as to promote the repurposing of existing buildings in preference to new build. 

3. Promote research into and the use of alternative low carbon construction techniques such as wood, rammed earth, or straw bales. 

4. Promote research into and the use of alternative lower carbon cements, including the use of geopolymers such as fly ash, or kaolinite rich clay, or concrete demolition waste. 5. Where concrete cannot be substituted by lower carbon alternatives, ensure that the concrete being used has the lowest possible carbon footprint, including where possible sequestering CO2. 

6. Continue to support the exploration of carbon capture and storage in cement manufacture including the rigorous evaluation of the environmental costs of the necessary infrastructure. 7. Ensure the environmental and climate impacts of large scale infrastructure projects are rigorously evaluated. 

Hope Valley Climate Action June 2024 

www.hopevalleyclimateaction.org.uk 

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