This article was written by Damian and published in this week's Herald editions and Petersfield Post:
"When we started earlier in the year to plan the COP26 East Hampshire event taking place in Alton this week, we knew that bringing together local organisations and individuals with expertise and knowledge about climate change was the right approach, but we weren’t entirely sure what the output would be.
Reflecting the distinct areas of transport, buildings and land use & agriculture, three separate Action Groups have been working virtually over the past few months to consider the best practice and actions that can help accelerate decarbonisation locally.
These findings and recommendations are a central part of the event, with the Chairs of each group presenting them to the general public for the first time.
They will of course consider the role of national policy, but the focus is very much on how efforts made locally can make a real difference here in East Hampshire – by individuals, businesses and the organisations that we rely on to run services across our communities.
As well as a video address from Lord Deben, Chairman of the UK’s Climate Change Committee, we will also hear from local government representatives on the steps being taken to address the challenges, and where we head next.
Businesses will be able to hear expert advice on how to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, with Enterprise M3 LEP and Greentech South leading a panel discussion with local companies who have already taken action to decarbonise their operations.
An exhibition running alongside the presentations will feature around 40 different organisations - including local community groups involved in initiatives to tackle climate change - as well as commercial enterprises with products and services that support individuals and businesses to take action for themselves.
Among those will be community groups such as the Petersfield Society, Cycle Alton, Petersfield and Alton Climate Action Networks and Alton Repair Cafe, as well as advisory organisations such as the National Farmers Union, the Enterprise M3 LEP’s Growth Hub and the Basingstoke Energy Services Co-operative. Retail companies exhibiting include Owen Cycles and Bordon’s Cyclesphere, as well as Refill Alton and Petersfield’s Juniper Online.
We will also hear from students at local schools on the steps they are taking within their own communities, with some schools showcasing their work in the exhibition area and others by video.
The event is being held at the Alton Maltings, on Friday 8th October, with doors opening at 2pm. The main presentations start at 3.30pm, with a business-focused session from 6pm.
More details, and information on how to register in advance for free entry tickets, is available at damianhinds.com/cop26-east-hampshire or easthants.gov.uk/cop26-east-hampshire
So, whether you’re an individual keen to find out more about the steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint, or a small business owner looking for advice on how to decarbonise your operations, this is an event for you.
COP26 East Hampshire brings together the key people and organisations that will influence what happens next in tackling climate change locally, and that includes the people who live and businesses that operate here in East Hampshire.
Our own ‘ Conference Of the Parties’ is I hope just the start of engagement and action that can help everyone locally to be part of the solution – a collective effort to tackle a challenge that affects us all."