Sustainability Action Plan sets environmental goals

City of Launceston
City of Launceston

By the year 2030, all Launceston households will be provided with FOGO kerbside bins, 80 per cent of the community’s waste will be diverted from landfill, and the Council’s annual fleet fuel consumption will drop by 20 per cent per capita, as part of ambitious new goals set out in the City of Launceston’s Sustainability Action Plan.

The Sustainability Action Plan was formally endorsed by the City of Launceston earlier this year. It has been developed using data from a greenhouse gas desktop audit for the 2018-2019 financial year, and is aimed at making the Council a more environmentally sustainable organisation.

The audit examined data from both the Council’s operations and the Launceston community as a whole.

It found the Council’s baseline emissions were estimated at 59,529 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per year.

Emissions were largely attributed to the operation of the landfill at the Launceston Waste Centre (89 per cent of overall emissions) which accepts residential, commercial and industrial waste from across the region — including from four neighbouring local government areas.

The consumption of fossil fuel gas was the Council’s second largest emission source — comprising 6 per cent of overall emissions — followed by fuel use, like diesel and petrol, at 2 per cent.

In terms of the city as a whole, the audit found approximately 758,740 tCO2e (excluding emissions associated with land use change) were emitted in the 2018/19 financial year.

This is equivalent to approximately 250,000 cars driving from Launceston to Hobart every week for a year, or approximately two million return trip flights between Launceston and Melbourne.

The community’s highest emission source was industry at 38 per cent, followed by transport emissions at 28 per cent, reflecting Launceston’s high reliance on passenger vehicles and freight.

The Sustainability Action Plan sets out six priority action categories:

Leadership and Advocacy

Towards Zero Emissions

Adaptation and Resilience

Material Efficiency, Recovery and Optimisation

Natural Capital

Smart Assets

The Sustainability Action Plan explores each priority category and outlines corresponding goals to be reached by the year 2030.

Other goals include:

To power all City of Launceston owned buildings with 100% renewable energy by the year 2025.

To increase the percentage of tree canopy cover on City of Launceston owned land by 2025, and again by 2030.

To increase the extent of wetlands in the municipality by 2030.

To produce natural disaster guidance for high climate risks by 2023.

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the Sustainability Action Plan had been designed to guide the Council’s future coordination of operations, service delivery and asset management in order to achieve the goals outlined.

“The City of Launceston strives to be a community leader in terms of sustainability and environmental best practice,” Mayor van Zetten said.

“The work we’ve undertaken in developing this plan has been some of the most comprehensive ever undertaken by a local Council in Tasmania.

“It outlines where our Council and our community are doing well, and where there are opportunities to improve.

“In coming decades, climate change will present a unique set of challenges to local government.

“The City of Launceston’s Sustainability Action Plan forms part of our strategic response to those challenges, and I’d encourage residents and organisations to take advantage of the data contained in the document to prepare for their own environmental sustainability initiatives in future years.”

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