24 Oct 2008

All talk and targets

Yesterday I stepped gingerly once more into the bureaucratic world of St Albans Council's contribution to the sustainability debate.

And 'debate' continues to be the active word here. For all the speeches, conferences, agreements, policy documents and front page spreads on the Herts Advertiser, you'd be forgiven for thinking that they are actually doing something.

Yesterday's effort was the Big Foot Conference - where the council and the Local Strategic Partnership invited interested parties to consider how we move forward.

Of course it's important to set out strategy, targets etc, but they've been doing that for a number of years now (and claiming credit for it) whilst the list of achievements is underwhelming to say the least.

They now have a target of reducing the entire district's footprint by 3% year on year, to reach an overall 60% reduction by 2025. That's a great target, one Friends of the Earth would approve of. But they are not going to achieve even the easy early years of that with the tiny-scale ideas they have so far.

Where is the local energy production? The heafty renewable energy requirements on developers? The local transport policy? The local food scheme?

One expert at yesterday's conference told me that the Council would be lucky to even stabilise the district's C02 levels, let alone decrease them. Without grown-up policies, and the guts to implement them, I'm sadly inclined to agree.

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