We all care about our environment and how we live in the world. We are committed to ensuring that its activities and services are more resilient to the impacts of climate change and reducing our ecological footprint. There are many things that everyone can do at the local level to become more environmentally sustainable.
In March 2019, Adelaide Hills Council became the second Council in South Australia, and thirteenth in Australia, to declare a Climate Emergency. The decision reflects Council's preparedness to provide leadership for our community in addressing the unprecedented threat of climate change. You can read more about this declaration here.
As natural hazards intensify, living expenses like energy, mortgages and insurance will get more expensive for climate vulnerable homes – that is, homes that are in high-risk areas and have not been built to mitigate those risks.
The Where We Build What We Build project aims to encourage building or retrofitting of homes that are climate-ready, by demonstrating that the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs. Read more about this project here.
We are striving towards more efficient use of resources, reduction in energy and water use, conservation of biodiversity, reduction in waste, increase in resource recovery, and use of local provenance food, and are undertaking numerous actions including:
- A Biodiversity Strategy that outlines Council's commitment to biodiversity conservation. The document is aimed primarily at managing biodiversity values within its reserves and road reserves, reducing the impacts of key threatening processes, and strengthening the natural resilience of ecosystems and their ability to recover from disturbances.
- A Water Management Plan to identify ways to improve water efficiency and management including the reuse of treated wastewater to irrigate ovals, incorporation of a central irrigation system and new and improved irrigation systems.
- The adoption of a Corporate Carbon Management Plan to assist Council's understanding of its current corporate carbon emissions footprint and how, over time, this can be
meaningfully reduced in a financially responsible manner.
- An Energy Reduction program resulting in solar PV panels being installed on Council's main buildings and the site of the Birdwood Community Wastewater Management System pumps, as well as the roll out of LED street lighting across the district (click here for more information about the benefits of switching to LED).
- A Waste and Resources Management Strategy that has resulted in a reduction in waste to landfill through initiatives such as the introduction of green organic waste bins and drop off days, and a resource recovery depot at Heathfield. The depot has recently benefited from the addition of a household chemical and paint collection point, giving residents even more options for safe and sustainable waste removal.
- A Resource Recovery and Recycling Strategy that aims to increase the amount of recycling material placed in recycling and green organic kerbside bins and therefore reduce materials going to landfill.
- A Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island to help build a community that is more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
- Changes to our vehicle fleet by replacing high fuel usage cars with ’greener’ vehicles such as hybrid cars. The target is to transition to electric vehicles.
- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding in a trial of circular economy; prioritising the purchase of goods made from recycled materials in order to increase demand for this product stream. Read more about this here.
- Sustainability grants are available through our Community and Recreation Facilities grants for improvements or upgrades to community facilities. These grants could include solar PV panels, LED lighting upgrades, energy and water efficiency improvements. Further information on the grant application process can be found here.
Council also works with specific groups in the district that influence sustainable living, such as our Sustainability Advisory Group, the Uraidla Sustainability Fair, Imagine Uraidla Sustainable Action Group, and the community’s Transition Adelaide Hills.
SUSTAINABILITY ADVISORY GROUP
The Sustainability Advisory Group consists of Council Members and community members who have specific expertise in one or more sustainability areas, such as climate change, energy efficiency, resource recovery, water management and building resilient communities. The group meets quarterly and helps facilitate Council’s sustainability initiatives and overall performance by discussing future directions and potential initiatives. For more information or to become a member, contact our Sustainability Officer on (08) 8408 0400.