Total zero carbon emissions, renewable energy initiatives, more cycleways, connected wildlife corridors and sustainable building materials are part of how the City of Newcastle (CN) aims to create an environmental legacy for future generations.
The vision is outlined in CN’s draft Newcastle Environment Strategy, which will be presented at Tuesday’s council meeting ahead of a four-week public exhibition period.
Designed around three priority areas: climate change, nature-based solutions and the circular economy, the strategy sets out a 10-year environmental roadmap for a sustainable Newcastle, identifying 15 key actions over the first four years.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nutali Nelmes said the strategy will ensure CN continues its decades of work and advocacy to protect and improve our environment.
“Newcastle has a strong reputation in local government as a leader when it comes to protecting our precious natural environment, while investing in progressive work to ensure our city is more sustainable,” Cr Nelms said.
Since the Watershed Pathways to Sustainability International Conference in Newcastle in 1997, chaired by former Lord Mayor Greg Hayes, we have recognized that addressing global environmental challenges requires local action.
“Through this strategy, we are sending a message to our community that we are strongly committed to protecting and enhancing Newcastle’s natural environment today.”
The Strategy is based on a shared community view of our environment, informed by more than 4,500 feedback from more than 2,600 community members and environmental experts received in the Community Strategic Plan Engagement Program.
It sets out the initial actions to be delivered by 2027 in partnership with CN or state and federal governments, business and the community.
This includes converting CN’s vehicles, plant and equipment to electric power or low-emission alternatives, and expanding our urban forest to create connected green corridors for endangered and pollinating species.
Other activities include working with local traditional custodians to integrate indigenous knowledge into the way we care for and manage our land, and increasing the use of reclaimed materials and sustainable product alternatives in CN operations and construction activities.
Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the strategy provides a critical roadmap for achieving our progressive environmental ambitions.
“Through our Newcastle Environmental Strategy, we will become a more sustainable city where we value our natural environment and continue to take decisive action to respond to challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and resource overuse,” Cr Clausen said.
“With its associated delivery plan, we have identified clear and concrete actions that will allow us to achieve net zero emissions, combat climate change in our communities, infrastructure and natural areas and transform our city through circular economy solutions.”
The Newcastle Environment Strategy will be delivered in conjunction with CN’s Sustainable Waste Strategy, Newcastle Transport Strategy and our Bike Cycling Plan, currently supported by the Newcastle Climate Action Plan 2021-2025.
Failing councilors’ approval at Tuesday’s meeting, the draft strategy will be put on public display for four weeks before returning to the council later this year.
Community members will be given the opportunity to comment on the strategy via the Have Your Say page on CN’s website and will be invited to enter a free photography competition designed to capture the different ways people value Newcastle’s environment.