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Byron Shire aims to become Australia's first Zero Emissions community

Byron Shire has set a goal to become Australia's first Zero Emissions community. The new goal has come about as a result of a recent visit by Beyond Zero Emissions to Byron Bay.

Mayor Simon Richardson said the offer of support was extended by the internationally renowned organisation and would allow Byron Shire to have access to unprecedented research and specialist resources and apply them in a local context.

"The outcomes will build on our recently adopted Byron Shire Low Carbon Strategy, widening it to include the whole community rather than just Council's own operations.

"Plus, the new partnership will build on Council and community projects already underway.

"This is an opportunity that our community will relish and we are ready for it," he said.

Mayor Richardson said the next step was to look at 'what we already know'.

"What are we doing well, what does zero emissions look like in our Shire, how can this be achieved and what might it cost?"

He said Council's role will be one of facilitation and allow many in the Byron Shire to come together and build a blueprint towards achieving a zero emissions footprint.

"This will involve a series of workshops with the agricultural industry, building, energy, waste, transport, business and many others. 

"With the assistance of Beyond Zero Emissions, we will develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero over the next ten years," Mayor Richardson said.

Beyond Zero Emissions

BZE is Australia’s most reputable organisation working in this space and is increasingly being sought by some of the world’s leading organisations to help facilitate road maps to take cities and countries towards a zero emission footprint.  BZE has developed blueprints to take Australia’s economy into ‘negative emissions,’ which the UNFCCC has recently acknowledged we should be working towards to limit warming at two degrees by 2100.

For more on BZE, go to http://bze.org.au

First Steps

BZE are proposing to conduct a Community Forum open to all sectors to come and help co-create a Byron specific strategy and plan. The Zero Emissions Town program is unique in that all sectors of the economy work to achieve more than climate neutrality. Land use, waste and transport are included, as well as energy use.

The program will be implemented over 10 years and may include:

  • Renewable energy
  • Retrofitting existing buildings
  • Electric vehicles, cycle ways and public transport
  • Land Use Management and vegetation
  • Waste and waste water management

For further information regarding the Community Forum please sign up to Council's free Sustainability E-Newsletter by visiting http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/sustainability-newsletter.