Upper Hunter Shire Council

Is a Power Partner
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reduction in use of potable water in Scone parks

The Upper Hunter Shire is a large and beautiful rural area stretching from the rugged mountain ranges in the north to Lake Glenbawn in the east, rolling hills in the south and golden plains in the west.  The thriving economic base is centred on an equine and agriculture industry including cattle and sheep grazing lands, cereal cropping, wineries and prestigious horse studs. Maintaining a healthy environment is essential to our economy and our lifestyle and Council is increasingly putting a stronger emphasis in our corporate planning on sustainability and good environmental practices.

As a geographically large shire with a relatively small population heavily reliant on road transportation, we are always looking to increase efficiencies in the delivery of services and utilise strategies successfully developed in other regions.

We have recently formed a new Sustainability Advisory Committee and are close to completing a Sustainability Action Plan 2017.

Some recent wins included saving water by irrigating parks with waste water in Scone, our biggest town. This reduced the use of potable water from 75 ML in 2012/13 to only 3 ML for the following years. Over the last few years we have also progressively changed household water rates so access charges are reduced and usage charges are increased, to encourage water efficiencies.

In the past, Council has undertaken an energy audit of major Council infrastructure and high energy use sites and in 2007 developed a financial loss control action plan. We also implemented an Eco-star sustainability rating program for Council facilities which provided a rating for water and energy efficiency.

Council will continue to update lighting fixtures to LED across all its buildings and facilities and is installing solar PV systems at suitable locations.

We will be using vehicle efficiency as an evaluation criteria for new vehicle purchases and increasing our use of Skype / teleconferences across our three administration offices and other buildings by 30% in 2017/18.

We are investigating the potential for an electric vehicle charging station in the Shire, which would be a great attraction for those using the New England Highway.

More cycleways, solar and other renewable power, eco-tourism and recycling facilities are some of our top priorities. We will continue to manage land use conflicts to protect our agriculture and equine industries.

Mayor Wayne Bedggood

Media Coverage

Shire council joins climate change pledge. Scone Advocate.
http://citiespowerpartnership.org.au/2017/08/04/shire-council-joins-climate-change-pledge/ 

Council stepping into a renewable future. Scone Advocate.
http://citiespowerpartnership.org.au/2017/08/07/council-stepping-renewable-future/

Council joins national climate change pledge. Public Now.
http://citiespowerpartnership.org.au/2017/07/25/council-joins-national-climate-change-pledge/

Media Coverage

Upper Hunter Shire Council Action Pledge Coming Soon!

In the meantime, check out some pledges that councils can choose from:

Power council operations by renewables, directly (with solar PV or wind), or by purchasing Greenpower (from electricity retailers). Set targets to increase the level of renewable power for council operations over time.

For communities reliant on a local coal industry, local government can support the transition away from fossil fuels, by lobbying for state and federal support for a just transition for workers, families and the community and encouraging local economic development and opportunities based on a low carbon economy.

Install renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on council buildings for example childcare facilities, libraries, street lighting, recreation centres, sporting grounds, and council offices.

Ensure Council fleet purchases meet strict greenhouse gas emissions requirements and support the uptake of electric vehicles.

Promote knowledge sharing and strengthen the local community’s capacity and skills in renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.

Set minimum energy efficiency benchmarks for all planning applications.

Public lighting can use a large proportion of a city’s energy budget - roll out energy efficient lighting (particularly street lighting) across the municipality.

Consider disincentives for driving high emitting vehicles such as congestion pricing, or a tiered payment system for residential car parking permits where high emitting vehicles pay more.

Use strategic and statutory planning processes to promote renewable energy both at the residential, commercial and larger scale.

Facilitate large energy users collectively tendering and purchasing renewable energy at a low cost.

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