This July BHT Sussex launched a new Environmental Strategy, acknowledging the climate crisis as the biggest threat to humanity in the coming years. The urgent need for action to reduce our collective impact on our environment was highlighted in August 2021, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published their latest report.
This year we have seen increasing extreme weather events – a cold, dry spring followed by exceptional rainfall through the summer. Summer flash floods in London saw housing association tenants in Notting Hill forced to leave their homes. Record breaking heat has driven terrifying wildfires in the USA and Southern Europe.
In Sussex recent impacts of these changing weather patterns have been limited to a few very hot days and some extreme rain. However, in our globally connected society changes affect us all, for example, hitting food growing areas and transport systems.
So, what can BHT Sussex do? Our initial two-year strategy sets out preliminary action, including improving information we currently hold on impacts of our properties and operations, and identifying areas where we can act now to save energy and reduce resource use. The National Housing Federation are working to support social housing providers to reduce their carbon footprints, and we are exploring funding and partnership opportunities that can help us in the journey towards reducing energy use and retrofitting.
We are continuing to promote active travel, encouraging walking or cycling where possible. In the coming months we will be promoting energy and water efficiency, minimising resource use in offices and operations, reducing the impact of meals provided by our services and looking to increase biodiversity across estates and gardens. To make this happen we will be working with staff, tenants and clients to assess the changes we can all make to reduce our impact and work towards healthier, sustainable homes.