Thursday, 18 October 2007

Canterbury: Bottom of the Charts

Canterbury's Council is failing to address climate change: other councils in Kent are doing more. Canterbury City Council's website is the worst local government website in Kent for mentions of the major environmental challenge of climate change(1).

Dr Geoff Meaden(2) comments: "'Climate change' and the related 'global warming' are arguably the greatest threats facing mankind. Not true according to Canterbury City Council. A look on the web site search engines of all 13 Councils in Kent and Medway is very revealing. Typing in both 'global warming' and 'climate change' reveals that Maidstone Council achieves a total of 352 hits under these combined categories. Bottom of the list comes Canterbury with a total of 6 hits - with the same three hits being recorded under each heading! The average number of hits for all Kent and Medway local authorities was 105: this is well below one of the best Councils in the country, Merton in South London, where no fewer than 4,508 hits were recorded."

"This is really quite shameful. Here we have proof of just how little environmental concern is being shown by Canterbury City Council(3). Canterbury is densely packed with new shops built in a 'green desert'. Over 1500 new houses are being squashed into the City and these will be accompanied by great increases in traffic. Nothing is being done about the resulting congestion or air pollution. Promised green spaces in the city never materialise. There is no attempt to make all new homes eco-excellent. If the Council were really concerned about the environment they would show concern on climate change and place plenty of information on their web site - as other Councils clearly do".

1. See his research presented in this table:

Table showing number of climate change web site 'hits' for each local council in Kent (plus Medway)

Research for the following table was conducted on October 14th, 2007. The home page on each council's web site was visited. The expressions 'global warming' and 'climate change' were typed into the "Search this site" search facility. The results are listed below in numerical order of total hits.

Local Council - Hits for 'global warming' - Hits for 'climate change' - Total hits
Maidstone 10 - 342 - 352
Medway - 26 - 201 - 227
Sevenoaks - 22 - 168 - 190
Gravesham - 26 - 163 - 189
Tonbridge & Malling - 2 - 115 - 117
Swale - 8 - 94 - 102
Tunbridge Wells - 9 - 77 - 86
Shepway - 5 - 37 - 42
Dover - 4 - 13 - 17
Ashford - 3 - 12 - 15
Thanet - 3 - 8 - 11
Dartford - 1 - 6 - 7
Canterbury - 3 - 3 - 6

2. Dr Geoff Meaden is a Senior Lecturer in Geography. He is Chair of the Canterbury branch of Kent Green Party and South East Green Party Speaker on Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Rural Affairs.

3. This is one reason why Dr Meaden is supporting the environmental group People Advocating Canterbury's Excellence who are organising a 'climate change' awareness raising event to be held in the St Andrews United Reform Church hall at 7.30 pm on November 8th. This will be an opportunity to find out what could be done in the local area. Speakers include Green MEP, Dr Caroline Lucas.

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