City of Newcastle develops environmental roadmap to help combat climate change 

23 Jul 2023

Net zero carbon emissions, renewable energy initiatives, more cycleways, connected wildlife corridors and sustainable construction materials are part of how City of Newcastle (CN) intends to create an environmental legacy for future generations.

The vision has been outlined in CN's draft Newcastle Environment Strategy, which will be tabled at Tuesday’s Council meeting ahead of a proposed four-week public exhibition period.

Designed around the three priority areas of climate change, nature-based solutions and the circular economy, the Strategy sets out a 10-year environmental roadmap for a sustainable Newcastle, with 15 key actions identified to be delivered within the first four years.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Strategy would ensure CN continues its decades-long action and advocacy to protect and improve our environment.

"Newcastle has a well earnt reputation as a leader in local government when it comes to protecting our precious natural environment, while also investing in progressive actions to ensure our city is more sustainable," Cr Nelmes said.

"Since the watershed Pathways to Sustainability international conference held in Newcastle in 1997 under the leadership of former Lord Mayor Greg Heys, we have recognised that we must take local action towards addressing global environmental challenges.

"Through this Strategy, we are sending a message to our community that we remain strongly committed to protecting and enhancing Newcastle’s natural environment today, and for future generations of Novocastrians."

The Strategy is based on a shared community vision for our environment, having been informed by more than 4,500 pieces of feedback from over 2,600 community members and environmental experts received during the Community Strategic Plan engagement program.

It sets out the initial actions to be delivered by CN or in partnership with state and federal governments, business and the community by 2027.

This includes transitioning CN's vehicles, plant and equipment to electric-powered or low emissions alternatives and expanding our urban forest to create connected green corridors for iconic, threatened and pollinator species.

Other actions include working in partnership with local traditional custodians to integrate indigenous knowledge into the way we care for and manage our land, and increasing the use of recovered materials and sustainable product alternatives in CN operations and construction works.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the Strategy provides a definitive roadmap for achieving our progressive environmental ambitions.

"Through our Newcastle Environment Strategy, we will become an even more sustainable city, where we value our natural environment and continue to take decisive action to respond to challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and the overuse of resources," Cr Clausen said.

"With its accompanying delivery plan, we have identified clear and tangible actions that will allow us to achieve net zero emissions, build resilience to climate change in our community, infrastructure and natural areas, and transform our city through circular economy solutions."

The Newcastle Environment Strategy will be delivered in conjunction with CN's Our Sustainable Waste Strategy, Newcastle Transport Strategy and On Our Bikes Cycling Plan and is currently supported by the Newcastle Climate Action Plan 2021-2025.

Pending approval from Councillors at Tuesday’s meeting, the draft Strategy will be placed on public exhibition for four weeks before returning to Council later this year for adoption.

Community members will be given the chance 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.