ENVIRONMENT CAPITAL SERIES: ‘Big effort is needed to tackle climate change’

The Feed the 1,000 event during the Planet B festival
The Feed the 1,000 event during the Planet B festival
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Big changes are needed to protect the environment according to Carly Leonard, chief executive of the Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).

“When you look at the challenges we face, particularly around climate change, we all need to make some quite significant changes and I don’t think anybody quite grasps how much change there is we all need to make.

Carly Leonard

Carly Leonard

“We need to decarbonise really quickly and that’s going to involve changing the way we do lots of things.”

PECT formed in 1993 after Peterborough was made an environment city. Carly said: “It was just a few people working on it and was predominantly housed around Peterborough City Council.”

PECT stopped receiving council funding in 2012 and is now an independent charity with more than 20 members of staff and volunteers who help out with projects such as the recent Planet B festival which saw two weeks of events taking place across the city.

Asked for a success story, Carly mentions the Forest for Peterborough project which will soon see its 100,000th tree planted since 2010.

And on the charity’s goals for the future, she added: “Our vision is about creating sustainable places. The big challenges going forward are going to be around infrastructure and growth and how do we deal with the growing city that we have.

“So how do we design places which are lovely to live in and make the most of sharing resources, using natural resources rather than using energy that is finite.”

On the city’s environmental capital aspiration Carly believes there are strong points and areas for improvements. She said: “We are a few steps ahead in the fact we have partnerships and agreements and an ambition.

“There are definitely good ambitions. Things like we have zero carbon and sustainable water. And there has been progress made already.”

PECT’s relationship with the council is “really positive” said Carly, with PECT able to deliver feedback to the authority from residents but also “challenge things and go back in a critical friend way.”