Wellington carbon reduction projects could be accelerated

  • Published Date 15 Feb 2022
  • Author Emma Harrison

An extra $5 million for projects that reduce carbon emissions could soon be available to Greater Wellington if the council approves changes to its Low Carbon Acceleration Fund (LCAF).

The fund was established in 2020 by borrowing against a free allocation of carbon credits. With the price of these credits continuing to rise, the council’s Climate Committee today recommended the loan be extended to 70 percent of their value.

Committee chair Thomas Nash said the additional borrowing would be consistent with the fund’s purpose.

“We set it up to spur a step change, to kickstart projects that protect the community from the climate emergency.

“For Greater Wellington to become carbon positive by 2030, bold leadership is needed to leverage opportunities without relying only on rates. That’s why this committee is recommending council increase the fund.”

The total value of the fund to date, about $8 million, has been allocated to Parks Restoration/Recloaking Papatūānuku. Projects underway include:

  • $1.4 million to restore 128.5 hectares of peatland and dune forest at Queen Elizabeth Park.
  • $370,000 to restore 21.8 hectares of pasture at Kaitoke Regional Park.

Greater Wellington’s parks manager, Jimmy Young, said Recloaking Papatūānuku was a long-term project to restore ecosystem health to Wellington’s Regional Parks.

“Our parks cover 40,000 hectares some of which is commercially farmed. Over the next 10 years we’re going to restore over 1,100 hectares to help Papatūānuku reclaim her cloak.

“Farmland will revert to wetlands, peatlands and forest. Habitats will be created for native plants and animals to flourish. Climate change and the risk of flooding will be mitigated, and we will have cleaner air and water.”

The committee also recommended that the council amend the eligibility criteria for the fund to allow applications from the Wellington Regional Stadium Trust. The trust was established by Greater Wellington and the Wellington City Council.

“While Greater Wellington projects would have priority in the application process, stadium projects would also contribute to the council’s emission reduction goals,” Nash said.

Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said he supported amending the criteria.

“The stadium trust would welcome the opportunity to apply to the LCAF,” Harmon said.

“The trust has already committed to helping Greater Wellington meet its carbon neutrality goals. If the council approves the recommendation, we will develop proposals that can reduce our carbon footprint,”

The council will consider the Climate Committee’s recommendations on the 24th of February.

Updated February 15, 2022 at 4:38 PM

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