Greenrock Comments On Upcoming Budget

February 16, 2018

Greenrock has outlined its hopes for today’s budget, highlighting a number of things that they would like to see included.

A spokesperson said, “One thing we are hoping to see is increased support for environmental education in the school system, which we think is very important for supporting STEAM learning. Additionally, we know that through our Eco-Schools programme we are able to greatly reduce energy use – and thus utility bills – simply through behavioural change. However we know that with some investments in infrastructure in the schools the amount of energy that could be saved [and thus reduced public spending] could be greatly improved.

“For example, solar water heaters, adding LED lighting or even solar panels on the roofs. So I would love to see something in the budget dedicated to doing proper energy audits of the schools to identify low-hanging fruit that would greatly reduce overall energy costs.

“Concerning transport matters, we would like to see investments in the public transportation system [with a focus on electric or low emission buses]. Getting more people using public transportation is key to reducing our overall carbon footprint, but for that to happen we need a fleet that is reliable and frequent. Additionally, the Government was elected on a platform of converting the entire Government fleet of light vehicles to hybrid and electric vehicles, so we would hope to see that reflected in the budget.

“Ideally we would like to see internal combustion engine [ICE] based cars phased out, and the budget can be used to facilitate that transition. For instance, increased duties for ICE age cars and a mechanism to encourage persons to purchase electric vehicles instead.

“The Government was also elected with the promise of outfitting Government buildings with renewable energy generation technologies. As noted, we think the schools are obvious first targets for that, but we would hope to see the budget also reflect this commitment for other Government buildings.

“Bermuda’s sewage system – and I’m thinking here particularly the municipal systems – are antiquated. I would hope to see something in the budget to address those systems, to support the municipalities in upgrading them.

“We understand the Government is committed to a Green Paper on mandatory recycling, bag charges and a beverage container deposit system. We’re excited at that prospect, but understand the process hasn’t quite started yet, so while we would love to see those initiatives reflected in this budget, we understand that will probably be a focus of the 2019 budget instead.

“We’re hoping to see the new Government commit to developing a holistic Marine Spatial Plan for the nearshore. There was some work on this under the previous Government, however that seems to have stalled. So I would hope to see a budget commitment to restarting that process. That is key for future renewable energy initiatives, tourism and fisheries.

“Similarly, the Government was committed in their platform to restarting the National Infrastructure Strategy, so we’re hoping that’s provided for in the budget. With the impact of climate change on Bermuda, working out a clear infrastructure strategy and making sure our infrastructure is ‘climate proofed’ is going to be crucial for future generations.

“One interesting idea in the election platform was installing fitness equipment in the national parks. Encouraging people to get out into green space, and engaging in exercise, will have multiple benefits for the health of the population, both mental and physical, which could potentially reduce our overall healthcare costs. So we would hope to see something around that in the budget too.

“And staying on parks, it would be good to see some investment in bringing back many of our national parks into proper care. We’re seeing many areas where trails are suffering erosion, or invasive species need culled. And with Southlands now a national park, we’d hope to see money in place to support bringing that park into functional use.

“From a charity perspective, of course we would love to see greater support from the public sector to the third sector, be it in terms of grants for charities, or support in kind – such as the platform proposal of providing unused [or underused] government buildings to charities for nominal rent, thus reducing rental expenses.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. The SELF is very important when it comes to MONEY!!!

  2. Farmer says:

    Irony at it’s finest. For a island quick to use the Bible as a weapon you’d figure they would listen to the single request from “god”. Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Thank you to all of our environmental groups for attempting to keep the focus on our most valuable resource, our environment.