Portsmouth, NH, Partners with VHB to Develop a Climate Action Plan

The plan will identify municipal and community goals for tackling climate mitigation and adaptation.

February 22, 2023

Tugboats on the water at sunset with brick buildings and bridge.

The City of Portsmouth, NH, declared itself an eco-municipality in 2007, stating it strives to make decisions to benefit the community. Now, the city is teamed with VHB to create their first climate action plan (CAP) in partnership with Resilience Planning & Design, LLC (RPD) and the Rockingham Planning Commission (RPC). The plan will serve as the foundation for all climate adaptation projects and goals for the coming decades.

The team will implement the project in two phases, with the first phase focused on engaging city staff, residents, and stakeholders to brainstorm on ideas and priorities. The goal is to understand the community values and how the community interacts with the natural environment, evaluate existing conditions and challenges, and examine the city’s role as an eco-municipality. These steps will be the building blocks of the CAP and the first phase is expected to be completed in spring 2023.

The VHB team will then launch into the development of the CAP, which will begin in summer 2023. This will include a preliminary assessment of strategies for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals and review for their applicability and feasibility, as well as subsequent prioritization and phasing. By identifying short-, medium- and long-term strategies, the CAP will provide an innovative, step-by-step approach to addressing, mitigating, and adapting to ongoing and future climate change impacts in an effective and equitable manner.

The team will also present various options for updating local regulations to promote the installation of solar photovoltaics (PV) for both residents and businesses, and the CAP will include creating technology for benchmarking and tracking progress over time.

The CAP will recommend strategies to achieve the city’s climate change goals that:

  • Inform and advance resiliency and sustainability in city decision making.
  • Increase public awareness and help inform and empower community members to make choices that advance community climate change goals.
  • Advance equity to make certain that all community members experience the benefits of positive outcomes and that none bear a disproportional share of the impacts of climate change.

To learn more about Portsmouth’s climate action plan, contact Donny Goris-Kolb.