Agenda item

Climate Emergency

To receive a presentation which provides an update on the steps being taken by the Authority in response to the declaration of a climate emergency.


Consideration was given to a presentation which provided an update on the action which had been taken in relation to the Authority’s declaration of a climate emergency in July 2019. 


It was explained that the Authority had already taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its Low Carbon Plan 2016-2027.  This Plan contained a target of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2027.  Since the climate emergency had been declared by Council the aim was for the Borough to be carbon neutral by 2050 and for the 50% target to be brought forward to 2023.  It was explained that due to the changes already introduced the Authority’s carbon footprint had been reduced by 45% from the position in 2011.  A breakdown of the various contributors to the Authority’s carbon footprint was provided for the period 2010/11 and this was compared with the position in 2018/19 to demonstrate that significant improvements made, particularly in relation to street lighting in the Borough.  


Reference was also made to the 39% reduction in the carbon footprint of the Borough between 2005 and 2017.  It was noted that there had been significant reductions in carbon emissions in respect of industrial and commercial purposes as well as in respect of housing.


The Sub-committee was advised that work was currently ongoing to develop an action plan to bring forward measures to address the climate emergency.  It was explained that there needed to be a collective approach to resolve the issues with input from all sectors of the community, including energy and transport providers.  It was also explained that a further report would be presented to the Cabinet in July 2020.


Clarification was sought on the steps being taken to ensure that all future homes were carbon neutral and making use of existing and emerging technology, such as heat pumps, solar panels and car charging points.  It was explained that the Government was currently consulting on a Future Homes Standard.  Officers were currently consulting with colleagues to assess the implications of the proposals contained within the consultation document and the proposals for amendments to building regulations in respect of energy efficiency measures for new homes.


Reference was also made to the need to work with partners to deliver improvements to carbon emissions in the Borough.  Although the Authority had reduced its vehicle fleet by 25% this was only a very small part of the traffic using roads in the Borough.  It was noted that transport would need to be incorporated into the climate emergency action plan and this would require people to make changes to the way that they travelled.  It was acknowledged that work would need to be undertaken to encourage businesses and residents to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.


The role of the Authority’s procurement processes in assisting the Authority to reduce its carbon footprint was also explored.  


Reference was made to the need for Central Government to give a lead in relation to carbon reduction measures and to give direction to local authorities and businesses on how they could reduce their own carbon footprint.


The Chair thanked the officers for their presentation.


It was agreed that (1) the presentation be noted; and

(2) a report be presented to a future meeting on the strategy and action plan being developed to address the climate emergency