To receive an update on the progress against the Our North Tyneside Plan policy on carbon net-zero 2030.
Cabinet considered a report which provided an update on the work undertaken since the declaration of a Climate Emergency, and the next steps to be taken to address the commitments agreed by full Council in July 2019.
In July 2019 Council declared a Climate Emergency, setting a target to reduce the carbon footprint of the Authority and the Borough by 50% by 2023 and to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Subsequently, in further acknowledgement of the gravity and urgency of the climate emergency, the refreshed Our North Tyneside Council Plan 2021-25, approved by full Council in September 2021, included the following ambition;
“We will publish an action plan of the steps we will take and the national investment we will seek to make North Tyneside carbon net-zero by 2030.”
The report updated Cabinet on the reductions in the Authority and Borough carbon footprints, 52% and 41% respectively, informed Cabinet of a number of actions taken since the previous update report in October 2020 and of the ongoing work programme, and set out the Authority’s approach to meeting this policy ambition.
The Authority was clear in its commitment to tackling the Climate Emergency and had taken a number of steps since the previous report to Cabinet in October 2020.
The Authority had a good understanding of the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions that made up both the Authority carbon footprint and the Borough carbon footprint as detailed in the report, and had published a Climate Emergency Action Plan in October 2020. However, that plan was working towards a 2050 decarbonisation pathway and the new carbon net-zero 2030 ambition within the Our North Tyneside Council Plan 2021-25 required that the Authority’s action plan be redeveloped.
The Authority was developing a number of carbon net-zero plans that specifically addressed these sources of emissions, such as an Authority buildings net-zero plan, fleet net-zero plan, street lighting net-zero plan and housing net-zero plan. These would be supported with net-zero plans for key functions such as supply chain and procurement, organisational culture and carbon offsetting.
It was important to understand that the Authority’s carbon footprint was less than 2% of the Borough’s carbon footprint. Working with the North Tyneside Strategic Partnership, the Authority would form a Green North Tyneside Board that would bring together other public sector organisations, large producers of carbon dioxide emissions in the Borough and key stakeholders to address the climate emergency collectively.
The investment and net-zero plans of other organisations would help to influence and shape the Authority’s approach to carbon net-zero 2030, work programmes and campaigns, for example, the replacement of Nexus rolling stock would both bring a direct energy efficiency improvement and emissions reduction and would also present the opportunity for a campaign around more sustainable transport.
The Green North Tyneside Board would assist the Authority in capturing these plans, sharing best practice, collaborating on strategic projects and opening the Authority’s own plans up to scrutiny. The recent ‘Call to Evidence’ event hosted by the Authority on 11 November brought together a number of large organisations and stakeholders to share and scrutinise plans and was a useful event for shaping the future board. Engaging and energising the borough’s residents, businesses, partners and visitors would be key in working towards a carbon net-zero 2030 and the Authority had developed a campaign to support this. There was a need to create a movement and to encourage behavioural change to meet the challenges of a carbon net-zero 2030 ambition. The recent resident’s survey, which included questions on climate emergency for the first time, would help to inform the campaign, as would other conversations with key stakeholders.
The Authority’s Climate Emergency Board would continue to provide governance to the programme of work listed within section 1.5 of the report.
The Climate Change Act 2008, as amended in 2019, committed the UK to net-zero by 2050. Throughout 2021 and particularly in the run up to COP26, key Government strategies and plans had been released that set out the Government’s approach to net-zero, including the Ten Point Plan, Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Building Decarbonisation Strategy. It was important that the Authority’s approach to developing its own carbon net-zero 2030 plan fully considered the decarbonisation plans, investments, technological developments and opportunities for economic growth outlined within these key documents.
The Authority would ensure that its plans were aligned to these key documents to both realise the opportunities for decarbonisation and economic growth, and to identify where the differing timeline of national government targets would have an impact on the Authority’s carbon net-zero 2030 ambition.
Cabinet considered the following decision options: to either approve the recommendations as set out in section 1.2 of the report, or alternatively, to not approve the recommendations.
Resolved that (1) the performance update in relation to the carbon footprint of the Authority and the carbon footprint of the Borough, be noted;
(2) the Authority’s approach to achieving the Our North Tyneside Council Plan policy ambition of carbon net-zero 2030, be noted;
(3) a further progress report will be presented to Cabinet in 2022; and
(4) Cabinet agrees to receive an action plan in 2022 of the steps the Authority would take and the national investment it would seek to make North Tyneside carbon net-zero by 2030.
(Reason for decision:Agreeing the recommendations set out in paragraph 1.2 of the reportwill support the delivery of the Our North Tyneside Council Plan 2021-25 carbon net-zero 2030 ambition.)