In July 2019, the Council declared a climate emergency and committed to ensure its activities and operations are carbon neutral by 2030. A commitment was also made to remove single-use plastics from the Council's operations and activities, replacing them with sustainable alternatives, by the end of the current administration in 2023. The two parts of the motion agreed at Full Council are inextricably linked, as 99% of plastics cause climate change, therefore the Council has committed to addressing these issues in a holistic way.
Cllr Carolyn Healy, cabinet member moving the motion, said: “By declaring both a Climate Emergency and supporting our Plastic Free Communities Campaign, this Council is recognising the seriousness of both of these issues and the urgency of taking action now."
Cllr Hilda Rhodes, cabinet member seconding the motion at the meeting, said: “Unlike other Authorities we are setting a date for these commitments, showing our ambition and determination. By committing to carbon neutrality by 2030 we are setting ourselves a target that is 20 years earlier than the Government has set as their own target.”
The Council resolved to work with partners to identify and implement adaptation and mitigation measures to deal with the effects of the ongoing changes in climate; and to collaborate and engage with local residents, partners and businesses to achieve our aspiration for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2030 – making sure we take communities with us, protect employment and without impoverishing our most deprived communities.
The Council has already made good progress in reducing its carbon footprint – in fact it has already reduced carbon emissions by 44% since 2005! For example:
- One of the first local authorities to install a commercial solar farm which is generating 4MW of clean electricity sufficient to power more than 800 homes pa
- Affording protection to significant areas of greenspace and forestry and continuing to invest in additional Green Guarantee Sites – which provide ‘green lungs’ across the borough
- Completing the conversion of 20,000 traditional street lights to LED – reducing the quantity of CO2 being emitted by 1,887 tonnes pa alongside significant financial savings being reinvested into frontline services
- Fitting low carbon technologies in 27 public buildings across the Borough
- Achieving a recycling target for household waste of in excess of 54% with residual waste diverted from landfill as a renewable energy source
- Providing grant funding via Business Energy Efficiency Programme to support businesses increase their energy efficiency – with as an example - just one Telford based manufacturer having saved over 41 tonnes of carbon pa
- Establishing policies in the Local Plan that promote more cycling and walking and sustainable drainage measures
- Ensuring all major new developments adopt and implement travel plans that support sustainable forms of transport
We’re keen to tell our story and tell you how we’re already doing this and how we plan to do it. Read our action plan here.