Council unveils plans to be carbon neutral by 2030

By Jamie Hill - 18 October 2020

Community

Ambitious plans to make Swindon Borough Council carbon neutral within 10 years will be presented to councillors next week (21 Oct).

The Council’s Cabinet will also hear about wider plans to work with partners towards carbon neutrality for the whole borough to ensure it delivers on government targets.

In line with the Council’s Vision for Swindon, the Carbon Reduction Strategy sets out the next steps to reduce the local authority’s carbon emissions after councillors unanimously backed a motion in January to make the Council carbon neutral by 2030.

It builds on the Council’s work to lead on low carbon interventions and improve the local environment. The Council has already spent over £15m in the construction of solar energy farms, the installation of electric vehicle charging points, the use of LED street lights and investment in electric vehicles amongst others.

The Council has already been working internally to reduce its carbon footprint over recent years with successful projects including LED lighting at STEAM and has significantly reduced the amount of paper used for printing.

The strategy sets out how the Council will reduce its current carbon footprint across the borough taking into account vehicle emissions, energy used to power and heat offices and other buildings, street lighting, business travel and heating. This amounts to a reduction of carbon emissions of 11,800 tonnes per year.

This will include measures such as the installation of energy-friendly LED lighting, investment in low-emission vehicles, continuing to make council buildings more energy efficient and encouraging sustainable travel for staff.

Alongside the ambition to reduce its own carbon footprint, the Council will also be playing a role leading the wider town to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Current analysis shows road travel, residential buildings and institutional buildings and facilities produce over two thirds of the current 1.5m tonnes of CO2 emission currently produced by the borough each year.

The Council will be looking to influence, educate and support residents and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint through powers and activity such as using the planning process to influence how new houses are built.

A consultation on the strategy with local residents and businesses will be undertaken in the coming months giving them the opportunity to have their say on the Council’s approach. A more detailed implementation plan setting out the journey to achieve all the targets will then follow. More details on the consultation will be released at the appropriate time.

Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “Protecting our environment is a key commitment for this Council and this ambitious strategy sets out how we plan to meet our pledge to become carbon neutral.

“We have already invested a significant amount in renewable energy, sustainable travel and energy savings schemes and this strategy sets out our next steps.

“As a leading voice in the town we plan to set the example by bringing our own organisation down to net zero and we hope many others will follow suit.

“While we will do everything we can, it will be down to all of us as residents and businesses to change the way we travel, work and live if we are to cut our carbon emissions as a borough.”

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