Cheshire West and Chester Council has made positive progress in its commitment to becoming a carbon-neutral borough by 2045 and a carbon-neutral organisation by 2030, as part of its work to address the Climate Emergency.
The first annual review of the Council’s Climate Emergency Response Plan and Carbon Management Plan, which were approved in February 2021, sets out the progress that has been made against key actions and measurements included in the original plans.
Some of the highlights of the report, which was presented to Cabinet in December 2021, include the following.
- Reducing the Council’s own organisational carbon emissions by 35 per cent between 2019/20 and 2020/21*
- Securing £5.8 million in funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for a range of energy efficiency works, such as installing air source heat pumps and Solar Photovoltaics (PV) panels across 14 Council-owned buildings
- Replacing nearly 80 per cent of street lights in the borough to more energy efficient Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights
- Securing £2.5 million from the Government’s Green Homes Grant programmes to retrofit some of the borough’s least efficient homes
- Welcoming news of the Government’s support for HyNet North West, which will reduce industrial emissions by producing low carbon hydrogen, create thousands of new jobs and place the borough at the centre of the green industrial revolution
- Distributing £143,000 of funding through the Council’s Climate Emergency Fund to support local, low-carbon projects across the borough
Alongside these actions, the Council has been taking steps to address the nature crisis with new policies on wildflower verges, enhancing local biodiversity and the development of a Land Action Plan for the Climate and Nature Emergencies.
The Council is also acting as the legal accountable body for the national Trees for Climate programme which, in its first year, planted 446 hectares of trees across England.
Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Climate Emergency, said, “It’s great to see the progress that has been made to date on our journey to becoming a carbon-neutral borough and organisation. Making changes across all the Council’s services, to meet our targets, is a real challenge, but one that our members and staff are committed to achieving.
“When we developed the Climate Emergency Response Plan, we recognised that we couldn’t achieve all the actions set out in the plan alone and included steps that our residents and businesses could take to support the borough’s targets. With energy costs rising, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to support our residents and businesses to understand how they can lower their energy usage and, in turn, their costs, as well as the borough’s carbon emissions.
“There is a lot to be achieved over the coming years and this will bring opportunities to make the borough a better place to live and work.”
The Climate Emergency Response Plan sets out actions that we can all take to help the borough to become carbon neutral. Visit: www.westcheshireclimateplan.co.uk for more details.
Image: Trees planted at site in Picton as part of Trees for Climate programme