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Council to reduce carbon emissions by 89 percent in bid to tackle climate change


At its next meeting (Friday 20 December), the county council will share its record of action so far in cutting carbon emissions - and ask cabinet to agree a number of new initiatives to lead Gloucestershire’s response to the climate emergency.

Cabinet will be asked to agree a switch to purchasing all-renewable electricity. Combined with measures taken so far to reduce the council’s CO2 emissions by 70 percent, this move would see the council cutting its CO2 emissions by 89 percent since 2007.

The council’s journey to tackle climate change began in 2005 with the publication of our first Carbon Management Strategy. In May 2019, along with other local, national and international organisations, the county council declared a ‘climate emergency’. As a county, we have pledged to reduce Gloucestershire’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050. The council also made a further pledge to be carbon neutral itself by 2030.

At the meeting, cabinet is also expected to agree a range of ambitious new actions to respond to the climate emergency, including:

  • £1million action fund to fight the effects of climate change
  • Million Trees Challenge – working with partners across Gloucestershire, the council commit to planting a million trees by 2030
  • To use only 100 percent renewable electricity to power council buildings and Gloucestershire’s lit road signs, bollards and 60,000 streetlights.
  • Request all contractors to report a “carbon and environmental cost” on competing bids
  • Make another £1million available from our Salix fund to support other public sector organisations with carbon reduction projects
  • Consult on the revised plan for transport – challenging the way we travel looking at cycling, roads, rail and on foot travel
  • Install 200 new electric vehicle charging points by 2023

This action was informed by Gloucestershire residents and businesses following telephone interviews and an online questionnaire led by the county council, which saw 3,293 residents and 200 businesses respond.

The consultation found:

  • 88 percent of businesses were concerned (either a lot or a little) about the impact of climate change
  • 84 per cent of residents were concerned (either a lot or a little) about the impact of climate change, compared to the online survey 97 percent.
  • Environment destruction was the top concern followed by extreme weather and rising temperatures.
  • Over 70 percent of residents and 80 percent of businesses felt they understood what “carbon neutral” means.
  • Over a half of residents (52 percent) believe that it is achievable to become carbon neutral by 2050. Just under a half of businesses (48 percent) believe that it is achievable to become carbon neutral by 2050, with smaller business (less than 9 employees) more likely to think it be achievable (53 percent) compared to 41 percent of larger businesses (10+ employees).
  • Nearly all (99 per cent) businesses agreed recycling as much waste as possible would have an impact on tackling climate change, and 71 percent of those surveyed take part in all business recycling options available

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Gloucestershire County Council has done a huge amount to cut its own carbon emissions. This strategy sets out how we can move beyond that, and help every home and business in our county do the same. This is a key issue for our future, and for our children’s future and the council’s record shows we are dealing with it with utmost seriousness.

“Transport in and around the county is one major issue we have to address. We are currently reviewing our Local Transport Plan, as well as working with partners on installing electric charging points and improving public transport. We do have a journey but these plans acknowledge this as well as how far we’ve come since 2005.”

More information and cabinet papers can be found online here.

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