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Cabinet to approve actions to tackle climate change

Published
20.12.2021

At their next meeting, Cabinet will be updated on the progress of the council’s Climate Change Strategy and will be asked to approve the action plan for the next five years.

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In 2019, Cabinet approved the county council’s current Climate Change Strategy and action plan and committed to reporting annually on progress. This latest report highlights the progress that has been made in the past year, what has gone well, what has been more difficult, and how the council intends to take climate action forwards over the next year.

The key targets for Gloucestershire County Council are to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030 and become Net Zero by 2030 through carbon offsetting. The council is currently on target in respect of its own operations and has achieved a 77% gross (83% net) reduction with 8 years to go.

The target for Gloucestershire as a whole is to be Net Zero by 2045, with a reduction in carbon emissions by 80% by 2030. The council is fully committed to achieving this target but this cannot be achieved by any single organisation and will require extensive partnership working not just with districts, businesses and other organisations but also everyone who lives, works and visits the county.

Despite the effects of the pandemic, progress has been made to tackle climate change in Gloucestershire, including:

  • Tree planting - more funding has been secured and the county are on target to meet commitments under the Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission grants to plant over 41,000 trees this season. Also, the Council’s Highways team has exceeded its target for replacing ash dieback on a 2 for 1 basis, planting over 10,000 trees this year and with a further 20,000 trees being planted this season.
  • School buildings – the council is investing £1 million to make new school buildings carbon neutral, such as the High School, Leckhampton in Cheltenham.
  • Staff recruitment – the council have appointed officers that will work specifically on climate change and air quality, sustainability and engagement and waste management and are currently recruiting a dedicated Tree Project Officer. These newly recruited officers are crucial to the development and management of the strategy as well as supporting and tracking the progress being made and the effect it has on minimising our contribution to climate change and improving our resilience to its impacts.

 

Tackling climate change is a key theme and a priority in the council’s strategy. The report outlines the next steps and proposed actions for the council for the next five years. These include:

  • Putting Climate Change at the heart of decision making
  • Incorporating appropriate carbon reduction and renewable energy generation measures into new and existing building developments
  • Improving carbon reduction in terms of transport such as rolling out electric vehicle charging points, switching the council’s fleet to ultralow emission alternatives and creating high quality public transport and cycle networks
  • Helping everyone convert to green power by exploring scope for decarbonising heating including district heating opportunities
  • Reducing waste by encouraging the public to recycle and reuse
  • Influencing others and getting everyone to do their bit by developing the Greener Gloucestershire campaign
  • Using land more effectively by putting strategic housing allocations in sustainable locations, creating space for the million trees challenge, developing the carbon offsetting scheme and delivering flood risk management schemes

Cllr. Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council said “Despite the pandemic causing a number of setbacks, I am pleased that we have made significant progress to tackle climate change in the county so far. We still have a lot more to do and this report will outline how we will tackle the effects of climate change over the next five years.

“No one organisation can tackle climate change alone. We all need to play a part and over the coming years, we will not only focus on the areas we can make direct change, but we will be encouraging others to make greener choices to help create a greener Gloucestershire.”

You can keep up to date with the greener Gloucestershire campaign by going Greener Gloucestershire - Gloucestershire County Council. please follow the hashtag #GreenerGloucestershire on social media.

You can also sign up to receive updates via our Greener Gloucestershire newsletter.

The next Cabinet meeting will take place on Wednesday 22 December. You can read the full report here.

 

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