Council Acts on Climate Change

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Measures aimed at making Newcastle-under-Lyme “carbon neutral” in little more than a decade are moving forward.

The Borough Council is stepping up its efforts on the green agenda in a move which should increase the pace at which the area’s carbon footprint is reduced. Figures show in the last decade the district has more than matched national reductions in CO2 emissions.

Cllr. Trevor Johnson, Cabinet member for environment and recycling, said: “Since 1990, the UK has cut its carbon emissions by more than any other G20 country as a proportion of its economic growth, through the ambitious measures of the Climate Change Act 2008. We are also on target to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and will see the closure of all coal-fired power stations by 2025. This commitment to making a difference nationally has certainly been mirrored here in the borough with our council, businesses and individuals demonstrating their ongoing commitment to reducing CO2 emissions. In Newcastle-under-Lyme these have fallen from 1024.4 kilotons in 2005 to 807.8 in 2016 which is the most recent year for which data is available. This is a terrific achievement and shows that all of our individual actions can, and do, make a difference. We know there is much more that can still be done and the Council will be taking a leading role in moving things forward.”

Earlier this year the Council joined a groundswell of more than 40 local authorities that have passed motions declaring a “climate emergency” and councillors agreed to take action locally to try and make a difference.

As a first step, one of the Council’s scrutiny committees is to review the actions which have already been taken locally – including:- Incorporated a wide range of energy efficiency measures at Jubilee 2, Developed Keele Cemetery using sustainable building methods, Reduced the Council’s energy use through sharing accommodation in Castle House, Improved sustainability of fleet operations through procurement of latest fuel and emissions efficient vehicles, route optimisation and multi-purposing, Supported residents in reducing energy usage in their homes through Warm Zone, Installed energy efficient lighting and controls in a number of public buildings and car parks, Installed and operate mercury emission abating cremators, Promoted sustainability and environmental responsibility through Britain in Bloom.

The Council’s Economy, Environment and Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee will consider the climate change issue at its meeting on 25 September.

Among the actions likely to be recommended are to extend an invitation to Keele University to see what role it could potentially take in leading the borough’s carbon neutral commitment and the development of a Carbon Neutral Borough Plan.

Councillors are also to consider whether they can pull together an action group comprising representatives from the Council, local employers, education establishments, community and faith groups, environmental groups and trade unions. This group would take the leading role in spearheading actions which can propel the borough on its mission to be carbon neutral by 2030.