Councils mark significant progress against climate change and biodiversity ambitions » Babergh Mid Suffolk

Posted by Communications on 9 March 2022 | Comments

This week, we published our first climate change and biodiversity annual reports for both councils.

These were shared at cabinet meetings on Monday (7 March), and they set out our:

  • progress to date against our climate change and biodiversity ambitions
  • Greenhouse Gas Reports – showing our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions trajectory since the establishment of a baseline in 2018/19
  • next steps towards achieving our ambitions over coming months and years

Over the last year, we’ve reached some significant milestones in achieving our ambitions to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and protect and strengthen our districts’ biodiversity. These include:

  • Becoming the first rural UK councils to transfer our fleet to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) reducing our emissions by 90%
  • Reaching the halfway mark of our £2.8m investment, thanks to Government grants, in solar at our leisure centres – this has seen over 1,000 solar panels placed on the roofs of council-owned centres to help power them with renewable energy
  • Being the first rural UK councils to commission a full tree canopy survey, as well as mapping of our existing and potential wildlife corridors, so we can ensure we’re putting the right trees and measures in the right places to support net biodiversity gain
  • Installing a new water filtration system at Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Sudbury, providing an energy-efficient way to clean waste pool water. If successful, it will be considered for the three other council-owned leisure centres across both districts
  • Launching several multi-million-pound grant schemes to improve the energy efficiency of homes in our districts, including most recently Warm Homes Suffolk
  • Hosting our first Local Energy Showcase, with 200 attendees from both community groups and businesses hearing from experts how they could cut their carbon emissions

But, we know there’s still more to do, so over the coming year we’re hoping to:

  • Complete the remaining works to install 110 solar carports at our leisure centres, as part of our £2.8m investment in solar. This will increase our number of EV charging points as well as help further power our leisure centres with renewable energy
  • Apply for Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) funding to significantly increase our number of EV chargers in our car parks, by almost 30
  • Publish the results and interactive map for our tree canopy survey, biodiversity wildlife corridor mapping, as well as a tree management strategy for the district
  • Approve our first Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) to increase opportunities for active travel
  • Compile a biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to help reduce artificial lighting across our districts
  • Relaunch our tree planting scheme for town and parish councils for it’s second year, and re-open applications for our annual Tree for Life scheme which has gifted over 1,000 trees to new parents to mark a new arrival
  • Consider, as part of the Suffolk Waste Partnership, the implications of the Government’s Recycling and Waste Strategy once published

Cllr Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk District Council, said:

“I’m very pleased to be introducing this, our first environment annual report. It sets out the significant achievements the district has made over the past year both to reduce it’s carbon emissions and ensure that Mid Suffolk is prepared for the impacts of climate change.

“The report includes our progress on biodiversity, transport and waste, as well as other areas, against our Carbon Reduction Management Plan and Biodiversity Action Plan.

“I look forward to working with colleagues, stakeholders, other local authorities, and interested parties to ensure we achieve our objectives .” 

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, cabinet member for climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable transport at Babergh District Council, said:

“It gives me great pleasure to introduce our first climate change and biodiversity annual report.

“Biodiversity and climate change affects us all, and correcting a loss in biodiversity will go a long way to benefit climate change with one being dependant on the other.

“It demonstrates how everyone has pulled together over a long, but enjoyable, journey since 2019 when we first declared a climate change emergency, to achieve the ambitions set out in our Carbon Reduction Management Plan and Biodiversity Action Plan.”

You can find the full report for Mid Suffolk and Babergh online, as well as a short summary video available on our YouTube account.

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