Council sets out carbon neutral plans

Halton Borough Council has set out the latest actions it will be taking over the next five years to reduce its carbon emissions in its new Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, agreed at its Executive Board on 14 April.

The ambition for the Climate Change Action Strategy is that by 2040 the Council’s operations will be carbon neutral and will be:

Climate friendly – having transformed the way the Council delivers services, works with businesses and other partners, uses buildings, land, and energy to decarbonise and encourage sequestration.
Climate ready – with plans and projects having increased the resilience of the Council’s operations in communities and the economy it serves to help minimise the impacts from unavoidable climate change; and
Climate just – ensuring that all of Halton and its environment has benefited from this transition.

The Council has been working to reduce its emissions since 2006/07. Since that time, overall emissions have reduced from 26338 tonnes of CO2 to 9770 tonnes. In October 2019, the Council strengthened its commitment to carbon reduction by declaring a climate change emergency and in December 2021 set a target to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Now, the Climate Change Action strategy describes the actions that will be taken over the coming five years, with the initial focus place on buildings, vehicles and on ‘blue/green’ infrastructure (like rivers, trees and parks) where the Council has direct control or can influence the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Priorities in the coming years will include:

  • Decarbonising the Council estate
  • Reducing emissions from transport
  • Developing opportunities to increase the amount of renewable energy used by the Council
  • Developing and expanding green and open space infrastructure
  • Expanding existing walking and cycling routes
  • Minimising waste
  • Promoting health and wellbeing among council residents and staff through its climate policies and actions, including maximising the health co-benefits of climate action
  • Ensuring climate action is implemented equitably, through working to reduce rather than exacerbate health and wellbeing inequalities and proportionally targeting areas of greatest need
  • Developing greater understanding of the public health implications of both climate change and council mitigation/adaptation/sequestration strategies locally to inform borough-wide actions.

Like all public bodies, the Council is now expected by Government to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2031 – with the latest baseline being set from 2017.

In 2017, the Council’s baseline was 14,811 carbon tonnes. In reporting year 2021, the Council had already managed to reduce its carbon emissions to 9,770 tonnes – a reduction of 34%. This is well on track to meet the target of 2031.  Some of the projects that have contributed to the reduction include:

  • LED Street Lighting Replacement Programme – over 15000 columns switched.
  • Solar PV installed at various Council sites – producing over 750,000 kWh of renewable energy.
  • Installation of a 1.25 MW Solar Farm in Widnes producing energy for the DCBL Stadium – producing on average 900,000kwh per annum.
  • Provided over 70km of cycle and walking paths including a dedicated cycle path on the deck of the Silver Jubilee Bridge and improved cycling facilities at Runcorn Station.
  • 95% of the Council fleet at Euro 6 (Euro 6 is currently the highest standard for vehicles) with the remainder being Euro 5 & 4 making it one of the cleanest fleets in the Liverpool City Region.
  • Council vehicles fitted with IT software to ensure the best routes are used and driver behaviour is monitored so they use less fuel.
  • Installed EV chargers at Council locations and throughout residential areas.
  • Increased the number of trees and woodland
  • Supported the delivery of various housing retrofit schemes in partnership with registered social landlords and Energy Projects Plus.

The Climate Change Action Plan sets out a framework for further change, identifying some early actions and priorities and setting out ambitions over the short, medium and long term. The full version of the Climate Change Action Plan can be found on the Council’s website:

https://councillors.halton.gov.uk/documents/s68214/Climate%20Change%20Action%20Plan%20Strategy%20Template%20-%20Layout%20JT%2028.2.22.pdf

 

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