Wiltshire Council leaders approved a report (on Tuesday 13 July) that highlights the council's progress in combating climate change during the past six months.
The Conservative led council acknowledged the climate emergency and resolved to seek to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030 in February 2019. It has made significant changes since then to tackle climate change, and many of these are detailed in today's Cabinet report.
Commenting on the report, Conservative Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said:
We have made significant progress as a local authority during the past six months - and indeed the past few years - in the fight against climate change, which has been particularly challenging against the backdrop of the pandemic.
We are committed to tackling climate change and we are investing more than £88m of capital funding into projects that help to reduce our carbon emissions.
We have also secured more than £13m of Government funding for a range of projects, and we are working on more funding to help bring decarbonisation benefits in Wiltshire.
Of course, there is much more for us to do as an authority, and real challenges lie ahead in bringing the county of Wiltshire with us to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.
This will mean communities and businesses making small changes to the way they do things to reduce carbon emissions, and we know that many in Wiltshire are already making great progress on this front.
The next few months will be key as we begin the public consultation on our draft Climate Strategy, and Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy, from 1 September. We'll have more information on this in the coming weeks, and I would encourage the public, communities and businesses to all get involved with this process to help shape the strategy as we head towards a carbon neutral Wiltshire.
The report details the progress in the council's pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030, including a number of key actions:
- Significant investment in zero carbon homes for the council house new build programme, which was considered by Cabinet in the same meeting.
- The new council house build programme will see around £195m invested into building new, energy efficient council homes until 2032. These homes will be constructed to zero carbon standards, including very high levels of insulation and electricity generation, which means very low energy bills for residents.
- The council has secured £550,000 in grants to retrofit 100 of the council's least efficient council homes by September 2021.
- It has also secured £500,000 for energy efficiency improvements and advice to fuel poor households via Warm and Safe Wiltshire.
- The council is investing £50m to retrofit all council homes to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating B standard by 2030.
- Wildflower meadow trials are being held at 12 sites, totalling 102,000m2 of meadows.
- The Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy and new community environmental toolkit will enable communities to promote biodiversity in their areas.
- The council is preparing local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans for Salisbury, Chippenham, Trowbridge and Wiltshire.
- It is also investing £12m to convert 40,000 streetlights across Wiltshire to LED.
- A total of £1.77m has been secured to enhance bus services in Wiltshire.
- The council has also secured £4.6m to decarbonise heating and install solar panels on 19 buildings, saving approximately 1,200 tonnes of CO2 every year.
- £10.4m has been allocated to reducing carbon emissions from the corporate estate.
- Highways teams have carried out highway verge litter picking on major routes, collecting 29 tonnes of rubbish.
- The council has worked with six farming groups to reduce environmental impacts and improve wildlife habitats through the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty partnership.
To find out more about the council's climate projects, go to Climate change.