Cheshire East Council has pledged to become a carbon neutral borough by 2045.
The council has already committed to both becoming carbon neutral in its own operations by 2025 and influencing carbon reduction across the borough. This new commitment builds on that ambition – pledging to make the entire borough carbon neutral by 2045.
At a report to the council's environment and communities committee on Thursday, 20th January, members were updated on progress to date in achieving the operational target to become carbon neutral by 2025, with a recommendation that the council joins the UK100 network – pledging to make the borough carbon neutral by 2045.
UK100 is bringing together a network of councils with a common aim around a climate change pledge. Membership requires annual reporting of carbon emissions and a commitment to achieving net zero targets with a minimum of offsetting. By signing up to a new net zero pledge, the council, along with other local authorities who join, is required to set targets for carbon net zero that includes not just their own operational carbon emissions, but also those of the whole local authority area.
Councillor Mick Warren, chair of the environment and communities committee, said, "Local authorities have shown significant leadership by setting net zero targets that are years ahead of national legislation.
"The carbon reduction projects we have in place and that are in the planning stages will make a significant contribution towards reducing and offsetting our emissions – but we recognise that we need to do more. Joining UK100 means that the voice of Cheshire East, along with the voices of other local leaders, can be amplified via collective advocacy to national government.
"Achieving net zero targets is not something that any one person or organisation can do alone. Avoiding the worst effects of climate change is a significant challenge and there must be a collective effort by everyone across the borough to take the necessary action to protect the future of not only Cheshire East, but that of the planet.
"Membership of UK100 will provide tailored insights, evidence and recommendations on the challenges to local net zero. This will help us to broaden our projects and implement the solutions needed to further reduce carbon emissions across Cheshire East, with an aim of being a carbon neutral borough by 2045."
Cheshire East has continued to make progress in reducing carbon across its operations and is on track to be carbon neutral by 2025. Highlights over the past twelve months include:
● Working to transition road signs to LED lighting, in addition to the street lighting upgrade to LED lighting;
● Securing further funding from central government to continue carbon reduction measures in council buildings – including solar panel installation, improved heating systems such as low carbon heat pumps, LED lighting and building fabric improvements;
● The unveiling of the North West's first hydrogen refuelling station, initially piloting the use of two refuse vehicles powered by hydrogen;
● The restoration of one hectare of peat moss at Pastures Wood Farm;
● The planting of 21,000 trees across the borough to date;
● Working with the voluntary and community sector, town and parish councils and schools to influence and support carbon reduction;
● Encouraging schools to join the Let's Go Zero campaign – uniting schools across the UK to work together to become carbon neutral by 2030; and
● The launch of the council's crowdfunding platform, Cheshire East Crowd – supporting community and environmental projects. The first round saw the council pledge more than £30,000 towards 11 community projects.
To view the full environment and communities committee papers, including the carbon update report, visit: http://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=962&MId=8681
For more information on the council's carbon neutral ambitions, visit cheshireeast.gov.uk/carbonneutral
Photo: Council leader Councillor Sam Corcoran and partner representatives with one of the council's hydrogen-powered refuse vehicles at the Environmental Hub in Middlewich.