Climate change action plan gets full approval
08 Jan 2020
Northumberland County Councillors have formally approved their Climate Change Action Plan - paving the way for a range of ambitious green projects.
The go-ahead was given to total capital investment in renewable energy schemes of more than £10m over the medium term financial plan period.
In recent years the council has reduced its carbon emissions by a third and the area is now ranked as one of the greenest in the country. However it’s acknowledged it has a significant role to play in both further reducing its own carbon emissions and providing the leadership and support to encourage residents, businesses and other organisations to take action to cut their own carbon footprint.
That’s why it declared a ‘climate emergency’ last summer - vowing to make the county carbon neutral by 2030.
One of the council’s first pledges was to develop an Action Plan which now has full council approval. The Plan focuses on five themes - Energy Generation, Energy Consumption, Emissions Capture, Policy and Engagement. In each of these areas the council will be working with stakeholders from across the county to develop and progress further projects and initiatives to maximise opportunities to reduce emissions in Northumberland.
A range of activities are already underway, including work to establish a Climate Change Commission, with the local authority looking to team up with world leading experts and industry leaders to make a real difference in collective responsibility.
Councillors approved extra funding up to 2023 for a number of major schemes, including £2.9m towards a solar car port at County Hall, £1.9m for a potential Hexham hydro-electric project and £4m for renewable heat schemes.
On a more day-to-day level, over the next five years the council will be offering every household in Northumberland a free sapling tree to help offset carbon emissions.
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, said: “Over the past six months we have had many meetings with a wide range of residents including school students, key partners and businesses, and through that dialogue, and the hard work of our officers, we have reached this position on schedule.
“Now we are laying out real actions and real money to achieve our aims. Over the next five years we will introduce a wide range of new initiatives including more electric vehicle charging points, the trialling of electric vehicles in our fleet, and offering every household in Northumberland a free sapling to boost our tree planting programme.
“Additionally we will look at public transport and will invest in our cycling and walking opportunities. We are taking climate change seriously - taking a positive lead on this is a key priority for us.”
Council Leader Peter Jackson added: “Clean growth is about decarbonising the county whilst improving the local economy.
“A post-carbon economy becomes a necessity for net zero emissions and with thisthere are economic opportunities for Northumberland as the need for renewable, clean energy generation and use can attract clean economic growth, potentially lowering our residents’, community and businesses’ energy costs.
“Our commitment to climate change action will be fully realised, it will require a change in our approach to everyday life in areas which have an impact on the climate.
“Our county will be leading nationally and internationally in carbon saving technologies. This will increasingly be the basis of a new and exciting future for job creation and significant investment in our great county.”
To find out more about our climate change plans go to www.northumberland.gov.uk/climatechange
To read the full action plan go HERE