Shropshire Council’s Cabinet approves new corporate climate emergency strategy and action plan

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet yesterday approved a new corporate climate emergency strategy and action plan for 2021.

Shropshire Council’s Shirehall headquarters in Shrewsbury. Photo: Shropshire Council
Shropshire Council’s Shirehall headquarters in Shrewsbury. Photo: Shropshire Council

The corporate climate change strategy and action plan builds on the positive work the council has already done to reduce its emissions, which includes reducing direct emissions by 26% since 2012, securing funding to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure, providing 32,500 trees and shrubs for planting, and much more.

Up to this point, work to embed climate change into all council decisions has been prioritised. Climate change appraisals are now required for all major developments and projects, and key staff across the full range of council services have been provided with carbon literacy training.

The actions to date put the council in the best position to successfully deliver on the new corporate climate change strategy and action plan.

Preparation of the new strategy and action plan included community engagement through the council’s quarterly sustainability forum and community engagement workshops in February 2020.

The strategy summarises the council’s current direct and indirect carbon emissions based on the best data that is available. It also identifies the scale of carbon reductions and offsetting that will be required to reach our objective of net-zero carbon by 2030.

Six main themes have been identified within the strategy to provide a pathway for the council to reach net-zero carbon by 2030. These are to:

  • Reduce energy consumption of buildings and improve their efficiency.
  • Reduce emissions through transport and travel by encouraging active travel and moving fleet vehicles to ultra-low emission fuels such as electricity and hydrogen.
  • Work with suppliers of goods and services to reduce indirect carbon emissions.
  • Reduce annual carbon emissions from water consumption and waste.
  • Increase renewable energy generation to enable Shropshire Council to become energy self-sufficient for buildings and travel by 2030.
  • Increase carbon capture and storage by around 20% by 2030.

The action plan highlights a range of potential actions and a pipeline of projects to help deliver progress, examples of which can be found in the Cabinet report.

The development of the new strategy follows the council’s adoption of the Climate Strategy Framework in December 2019.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said:

“I’m delighted with this strategy that is ambitious but realistic. A lot of hard work has gone into this and the team have done a fantastic job. The transition to net-zero performance will not be easy or quick to achieve, but a positive start has been made. The new corporate climate emergency strategy and action plan is a hugely positive step forward for the council and will help us build on what we have already achieved.

“While climate change presents us with significant challenges, it also gives us huge opportunities from reducing carbon emissions to economic benefits. This strategy sets out the art of the possible and how we can exploit these opportunities.

“A range of positive projects and initiatives are being developed to help the council improve its own performance and to demonstrate ‘leadership by example’ to help foster similar action across the wider economy and communities in Shropshire.

“We are on course to meet our targets, and these documents set out the processes and roadmaps to get there by 2030 and even beyond that initial vision. The strategy will pave the way for the council to drive down energy consumption and powering up the generation of renewable energy and other carbon mitigation measures, while also exploring opportunities for revenue generation.

“Climate change is a rapidly moving area of work and information about carbon performance and technologies is changing all the time. As such, the new corporate strategy will be a live document and we will welcome comments and suggestions for amendment as part of our annual monitoring and review process.”

The corporate climate change strategy and action plan will now be presented to full Council on Thursday 17 December 2020 before formal adoption.

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