Agenda item

Climate Change Strategy


(a)       That progress made in delivering carbon reduction measures to date is acknowledged; and


(b)       That the Climate Change Strategy for 2022 – 2030 and its aims therein be endorsed.


            In presenting this report the Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) explained that the authority had made the decision to become a carbon neutral council in 2019.  Alex Ellis had been appointed as the Programme Manager to develop the Climate Change Strategy.  This report would be presented to Cabinet next week and following that to County Council.


            The Programme Manager reported that in 2019 Welsh Government (WG) had called for all public sector authorities to become carbon neutral by 2030.  In December 2019 Cabinet resolved to develop a Climate Change Strategy setting out the Council proposals to become carbon neutral council by 2030.   The Council had delivered decarbonisations activities for several years which included energy and renewable energy schemes. The Climate Change Strategy set out the Council’s objectives to move towards the net zero goal and she provided an overview of the engagement undertaken and feedback received.   Referring to the Strategy she provided information on the baseline emissions figures, highlighted the work undertaken to date and the objectives proposed to reduce direct emissions through the county.  There would be financial implications both in capital and revenue and further exploration of the actions within each theme were required to understand the resource implications.   The Council had utilised several funding streams and it was expected that additional funding would be provided by WG.


            The Programme Manager referred to the Strategy and highlighted the following points: -


·         At point 6.7 on page 53 - information on the baseline carbon emissions on the 2018/19 emissions data.  She confirmed in 2021 there was a 17% reduction on that baseline.


·         At point 7.1 on page 55 - the chart predicted the reductions which the actions could achieve but that there was still a 20,000 CO2 gap by 2030.  She explained that measures may not currently be available and that this would be monitored and considered when the Strategy was reviewed in 2 years’ time.  Offsetting emissions with tree planting was outlined and the Council would need to prioritise how land assets were set aside for this.


·         At point 7.10 on page 57 - this highlighted the interim targets within the direct carbon emission themes.


·         At point 8.1 on page 58 - a summary was provided of the key aims within each of the themes.


·         Biodiversity was integrated within the Strategy, with consideration given to climate change and de-carbonisation.  Information was provided on how these were incorporated and the training that would be required.


            The Programme Manager explained that by achieving these goals the Council could meet its targets tackling the Climate Emergency and Net Zero Wales by 2050.  The Council would also achieve its goals within the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act and Environment Wales Act.  She finished by saying that this report would be presented to Cabinet next week and work was being undertaken in each theme to identify the current status and resource implications.


            Responding to a question from the Chair regarding target setting the Programme Manager confirmed that the reduction predictions were based on actions already being carried out.  As the Council had been proactive with the easier to fix actions having already been completed it left the more complex actions such as improvements to the fleet.  This was dependant on WG legislation and resources and advances in the technology to enable this to proceed.


            Councillor Owen Thomas asked if the new schools and extensions to existing schools had achieved the 100% carbon neutral target.  In response the Programme Manager confirmed that following the new mandate which came into place in January, moving forward new scheduled developments would be required to meet those targets.  She confirmed the focus was to make existing buildings more energy efficient. The Chief Officer (Planning Environment & Economy) confirmed that schools had been retro fitted with photovoltaics panels to ensure they were more energy efficient.  The new school in Mynydd Isa would be net zero and driven by WG funding.


            Referring to the Chair’s point on targets the Chief Officer (Planning Environment & Economy) confirmed there was a bigger focus closer to 2030 because a lot of the targets were around procurement. Influencing the supply chain and the procurement of goods and services was difficult and would take time to establish. but the potential gains were significant.


            In response to the question from Councillor Patrick Heesom on land banking the Programme Manager explained the priority for the Council was to reduce carbon emissions and that using pieces of land to counteract this would need consideration.  When land became available the Council would have to determine if this could be identified for use for tree planting for carbon sequestration to counteract emissions.


            In response to a question from Councillor Vicky Perfect the Programme Manager confirmed the Urban and Woodland Tree Planting Strategy would be reviewed to identify what land could carry carbon sequestration project.  Consideration had to be given to the quality of the land, the landscape and was it sympathetic to the surrounding area.  The Natural Environment team would ensure that it was right for that piece of land.


            The Cabinet member for Planning & Public Protection firstly commented that land sales formed part of the Council’s Capital Programme. He then referred to the resolutions achieved to deal with the issue of phosphates and said a plan and commitment was already in place for tree planting, as the county had a low tree cover.  The issue of Ash Dieback also had to be considered.  For the Council to achieve this there had been engagement with other organisations.


            The Cabinet Member for Streetscene agreed saying it was a collective responsibility across the board for everyone.  He said holding meetings online instead of meeting at County Hall went some way to saving carbon.


            Councillor Sean Bibby spoke as Chair of the Climate Change Programme Board and thanked the Programme Manager, Chief Officer, and member colleagues for all their hard work.


The recommendations were moved by Councillor Sean Bibby and seconded by Councillor Patrick Heesom        




(a)       That progress made in delivering carbon reduction measures to date is acknowledged; and


(b)       That the Climate Change Strategy for 2022 – 2030 and its aims therein be endorsed.

Supporting documents: