Climate change is a reality and it is very important to act now. Tackling the causes and managing the effects of climate change are two of the greatest challenges that we face as a society.
The UK Climate Change Act 2008 set an ambitious target of reducing the 1990 level of CO2 to 34% by 2020, and reducing it even further to 80% by 2050.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt and will continue to grow in severity. Climate change requires everyone to work together to make adjustments to their lives, businesses or communities in order to secure a better future for all.
To meet the challenge of climate change in Wiltshire, we developed our Energy change and opportuity (ECO)strategy.
It sets out our ambitions for reducing our carbon emissions as a council, leading the county’s low carbon transition and preparing for unavoidable climate change.
You can read more details of the action plans, which feed into our ECO strategy below in the downloads section:
- Energy change and opportunity (ECO) strategy
- Carbon Management Plan
- Climate Change Adaptation Plan
- Energy Resilience Plan (2015)
We are a signatory of the Climate Local Initiative, a successor to the Nottingham Declaration and 10:10 campaign. The initiative commits the council to continuing to identify ways of saving money on energy bills, attracting news jobs and investment, reducing flood risks and managing the impacts of extreme weather. As part of the initiative, we have developed a Climate Local Action Plan.
Local authorities across England have also signed up to the initiative, you can view all the action plans and learn more about the initiative on the Climate Local website.
We look to mitigate the environmental impacts associated with our services, ensuring that, as a minimum, we conform to all applicable laws, regulations, codes of practice and corporate standards. We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, preparing residents for the consequences of a changing climate, pollution prevention and demonstrating continuous improvement. To achieve this, we will focus on the key environmental objectives outlined in our environment policy.
Read our press release on the Climate Local initiative and what we’ve already achieved in Wiltshire by tackling climate change.
We have signed the local Wiltshire and Swindon Climate Action Network (WiltSCAN) declaration on climate change in support the legal target of reducing of UK CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. WiltSCAN is a collection of low carbon community groups and organisations with a common aim: to urgently tackle climate change. By working together we want to create momentum, increase impact and share experience. The network’s first initiative was the launch of the Wiltshire Declaration on Climate Change to mark the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015. Find out more on the WiltSCAN website.
You can find all the above documents in the download section.
Wiltshire carbon footprint
The latest local authority carbon dioxide emissions data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows that in 2011, the county's total carbon footprint was 3.476 million tonnes. This is about 10% of the south west’s carbon emissions and less than 1% of the UK total emissions.
Between 2005 and 2011, carbon emissions were reduced by 17% nationally. The South West achieved the same reduction whilst Wiltshire reduced its emissions by almost 23% over the same period. Wiltshire has, therefore, performed better than the South West and UK average in cutting its carbon emissions.
You can read more about our carbon footprint in the Carbon management plan.
You can find out more information in our Energy change opportunity (ECO) strategy.
You can find these in the download section.
Since 2011, we have published an annual report on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from its own land and operations as requested by government. You can find this in the download section.
The report is prepared using guidance published by the government Department for Energy, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Through monitoring our emissions, we can better understand the impact our operations have on the environment and take action to lessen this impact.
The council has made a number of high-level commitments to tackle the causes and effects of climate change particularly through its Energy change and opportunity (ECO) strategy supplemented by the Carbon management plan.
In 2012, 88% of the UK's energy needs were met from fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) which emit high levels of CO2. This is unsustainable, not only due to high CO2 emissions, but also because fossil fuels are being depleted and increasing in price.
Since 2004, the UK’s domestic energy production has been unable to keep up with demand and it continues to be a net importer of fuel. The UK’s energy supply is vulnerable as we import a lot of our fuel from abroad. Further, if we continue to use energy produced by fossil fuels at the present rate, we will reach a point at which our demand for oil will outstrip supply. Once this point is reached the price of oil will go up and become increasingly unstable. As such we must find new ways at a local level to reduce our consumption and look for alternative sources to prevent a future energy crisis and to reduce carbon emissions.Close
The Energy resilience plan is an outward facing action plan for the county.
Wiltshire businesses, community groups and public sector organisations have helped to produce the plan, which reflects the breadth of activities going on in the county to secure efficient, affordable and sustainable energy.
The plan is broken down into four action areas:
- Energy Efficiency
- Affordable Warmth
- Sustainable Transport
- Low Carbon Energy
It aims to:
- Reduce carbon emissions across all sectors
- Maximise economic opportunities and support business, job and skills
- Encourage local energy generation and low carbon infrastructure
- Enable an active role for communities
The Green Champion Network is made up of members of staff from across our departments and services who take an active role in promoting sustainability within their own teams and areas of work.
Members of the network:
- act as a first point of contact for climate change issues
- share best practice with others
- attend an annual forum and most importantly help circulate and implement practical initiatives. These include encouraging people to switch off lights, computer monitors, drive more efficiently and save time and energy with new communication systems
The Energy services team within the council are committed to identifying opportunities to invest in energy efficiency measures, where appropriate. These projects have initially been targeted at facilities where there is certainty regarding the future of the facility and where there are significant and cost-effective opportunities for energy saving. This has resulted in certain areas being targeted more than others and the distribution of projects will change as the level of certainty increases regarding the future of sites.
The projects below are listed by community area.
|Community Area||Projects||Total Annual Carbon Saving (tCO2)||Total Annual Avoided Cost (£)|
|Bradford on Avon||1||5||700|
|South West Wiltshire||1||9||900|
|Royal Wootton Bassett and Cricklade||0||0||0|
‘Adaptation’ involves changing the way we do things to better prepare for the potential effects of climate change. This means we will be better prepared and protected against consequences like flooding, heat waves and droughts. It also means we’ll be more aware of new opportunities, like the possibilities of growing different crops in a changing climate.
Climate is measured in periods of thirty years.Long-term climate change predictions suggest the following changes to Wiltshire’s climate:
|Long-term/seasonal changes||Extreme events|
|Increase in annual average temperature ||More hot days |
|Hotter, drier summers ||Fewer frosty days |
|Milder, wetter winters |
More dry spells
Increase in temperature of warmest day
Increase in precipitation on wettest day
For information see the downloads section.Close
To combat climate change it is essential that we reduce the amount of waste produced in Wiltshire and that sustainable disposal and transport methods are used to minimise environmental impacts.
Land is currently being lost through landfill so we need to lessen this by:
- Recovering waste
Biodegradable waste sent to landfill is the UKs greatest source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In order to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill in Wiltshire the council has invested in landfill diversion, including sending 50,000 tonnes of residual waste to a waste to energy plant and 60,000 tonnes of residual waste to a Mechanical Biological Treatment plant since 2013.
Currently methane is also being captured for renewable energy at Wiltshire’s main Landfill site in Calne.Close
We have improved current waste management performance in Wiltshire by:
- Developing a uniform waste and recycling collection service that has given residents more opportunities to recycle and compost from home, and is currently investigating opportunities for a commercial recycling collection service.
- Increasing the range of materials collected for recycling and reuse at Wiltshire’s household recycling centres.
- Delivering a comprehensive waste prevention programme.
The updated Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy (2012), highlights the four key principals to improve waste management in Wiltshire.
- Waste prevention and use
- Recycling and Composting
- Further diversion from landfill
- Waste treatment and capacity
Waste management performance is published on a quarterly basis details are available on the Recycle for Wiltshire performance page.Close
Global warming is likely to intensify the water cycle, reinforcing existing patterns of water shortage and abundance. In the South West, we are set for wetter winters and drier summers, which will have significant implications for our water infrastructure.Close
- Reduce the amount of water the council uses by installing water meters on council properties once funding is identified
- Improve resilience to flooding in vulnerable areas as part of the Local Resilience Forum (LRF)
For more information see our Energy change and opportunity (ECO) strategy in the downloads section.Close
Lots of opportunities to help build sustainable communities that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are flexible to the expected consequences of climate change.
Our planning department shapes Wiltshire communities by setting policy through spatial planning (how, where and when buildings or land are used) assessing planning applications.
Achieve sustainable patterns of development through planning policy via the Wiltshire Core Strategy
Maximise the positive impacts of new developments by:
- agreeing policies that promote sustainability issues
- developments to be well located and highly accessible, with good transport infrastructure; this could include charging points for alternative fuelled vehicles
- providing a mixed range of uses on key sites, such as housing, places to work and shops
- defining and implementing a set of biodiversity criteria that must be met by all new developments.
For more information see our Energy change and oppertuity (ECO) strategy in the download section.Close
Wiltshire is a large, rural county which means people need to travel to go about their daily business.
Greenhouse gas emissions from domestic transport represent 21% of total UK domestic emissions, the majority is from domestic road transport (passenger car journeys - shown in the table below).
To reduce our transport related greenhouse gas emissions we need to make changes that will focus on individuals, by promoting the use of:
- Public transport
- Buying cars that emit less carbon
- Driving more efficiently
|Mopeds and motocycles||0.5|
We will tackle our own transport emissions by:
- Promoting the Councils electric pool car service to staff and the network of charging points across the county
- Trialling the use of alternative fuels for council vehicles
- Reducing business mileage through a number of measures, including home working and the park and ride service
- Improving cycle storage and installing changing facilities in all main council buildings to encourage running and cycling to work
- Identifying and securing sources of funding to implement sustainable procurement projects.
- Encouraging staff to find alternative ways to get to work which use public transport routes, cycle lanes and walking paths using the transport planner
Biodiversity and natural environment
Biodiversity encompasses the whole variety of life on earth.
It includes all species of:
- Their genetic variation
- Their complex ecosystems of which they are part.
Biodiversity is at the heart of Wiltshire Council's aim for a more sustainable future.
We have a duty to ensure that a diverse and thriving natural environment is maintained for the economic, social and spiritual health and wellbeing of this and future generations.
Increase our understanding of the impacts of climate change on Wiltshire’s natural environment, by:
- Increasing our environmental intelligence
- Helping to lessen the effects of and adapt to climate change
- Raising awareness of the links between climate change and the natural environment through our publications and on our web site.
- Maximising the gains for biodiversity and landscape through the planning system