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Climate emergency


In February 2019 we resolved to acknowledge a climate emergency and to seek to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030. A Climate Emergency Task Group was set up to gather evidence and come up with recommendations on achieving net zero. Our Cabinet subsequently committed to also make the council carbon neutral by 2030.

A new carbon reduction strategy will be prepared to enable us to meet these commitments. 

The plan will be evidence and data led and a baseline assessment will be undertaken to assist in identifying needs and determining priorities.

It is proposed that the plan will include a community led approach which engages, empowers, enables and communicates with Wiltshire communities and businesses.

Carbon reduction will be a key theme in the council's recovery from COVID-19.  

What are we doing to tackle the problem?

Since the climate emergency was confirmed in Wiltshire, we have progressed the following areas, recognising that this is the start of a journey: 

  • Committed to invest £5.2m to make its buildings more energy efficient
  • Hosted a number of well-attended special climate change-themed area board meetings
  • Secured all the electricity on our corporate contract from a green tariff from April 2020
  • Supported the bid and invested to bring electric buses to Salisbury
  • Bid for significant funding to improve public transport and cycle networks
  • Set up Stone Circle Energy Company and committed to invest £3.5 million in sustainable energy projects across the county
  • Committed to develop 1000 new council homes to a zero carbon standard
  • Funded a climate change team in the 2020/21 budget and appointed a Head of Carbon Reduction
  • Committed to invest £12m on a major public highway LED light replacement project which is projected to reduce carbon emissions by 83% compared with 2013/14
  • Joined forces with other councils through the Countryside Climate Network to ensure that the rural voice on climate action is listened to in Westminster
  • Established that climate change and renewable energy is the top priority for residents surveyed in 2019
  • Worked with partners to develop the vision for a green infrastructure network in Wiltshire
  • Encouraged the public to make a Green Pledge
  • In October 2019 we were named the most climate-friendly council in England and Wales by Friends of the Earth. 

Carbon reduction will be a key theme in our recovery from COVID-19.  As well as developing a new carbon reduction strategy, we are carrying out a review of the Local Plan and developing our fourth Local Transport Plan. Carbon reduction will be an integral theme within these documents. We are currently developing a Green Infrastructure Strategy. From this we will develop a woodland and tree planting policy. 

We are also engaging with other public sector organisations through the Wiltshire Public Service Board and with businesses through the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP). The SWLEP has published its emerging Local Industrial Strategy which includes commitments to improving the strategic energy infrastructure, decarbonising our economy and helping to deliver the national climate change targets.

We will continue to engage with communities to work collaboratively towards achieving the country's decarbonisation goal.

Regular updates to Wiltshire Council's Cabinet and Full Council

A report is regularly presented to Cabinet and Full Council on our response to the climate emergency. See below for the full reports.

The Wiltshire Green Pledge

We need your help to make Wiltshire as environmentally friendly as possible. 

There are many small changes you can make in your everyday life that can have a big positive impact on the environment

Such as:

  • Leave the car at home and walk more
  • Take shorter showers and turn off taps when brushing teeth
  • Try and use as little single-use plastic as possible
  • Use a reusable cup
  • Use bags for life
  • Recycle as much as you can
  • Turn off lights when not using them
  • Install a smart meter to help you manage energy use

Those are just some suggestions but there’s so much more you can do. 

So, we want you to have a think about the changes you can make…starting today.

Please make the Wiltshire Green Pledge and do what you can. Making your pledge should only take a couple of minutes. 

Thanks for your support! 

Latest news releases

Carbon neutral and climate emergency related news stories released by Wiltshire Council can be found below:

At today’s Cabinet meeting (Tuesday 14 July), Wiltshire Council provided an update on progress it has made since November 2019 in response to the climate emergency.

In February 2019, the council resolved to seek to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030, and in November 2019, it agreed to amend the council’s business plan 2017-2027 to give prominence on the climate emergency in the plan.

Since then, the council has appointed a Head of Carbon Reduction and made significant changes across a range of services in the authority to help tackle climate change.

Commenting on the progress made in the past six months, Cllr Richard Clewer, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve made such good progress across the council to contribute towards our resolution to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“We recognise that there is much to do to meet this target, but we have made promising strides forward and there is much more to come.

“Climate change affects every service we provide, so by taking a council-wide approach we can make a significant number of changes across all services to help us reach our target.”

These include everyday changes, such as sourcing all electricity from a green tariff since April, to much larger projects that will invest in Wiltshire and reduce carbon emissions.

At Porton Science Park, the council is working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to co-fund £110,000 towards the development of a Heat Network to supply low carbon heat to the science park. While in Minety, the council has worked proactively with Penso Power, a UK renewable energy and battery storage company, to develop the largest battery storage scheme in Europe, which is due to open in the autumn.

The council’s Housing Board is committed to developing 1,000 new council homes over the next 10 years and where the council is the developer they will be to a zero carbon standard, using the fabric of the building for maximum efficiency, together with energy generation through solar panels. A pilot of two new homes is going ahead in Durrington to test this approach and the lessons learned will be used to shape the rest of the programme.

Warm and Safe Wiltshire, an energy advice service provided by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council in partnership with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, has referred more than 400 households to heating and insulation contractors to help keep homes warmer and reduce carbon emissions. The service has also saved residents more than £275,723 on energy bills and increased income.

In highways and transport, the council has applied for funding from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Restoring Your Railway Fund for four key rail projects across the county. If successful, the schemes would see a new station in Devizes, reinstating a fourth platform in Westbury, providing capacity improvements around Melksham, and also restoring secondary train services on the Great Western Mainline, which may help to realise new stations at Corsham and Royal Wootton Bassett.

In Salisbury, the council has worked in partnership with Salisbury Reds to secure three new electric buses for the city's park and ride services - a total investment of £1.2 million. Meanwhile, 32 old waste vehicles have been taken out of service, replaced by more efficient vehicles to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

In 2019/20, the council sent just 16% of waste collected to landfill, compared with 20% in 2014/15. The majority of non-recyclable household waste collected in Wiltshire is processed for energy recovery. 

As part of its £12m programme, the council has so far converted around 8,000 streetlights across Wiltshire to LEDs, reducing energy consumption by 21% and halving carbon emissions since 2013/14. The aim of the replacement programme is to reduce the energy consumption by 67% and carbon emissions by 83% by 2022/23, compared with the 2013/14 baseline.


Wiltshire Council has announced an exciting and ambitious plan to prioritise walking and cycling in the centre of Salisbury.

The People Friendly Salisbury project will see several streets in the centre of the city prioritised for walkers and cyclists between certain times of the day, with motorised access to these areas for certain vehicles only, including emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and tourist coaches, by removing through traffic without significantly inconveniencing residents and businesses.

Designs for the project will be available to the public and local stakeholders in mid-July, with an invitation for comments on the plans to be accepted until early August. Then, in the autumn, the project will begin and will be trialled for a period of 18 months.

The scheme is subject to an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), which allows for changes to be made throughout the life of the project, so feedback from residents, businesses and local groups is encouraged throughout the 18 months. The council can then make changes to the project based on this feedback to ensure it is bringing benefits for local people and businesses. 

The concept of People Friendly Salisbury has already been subject to some consultation, as part of the Salisbury Central Area Framework (CAF) consultation, which took place in 2019, and the Salisbury Transport Strategy (STS) refresh, in 2018.

The project has widespread support from local stakeholders and people that completed the CAF consultation, with 48% of respondents saying that they ‘strongly agree' that Wiltshire Council should prioritise walking and cycling over cars in the city, and 23% stating that they ‘agree' with that statement.

More than a mile of the city's streets have been identified as areas the council can transform from vehicle dominant areas to people friendly streets, by significantly reducing the amount of traffic on them, while also maintaining access for emergency vehicles, buses and some other vehicles. 

The exact details of the project are still to be agreed, but streets, or part of, that are identified in the plan include Castle Street, Blue Boar Row, Endless Street, Winchester Street, Brown Street, Milford Street, New Canal, High Street, Bridge Street, Fisherton Street, Silver Street, Minster Street and Avon Approach. This will be controlled through ‘bus gates', which allow some exempted vehicles through, with cameras as support for enforcement.

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: "This exciting People Friendly Salisbury project will transform the central area of the city, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists, aiding social distancing and, in turn, hopefully improving footfall for businesses.

"It will also improve air quality in the city, and will help with our pledge to make Wiltshire Council carbon neutral by 2030, and to support Wiltshire to do the same.

"The changes will be subject to an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), which allows for tweaks to be made to the scheme, so we'd welcome feedback as the scheme progresses; and we'll also be monitoring and reporting the scheme during the 18 months to measure its effectiveness.

"Our teams are now working on creating the designs for the scheme, which we hope to have in place in mid-July, when we'll accept comments for two weeks, before work starts on the project in the autumn.

"We can't wait for this exciting project to get started and bring benefits to the city and its businesses."

The Leader of Salisbury City Council, Cllr Jeremy Nettle said "This is a huge opportunity to trial something very different in the city as it re-opens after coronavirus.

"There may well be problems that need to be faced, particularly around the displacement of traffic on to the ring road, and potential ‘rat-runs'. However, I am encouraged that this is an experimental trial that enables tweaks and adjustments, whilst potentially radically improving pedestrianisation and air quality in our beautiful city.

"I firmly believe we need to take advantage of this ‘once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity and together make it work for the city. I have to see more details of the scheme, and look forward to having the chance to give feedback and would encourage others to do so too."

Dean Speer, Vice Chair of Salisbury BID and Partner of Myddelton & Major, said: "This ambitious plan could really transform the city centre and make Salisbury become a destination of choice. Whilst consumer habits are unsettled due to the pandemic, this is an opportunity to be bold and deliver pioneering plans to help the city recover and allow businesses to flourish. 

"This is a crucial time for the economy as businesses reopen in a phased manner It's important that these plans are implemented now, before the busy Christmas trading period, to ensure consumers feel safe and have the confidence to return to Salisbury to support our businesses. 

"We recognise there may be some initial challenges with the plans as different stakeholder needs are considered, and we need to ensure small businesses are still accessible for deliveries, however the plans could be transformational for Salisbury, so we're encouraging businesses to be open-minded to the change.

"Businesses will need to engage with the consultation and throughout the project to ensure it is effective and a success. The regulations Wiltshire Council propose to use allow flexibility, so there will be opportunities to change and adapt the scheme once it has been working and the results can be seen.

"We welcome this innovative plan from Wiltshire Council and the BID is looking forward to representing city centre businesses and championing their needs throughout the project."

Find out more and read FAQs: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/salisbury-people-friendly-streets


.Wiltshire Council has today (Wednesday 24 June) become a founder member of a newly-launched network to promote the voice of the countryside in climate change discussions.

The Countryside Climate Network aims to ensure that the voice of rural knowledge and experience on climate action is listened to in Westminster, and asks that rural councils are an active participant in transforming the national economy into one that saves, rather than harms, our environment.

The network brings a voice on climate change to the two-thirds of the country who live outside major towns and cities, and calls for investment, such as the government’s delayed £100bn infrastructure fund, to be targeted at rural areas.

The council is also working closely with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the County Councils Network to develop a tool that measures the council’s levels of carbon emissions. 

The tool will create a standard, comparable measurement for all councils in the country, which can then be used to baseline carbon emissions and report on them regularly, as Wiltshire seeks to become carbon neutral by 2030. The trial of this new system is expected to begin later in the summer.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “We’re delighted to join the Countryside Climate Network to ensure the important voice of rural councils in heard in the fight against climate change.

“Climate solutions and green recovery packages have largely missed the rural voice, and we need to be properly funded to support our ambitions as a rural county, so we can create opportunities in the Wiltshire countryside and green infrastructure.

“We are seeking to become climate neutral by 2030, but we need investment from government to help us achieve this. This is why it’s so important for us to support the LGA’s tool to measure our carbon emissions, so we can benchmark our progress against other councils, and keep our residents informed on how we’re doing.”

The Countryside Climate Network has been established by UK100, a network of local leaders that campaigns on climate change. The 21 councils represent 14.3 million people in total, a quarter of the population (25%) and two fifths (41%) of England by area. The group is chaired by the Leader of Cambridgeshire Council, Cllr Steve Count. To find out more about the Countryside Climate Network, please see: www.uk100.org.


Following its pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030, and to support Wiltshire to do the same, Wiltshire Council is working hard on a number of projects to make a difference.

In February 2019 at a meeting of full council, Wiltshire Council resolved to acknowledge there is a climate emergency and seek to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030. In July 2019 Wiltshire Council's cabinet also pledged to make Wiltshire Council carbon neutral by 2030.

Since then the council has:

• Committed to invest £5.2m to make its buildings more energy efficient

• Encouraged the public to make a Green Pledge

• Hosted a number of well-attended special climate change-themed area board meetings

• Secured all the electricity on its corporate contract from a green tariff from April 2020

• Supported the bid and invested to bring electric buses to Salisbury

• Committed to invest £3.8 million assigned to solar projects on park and ride sites

• Proposed funding a climate change team in the 2020/21 draft budget

• Committed to invest £12m on a major public highway LED light replacement project

• Planned event to engage closely with schools on this global issue

The council’s Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group has also been both supporting and challenging the executive in a number of areas; such as:

• Ensuring that new council planning policies help to drive low carbon development

• Working with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership to discuss the impact of its industrial and local energy strategies

• Working with council officers to encourage pension investment in carbon neutral funds

• Scrutinising the council’s own housing development plans in terms of their energy efficiency standards

• Talking with transport planners about ‘greener’ alternatives for shorter journeys and ensuring that the council’s next Local Transport Plan prioritises more sustainable modes of transport

• Meeting with community energy providers to discuss what the council can do to support the generation and use of renewable energy

Cllr Richard Clewer, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “At our recent Focusing on the Future meetings, climate change was a topic that came up time and time again. That was no surprise to us, and we’re keen to harness the clear local passion for this global issue as we all work together to make a positive difference.

“We have always said that we can’t do this alone, however, we can lead from the front and hope others follow. Together with the task group, we will continue to look at all avenues and projects to ensure we deliver on our pledge. We know there’s more to be done but progress has been made and this is just the beginning of a long journey.” 

Cllr Graham Wright, chair of Wiltshire Council’s Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group, said: “I would like to thank all the task group for their commitment and also compliment Wiltshire Council officers for their  professional approach to climate change. Making positive changes to reduce our carbon footprint within Wiltshire is complex however, the task group is focused on doing just that.”

All people need to do to take part in The Green Pledge, is agree to make a difference in their everyday lives that could have a positive impact. For more information about that, and other projects, people should visit the webpage.


Salisbury Reds and Wiltshire Council have unveiled new electric buses for city's park and ride services

The three brand new electric vehicles - a total investment of £1.2 million - will run from Salisbury's park and ride bus services.

The move follows a successful bid by the local bus operator and the council for £600,000 of Government funding for the new buses – which will help provide greener and cleaner journeys across the region.

While fully charged, each bus should be able to travel for around 160 miles.

"Together with Wiltshire Council, our team worked incredibly hard to gain government support, under the Low Emission Bus Scheme, for this important initiative," said Salisbury Reds managing director, Andrew Wickham.

"The move is part of a drive to lower emissions across the UK, following the publication of the government's draft Air Quality Plan, and I am delighted that Salisbury Reds is at the forefront of that project here in Wiltshire.

"Buses are the perfect solution to improving air quality in our towns and cities. I'm very much looking forward to seeing these three new electric vehicles out-and-about across Salisbury and the surrounding area."

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: "We're delighted that three new electric buses are now serving our park and ride sites in Salisbury.

"These buses represent a significant investment in the city, and will help to reduce the environmental impact of visitors and improve air quality. This is an important part of our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030, and we hope that by leading the way with initiatives like this, it will inspire people and other organisations to make a positive difference.

"I'd urge all visitors to Salisbury to use the five park and ride services where possible, as this will have a positive impact on reducing pollution and congestion, and it also allows easy access to our beautiful city."

For more information about Salisbury Reds, please visit salisburyreds.co.uk


Wiltshire Council’s drive to be carbon neutral by 2030 continues as its low energy street lighting project gets underway.

The council is investing £12m to replace much of its ageing 45,000 lights with Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. Unlike older lights, LED lighting can be dimmed to save energy. 

The project has been rolled out in Chippenham with more than 400 of the new modern lights installed. The lights will eventually be installed throughout the county, which will see the council make annual savings of around £1m. 

The light from the LED units look different as it is not orange in colour, like some of the older lighting. The new lights will provide similar lighting levels with less light spill and be considerably cheaper to operate and maintain. Instead of being turned off for part of the night, many of the lights will be dimmed during off-peak periods to further reduce energy consumption.

The conversion will be carried out quickly in most locations with little disturbance and disruption as it is only the electrical equipment being changed. However, in a few cases it may be necessary to renew the lighting column which will require excavation in the pavement to provide and connect the new column.

The project is expected to reduce the annual energy consumption of the council’s street lighting from 12,977,500 KWh to 5,262,291 KWh. The reduction in energy for each light will vary according to the unit, but is likely to be as much as 69% in some cases.

There will be also significant reduction of the council’s carbon footprint – it will reduce street lighting CO2 by 1,770tCO2 (from 4,950tCO2 to 3,180tCO2.).

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The project to replace the old stock has had a smooth start and the feedback we’re received so far has been very positive.

“This long-term investment will save money while helping us achieve our ambition of reducing carbon emissions throughout the county – it’s a win-win.”

For more information and a range of FAQs, people should visit http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/highways-improvements-led-lighting 


Wiltshire Council is laying out its strategy to address climate change with a commitment from Cabinet for the council to become carbon neutral by 2030. 

The first steps will be to look at a major increase in renewable energy generation on council buildings and reviewing the council fleet to establish which vehicles can be electric when they are replaced.  Wiltshire Council’s Environment Select Committee has also established a task group of councillors to look at some of the main issues.

Wiltshire Council will start by looking to see if more can be done at its main hubs and other buildings to ensure the organisation is leading the way locally in tackling this global problem.

Richard Clewer, deputy leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “We want to show leadership because we take the issue of climate change very seriously.  We need to show that we can generate our own energy needs renewably to help lead the way in Wiltshire.

“Locally we can’t do this alone; we will need to work with other organisations, stakeholders, communities and groups. However, if we, as an organisation can lead the way given the size we are, then we hope that communities will be keen to work with us to ensure that Wiltshire is seen as a positive example of how to tackle this issue.” 

Cllr Graham Wright, chairman of the Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group, said: “If counties like Wiltshire don’t start to put changes into place now, then collectively we won’t be able to make a positive difference.

“We are under no illusion of the monumental scale of this issue. What we have in our favour though is a growing awareness and recognition from the public that, globally, this serious issue should be high on everyone’s agenda.”

Wiltshire Council’s cabinet is being supported by the Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group, chaired by Cllr Graham Wright and made up of eight councillors. It has met twice so far to scope the areas that they want to focus on.

The areas they will be exploring are:

• Renewable energy generation, energy use and efficiency

• Planning

• Transport and air quality

• Waste

• Land use

• Business and industry

At the launch of three new electric buses in Salisbury - January 2020

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Last updated: 20 July 2020 | Last reviewed: 20 July 2020