Wiltshire draft climate strategy 2022-2027. August 2021
In February 2019, against a backdrop of increasing concern over climate change, the council acknowledged the climate emergency and committed to seek to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030. To this end, in July 2019 Wiltshire Council pledged as an organisation to become carbon neutral by 2030. A Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group was set up, gathering the views of a wide range of stakeholders to provide recommendations on ways to reduce carbon emissions.
Wiltshire Council has been working to reduce its carbon emissions for over a decade with some of the following results:
- we cut our carbon footprint by more than 80% between 2015 and 2021 thanks to sustained investment in renewables over time, in 2019/20 we generated 4747 MWh from renewable sources
- in October 2019, Wiltshire was named by Friends of the Earth as the most climate-friendly local authority area in England and Wales
- since 2014/15, carbon emissions from street lighting reduced by 69% before we applied a green electricity tariff which brought emissions down to zero.
We recognise that cutting carbon emissions deeply and rapidly over the coming years is a huge challenge and that there is much more to do. We will learn from best practice elsewhere and share our skills and experience with local partners who look to us for leadership on this agenda.
The council has engaged with public, private and community organisations in Wiltshire to develop the strategy to this point. The Wiltshire Climate Alliance was formed in 2020 as an umbrella organisation for environmental groups across the county. These groups have been holding the council to account on its climate commitments. They have also helped to shape this draft strategy through workshops in 2020 and 2021, including two organised by the Wiltshire Climate Alliance Youth group of under 25s.
As national policy and legislation are crucial enablers of action at a local level, we are involved in influential national networks to shape and inform central government thinking. The council's leader chairs the Countryside Climate Network, made up of ambitious council leaders from 28 rural councils who represent over 45% of England's land area, making the case that rural communities can be at the forefront of climate action.
This strategy sets a framework for reducing emissions in Wiltshire over the next five years and for making the county resilient to climate impacts. This strategy is not a statutory document but it will influence other key council strategies and plans such as our Business Plan, our emerging Local Plan and our Local Transport Plan.