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Wiltshire draft climate strategy 2022-2027. August 2021

About this document

This document has deliberately been kept simple and succinct to encourage a wide readership. The UK Climate Change Committee estimates that local authorities can influence one third of emissions in their area. This makes public engagement and buy-in from organisations and businesses critical to tackling the other two thirds - as well as advocating for strong government action. This high level strategy sets out our objectives and areas of focus while remaining flexible. As the world around us evolves in terms of knowledge, legislation and policy, technology and the market, we will adapt to take advantage of these opportunities. Detailed delivery plans will be developed, and in recognition that we are facing an emergency, we are already taking action on a number of fronts.

This strategy is not perfect. It is built on the currently available evidence base, but there are gaps in understanding and more work will need to be undertaken over time. Technical studies will be commissioned as required to address these gaps.

Transport: Achieving zero emissions surface transport in Wiltshire is a challenge which will require zero emissions vehicles and other measures. This is a necessary priority, since transport produces the largest proportion of emissions in the county.

Homes and the Built Environment: New buildings need to be net zero carbon as soon as possible, using less energy and running on low carbon sources of electricity and heat. Existing buildings need to be retrofitted along the same principles. All buildings also need to be able to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Natural Environment, food and farming: A healthy natural environment is crucial to achieving net zero, and providing ways for people and wildlife to adapt to the stresses of climate change. Central to our challenge is the efficient and sensitive use of land for all our needs - absorbing carbon dioxide, local food production, preserving habitats, generating energy and providing homes.

Energy: We need to reduce the energy we use, as well using low carbon forms of energy. There are also opportunities to explore in terms of 'smart' and digital solutions that help to smooth demand, and ensure fair distribution of energy and new technologies.

Green economy: We want to grow a carbon neutral and climate resilient economy in Wiltshire. This includes opportunities for training and more jobs in green sectors, as well as building up supply chains to enable objectives in our other delivery themes.

Waste: Reducing waste and using our resources efficiently helps reduce the energy and emissions associated with extracting, manufacturing, transporting and storing all the products we use.

Carbon Neutral Council: This section sets out the areas of work that will help Wiltshire Council become a carbon neutral organisation. The council's role also extends to providing leadership and opportunities to share knowledge and learn from one another.

Strategies and Targets Timeline: An overview of key government and council milestones to 2050.

"Achieving net zero is a colossal challenge and significantly more challenging than government's previous target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. Achieving net zero means all parts of the economy, including those that are harder to decarbonise, need to reduce emissions substantially. In some sectors, there are well-understood pathways to net zero but there is uncertainty in other sectors over how to reduce emissions. This is because it is not yet known how quickly some technologies will develop or how much individuals will be willing to change their behaviours."

National Audit Office report, December 2020

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