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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 Global Warming and 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.

Latest news releases


Wiltshire Council's cabinet and full council regularly receive updates on the council's work to tackle the climate emergency locally. See below for the latest reports presented at these meetings:

14 July 2020 - Cabinet meeting - Update on council's response to climate emergency