Climate emergency - latest progress
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 this. Our Cabinet subsequently committed to make the council carbon neutral by 2030.
A new climate strategy has been adopted to enable us to meet these commitments.
The plan is evidence and data led, and includes a community led approach which engages, empowers, enables and communicates with Wiltshire communities and businesses.
We have commissioned an independent consultant to provide us with a detailed technical study of ours, and the county's, climate ambitions, so we have a clear picture of the way forward and the progress we have made so far. The work has been carried out by the Anthesis Group, specialists in providing support and expertise to organisations looking to be as sustainable as possible.
What we are 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. These are the latest highlights:
- successfully being allocated £480k funding in August 2023 to scale up delivery of local electric charging points
- launching five new Wiltshire Connect bus services, including a flexible on-demand service
- working with charity Sustrans to create a toolkit for secondary schools to raise awareness of climate change, air quality and the impact of transport
- successful bidding for funding of £978,000 to create new cycling and walking routes in the county
Housing and the built environment highlights:
- project to retrofit owner-owned homes gather's pace, with between 175 and 210 homes expected to have their energy efficiency improved - procurement planning underway and engagement with potential suppliers taking place
- council homes continue to be retrofitted, with 243 measures installed including solar panels and loft/floor insulation
- The Local Plan, which is being formally consulted on, includes policies designed to ensure new developments during the plan period will support the transition to net zero
- Wiltshire Design Guide has been drafted and recently was consulted on, which includes 'sustainability and climate resilience' as one of its three golden themes
- increasing the awareness of climate change through the planning application process and in the development of local neighbourhood plans
- working with housing manufacture Rollalong to deliver high quality affordable homes as sustainably as possible - using modular rather than traditional building methods
Natural environment highlights:
- Salisbury River Park Project is still on track to complete in April 2024, bringing 650m of new and improved cycling routes, 1,600m of new and improved footpaths, 600 new trees, 2ha of habitat created and biodiversity improved, and increased resilience to climate change
- successful bid of funding from a £14m Government pot to develop a tailored nature recovery strategy - helping communities map out the action needed in their area to restore nature by working closely with local stakeholders
- tree warden scheme launched countywide following successful bid of funding of almost £300k. Tree Wardens will act as local tree champions who help plant, promote and protect trees in appropriate locations in their local area
- scheme 2 of Solar Together launched in June - giving people the opportunity to purchase affordable solar technology; almost 700 Wiltshire residents so far have accepted an offer to have solar technology installed which is made more affordable due to the group-buying element of the initiative
Green economy highlights
- Invest in Wiltshire scheme launched which encourages business to apply for grants to expand their enterprises, but they must demonstrate plans to decarbonise
- 98% of the waste collected for recycling, composting or reuse was managed within the UK. This reduces the carbon impact of waste haulage as this material did not need to be exported from the UK
- Council's Recycling: Let's Sort It campaign continues to encourage people to recycle as much as they can. The current focus is to help people to recycle as much as possible at the council's Household Recycling Centre sites
- formal consultation on the council's Air Quality Action Plan - demonstrating the council's plan to improve air quality in Wiltshire
Carbon neutral council highlights:
- In 2014-15 Scope 1 emissions (direct emissions from sources owned by Wiltshire Council) and Scope 2 emissions (indirect emissions from purchased sources) were 23,758 tonnes of CO2 equivalent and in 2022/23 were 3,568 tCO2e. This means that council emissions have been reduced below the target for 2022/23 (3750t) ensuring that it is on track to be carbon neutral. Full details are provided in the annual Greenhouse Gas Report published on the council's website at Climate strategy and delivery plans
- The amount of renewable energy produced on the council's own estate has trebled in the last year from 550,000 kWh in 2021-22 to 1,745,060 kWh in 2022-23
- Installing canopies at a leisure centre car park which will generate 248kw and will reduce electricity costs by more than 10%
- Trialling 12 charging stations at a leisure centre for electric vehicles powered from solar panels
- Local highways maintenance contractor using Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil fuel for some of their fleet which produces less CO2 - saving 150 tonnes of CO2e per year, which is a 90% reduction compared to using diesel
- More than 100 members of council staff complete carbon literacy training to help them become more energy efficient in their work and home lives
Updates on the council's work to tackle the climate locally
Wiltshire Council's cabinet and full council regularly receive updates on the council's work to tackle the climate emergency locally.
Update of our latest progress
Update of progress from the update in May 2023
Reports presented at cabinet and full council meetings
- 10 October 2023 - Cabinet Meeting - Update on council's response to climate emergency
- 2 May 2023 - Cabinet Meeting - Update on the council's response to climate emergency
- 11 October 2022 - Cabinet Meeting - Update on council's response to climate emergency
- 1 February 2022 - Cabinet meeting - Update on council's response to climate emergency
- 13 July 2021 - Cabinet meeting - Update on council's response to climate emergency
- 23 February 2021 - Cabinet meeting - Update on council's response to climate emergency
- 14 July 2020 - Cabinet meeting - Update on council's response to climate change
- 8 October 2019 - Cabinet meeting- Update on council's response to climate change
Carbon reduction will be a key theme in our recovery from COVID-19. As well as adopting the new climate 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 have also adopted a Green and Blue 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.
To support our goals we have joined several leading organisations that are working towards a net zero future:
UK100, whose membership pledge is "The people who live in the cities, towns and villages we serve deserve warm homes, secure and affordable energy, clean air and water, and local and seasonal food. They deserve access to thriving nature and healthy landscapes, and to live in a place they can be proud of" .
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) who bring together local authorities across the country and represent members interests by influencing government policy within the UK.
Race to Zero is a global campaign driven by science to rally leadership and support towards a net Zero Carbon future.
Latest news releases
- 23 November 2023 - Wiltshire Council secures funding to support its tree commitments across the county
- 21 November 2023 - Help to shape cycling and walking plans in Calne and Melksham
- 14 November 2023 - Wiltshire's Bikeability programme nominated for national awards as more than 40,000 children now trained to cycle safely
- 26 October 2023 - Channel reopening marks major milestone in Salisbury River Park project
- 23 October 2023 - More than 2,000 people engage with Local Plan events - as consultation continues
- 20 October 2023 - Wiltshire Council increases funding for over-subscribed Invest in Wiltshire grants
- 12 October 2023 - Council wins national award for its efforts to encourage people to recycle more
- 11 October 2023 - Wiltshire Council on track to be carbon neutral by 2030
- 5 October 2023 - Wiltshire Council receives further funding to improve and protect bus services
- 3 October 2023 - Have your say on the future of bus services in Wiltshire
- 2 October 2023 - Go Green at the library this Libraries Week
- 18 September 2023 - Active Travel Toolkit helps more students to cycle and walk to school
- 22 September 2023 - Wiltshire Council awarded £480,000 to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure
- 27 July 2023 - Tree Wardens scheme to be relaunched in Wiltshire
- 27 July 2023 - New on-demand and semi-flexible bus services to connect rural communities in the Pewsey Vale
- 3 July 2023 - Wiltshire Council will lead the drive to help nature recovery for Wiltshire and Swindon