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Climate emergency

Overview

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 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: 

  • Wiltshire Council is projected to have cut its carbon footprint by 80% on 2014/15 emissions, partly by switching to a green energy tariff so all the energy the council uses comes from renewable sources and can be counted as carbon neutral. 
  • Committed to invest £50 million to raise council homes to an energy performance B rating over the next 10 years.
  • Secured a Green Homes Grant of £546,500 which will enable work to be carried out to improve 100 of the least energy efficient properties in Wiltshire. The council will also be adding further funding to this grant.
  • Commenced its £5m Property Carbon Reduction Programme to reduce carbon emissions by 25% over 3 years.
  • Secured a grant of £671,000 to improve existing bus services or bring back services that had ended. 
  • Secured £0.68m from the second tranche of the Department for Transport's (DfT) Active Travel Fund, to progress cycling schemes in the county.
  • Supporting the natural environment and biodiversity within Wiltshire through development of a Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy.
  • Carrying out wildflower trials on both highway verges and amenity land to develop a short, flower-rich turf that is valuable for bees and other insects.
  • Approved the first phase of the Salisbury River Park Scheme, which will improve resilience to climate change.
  • The £12m programme to convert streetlights across Wiltshire to LEDs continues. Energy consumption has been reduced by 39%.
  • Included the 'Green Agenda' within its key principles for organisational recovery with a focus on a green workplace and environmentally friendly behaviours.
  • Raising awareness with training providers and employers to address the potential skills shortage within the green economy sector.
  • Warm and Safe Wiltshire has advised 4,383 households since April 2018, on a wide variety of topics including: insulation and heating improvements, switching energy suppliers and claiming the Warm Home Discount.

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

Meetings

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:

23 February 2021 - Cabinet meeting - Update on council's response to climate emergency