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:
- The council's first Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Plan has been approved, and funding has been identified and approved for a number of electric vehicle charging points in the county. The council has carried out a tender process for provision and replacement of electric vehicle charging points at towns with a population of 10,000 or more
- It will also be rolling out a grant to support town and parish councils to install electric vehicle charging points in their local area. A well-attended webinar was recently held to provide town and parishes more information. For more information see Electric vehicles (EV) and charging points
- To encourage active travel, Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) are being developed to improve cycling and walking opportunities throughout the county - working closely with town councils
- There are a number of active travel schemes across the county. visit New active travel schemes and 1 February 2022 - Cabinet meeting - Update on council's response to climate emergency, item 21, appendix 4.
- To ensure air quality throughout the county can be monitored as effectively as possible, old monitoring stations will be replaced using community infrastructure funding.
- The council's Housing Energy Efficiency Programme will retrofit 5,000 council homes by 2030, with assessment carried out on the first 800. The aim is to reduce the amount of CO2, make the properties more energy efficient, and help save residents money. For more information see Housing Energy Efficiency Programme (HEEP).
- So far, 90 council homes have been retrofitted to improve their energy efficiency rating, with measures such as intelligent hot water cylinders, solar panels, and high heat retaining storage heaters
- The council has also tendered a three-year contract to find a Modern Method of Construction (MMC) delivery partner. MMC is a process which focuses on off-site construction techniques, such as mass production and factory assembly, as alternatives to traditional building. This project will deliver 1,000 new affordable zero carbon homes. For more information about Modern methods of construction visit New build programme.
- The launch of a scheme that enables Wiltshire households with an income of £30,000 or less, and living in a property that is rated D, E, F or G for energy efficiency, the chance to access up to £10,000 for improvements such as insulation, solar panels and double glazing.
- The council hosted a Natural Environment Summit for Wiltshire, which brought together key groups and organisations to discuss opportunities to make meaningful long-term improvements to local biodiversity
- The £27 million Salisbury River Park transformational scheme aims to reduce flood risk to over 350 homes and businesses in Salisbury. It will also create riverside habitat for the benefit of wildlife, and more than 600 trees will be planted.
To give residents the opportunity to bulk-bid for solar panel technology to help drive down the price, the council worked with Swindon Borough Council and iChoosr to offer the Solar Together Wiltshire scheme. More than 1,000 residents have paid a deposit to install solar photovoltaic panels and/or battery storage.
- An action planning day was held for town and parish councils to empower them to make practical changes in their communities.
- The council worked with John of Gaunt School in Trowbridge to bring climate science education and green jobs to life for the next generation through a project called "Embedding Careers into the Maths Curriculum". Learn more about this by watching the series of videos on YouTube: Careers in Maths Project.
The council and its waste contractor have participated in demonstrations and trials of electric waste collection vehicles to inform future service design. 94.8% of the material collected for recycling, reuse, and composting by Wiltshire Council was managed within the UK, reducing the 'waste miles' travelled.
- Through its developing fleet strategy, the council has ordered 10 electric pool cars, 15 electric vans, and a further 17 electric vans are going through the procurement process
- The council's Property Carbon Reduction Programme has so far delivered 50 completed projects with 17 more currently awarded and underway. The project is estimated to save 1,500 tonnes of CO2 per year
- The £12 million project to convert the council's street lighting to energy efficient LED lighting is complete for all standard streetlights in Wiltshire. Any remaining units are heritage and special units. The project is predicted to be complete by the end of March 2023. The equivalent of around 1,770 tonnes of CO2 will be saved each year
- Thanks to sustained investment in solar photovoltaic technology over time, in 2021/22 the council generated over 550,000 kWh renewable electricity at its own buildings, equivalent to electricity used in 141 average households per year.
- The council has adopted its Socially Responsible Procurement Policy , which will ensure the Council maximises the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being that it delivers through its procurement activity. See Agenda and minutes: Cabinet - Tuesday 29 November 2022 10.00 am for more detail (Item 113).
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.
See the below links for a visual update of our latest progress.
Reports presented at cabinet and full council meetings
- 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
- 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
- 24 July 2023 - Council asks for views on key air quality documents
- 11 July 2023 - Cabinet approves sustainable and innovative Local Plan - with public consultation to begin in the autumn
- 3 July 2023 - Wiltshire Council will lead the drive to help nature recovery for Wiltshire and Swindon
- 12 June 2023 - Solar Together scheme offers cost-effective solar panel and battery storage installation for residents and businesses
- 30 May 2023 - Council receives £2.1m to spend on bus services in Wiltshire
- 3 May 2023 - Council continues commitment to tackling the climate emergency
- 21 April 2023 - Wiltshire Council earns carbon literacy recognition
- 22 March 2023 - Wiltshire Council secures Government funding to improve energy efficiency of homes
- 17 March 2023 - Wiltshire Council bids for Government funding for new walking and cycling routes
- 16 March 2023 - Secondary schools support Wiltshire to tackle climate change
- 6 March 2023 - Recycle the unrecyclable at your local swimming pool!
- 28 February 2023 - Hanger time: residents reminded to put the correct items in their recycling bins