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 this. Our Cabinet subsequently committed to also 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.

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:

  • A new green energy contract for schools so they can access green energy at a competitive rate; 128 schools have signed up so far.
  • In 2020/21 the council generated 450,135 kWh renewable electricity on its own estate, a 39% increase on the previous financial year.
  • Two successful grant applications to Natural England totalling £10,000 to support the development of a Local Nature Recovery Strategy.
  • All eight household recycling centres (HRCs) operated by FCC now provide separate labelled walk-in containers where residents and site staff can store good-quality items suitable for reuse or refurbishment.
  • An action planning day was held for town and parish councils to empower them to make practical changes in their communities.
  • A new solar panel bulk buying scheme that will enable Wiltshire residents to get high quality solar panels at a lower cost.
  • The ongoing #WiltsCanDoThis behaviour change social media campaign has been seen more than 1.1 million times.
  • 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.
  • So far 57 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'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.
  • An order for new electric and non-electric bikes for council staff has been placed with a local bike charity to help reduce car miles and carbon emissions.

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 reports presented at these meetings:

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.

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