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Council continues commitment to tackling the climate emergency

Wiltshire Council has updated on its progress towards its goal of being a carbon neutral organisation and supporting the county to achieve the same

Published 3 May 2023

Wiltshire Council has updated on its progress towards its goal of being a carbon neutral organisation and supporting the county to achieve the same.

The council has provided its latest six-monthly report on how it is tackling the global climate problem locally, leading from the front on a number of projects and initiatives to help inspire people and organisations to take the kind of action that will make a positive difference.

At its meeting held on 26 February 2019 Full Council resolved to acknowledge that 'there is a climate emergency and to seek to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030'.  Cabinet subsequently committed to make the council carbon neutral by 2030. 

In its latest report, which was presented at the Cabinet meeting on 2 May, updates were provided on a range of projects including:

  • the key funding it has secured to retrofit homes and drive tree planting
  • innovations for waste services to help recycle as much as possible
  • educating young people on what they can do to make a difference
  • making its own buildings as green as possible
  • supporting residents across the county to install solar panels
  • continuing to develop active travel schemes and investing in electric vehicle charging technology.
  • Being confirmed as a Bronze Carbon Literate organisation by the Carbon Literacy Project

In a recent independent Corporate Peer Challenge, it was said in the final report that Wiltshire Council is excelling in work to address climate change - further demonstrating the council's commitment to the climate cause. The report stated: "The council's work to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change is impressive, with many activities that would be considered exceptional in other organisations being seen very much as the 'day job'."

Cllr Nick Holder, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: "As our Business Plan clearly states, we want Wiltshire to be a place where we all take responsibility for the environment and are on the path to carbon neutral. As clearly demonstrated by our latest update on the response to the climate emergency, we are doing everything we can to not only lead by example in our activity as an organisation, but inspire others to do what they can too. We are an organisation of influence but the climate emergency is everyone's responsibility and we must all work together on this shared global issue that will have such an impact on not only our futures but those of generations to come.

"We will continue to push forward and do as much as we can to build on the progress we have already made, and hopefully take many people along on that journey with us."

Here's a summary of how the council is supporting the county to become carbon neutral:

  • Funding of more than £3.6m successfully secured from Government which will increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint of up to 210 Wiltshire homes
  • 90 council homes have been retrofitted to be more energy efficient
  • £294,800 of funding successfully secured from Government to support tree planting and woodland creation targets - delivering 111 hectares of trees in 2023/24 and 222 hectares in 2024/25
  • The council is on track to deliver more than 700 installations in Wiltshire as part of the Solar Together scheme - totalling more than 5,000 solar panels. A second scheme will be launching in early summer
  • Between August 2022 and January 2023, more than 58 tonnes of reusable items were collected at household recycling sites, saving 23 tonnes of CO2e compared with sending this waste to landfill 
  • A pop-up reuse shop in Devizes prevented 2.1 tonnes of waste from going to landfill by selling items collected from recycling centres such as bikes, tools and toys 
  • More than 15 tonnes of batteries collected so far through new kerbside collection scheme 
  • Leisure items recycling scheme launched at four centres which allows usually discarded items to be eventually recycled and used again
  • 74 cycle parking spaces and an e-bike docking station has been installed at Salisbury Train Station  
  • 1,200 pupils have attended Bikeability training since the start of the 2022/23 school year
  • £878k allocated for further Active Travel schemes in the county
  • Applications have been received through a council scheme for 35 sites to have electric vehicle charging point feasibility studies - with funding support from the council
  • The council is investing an extra £1m between 2022/23 and 2024/25 to empty gullies and help prevent flooding
  • The Warm and Safe advice service has been extended for a further three years 
  • Libraries service secured funding to produce a series of talks and book collections on climate change and sustainable living
  • The Salisbury River Park project continues to make progress - the council's flagship project to improve resilience to climate impacts

Here's a summary of Wiltshire Council's progress in becoming a carbon neutral organisation:

  • Almost 60 members of staff complete carbon literacy training to help them become more energy efficient in their work and home lives, and the council has been awarded a Carbon Literate Organisation Bronze award
  • The council's case studies featured at the UN Climate Change conference COP27 in Egypt
  • Air source heat pumps have been installed at three leisure sites reducing gas usage by around 6,200 MWh per annum
  • 54 installations of solar photovoltaics at leisure sites generated 1,746 MWh of electricity in 2022/23
  • Renewable energy on council property increased by more than five times between 2019/20 and 2022/23 - from 324 MWh to 1,746 MWh
  • The council's 2021/22 greenhouse gas emissions are 5,275 tCO2e which is a reduction of 75% on its 2014/15 footprint - 2022/23 data available later this year
  • The council adopted a socially responsible procurement policy which played a part in awarding its recent £80m highways contract
  • Telematics have now been installed in all 200 of the council's own vehicles - providing vital data on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions related to driver behaviour 
  • The council has upgraded its gritters and replaced them with a new modern fleet with Euro 6 compliant diesel engines - much better for emissions
  • 91% of staff training was carried out online rather than face-to-face
  • The number of council printers reduced by 50% and ageing printers have been replaced with ones that use 60% less energy

As well as the Business Plan, the council's Climate Strategy informs all the work the council is doing to tackle climate change in Wiltshire covering seven delivery themes: transport; built environment; waste; green economy; energy generation, storage and distribution; natural environment, food and farming; and carbon neutral council. In addition, the council's Green & Blue Infrastructure Strategy is another key plan and both documents are used as frameworks for the council's policies and plans in this area.

More information about Wiltshire's Climate Strategy can be found online.

If people want advice and support on what they can do to make a difference, they should visit our climate change individual page.

The full climate update can be found on our website (opens new window).

The update report will also be presented at Full Council on 16 May.

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