Update on Wiltshire Council's carbon reduction progress
Update given at Cabinet meeting
At today's Cabinet meeting (Tuesday 14 July), Wiltshire Council provided an update on progress it has made since November 2019 in response to the climate emergency.
In February 2019, the council resolved to seek to make Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030, and in November 2019, it agreed to amend the council's business plan 2017-2027 to give prominence on the climate emergency in the plan.
Since then, the council has appointed a Head of Carbon Reduction and made significant changes across a range of services in the authority to help tackle climate change.
Commenting on the progress made in the past six months, Cllr Richard Clewer, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: "I'm delighted that we've made such good progress across the council to contribute towards our resolution to become carbon neutral by 2030.
"We recognise that there is much to do to meet this target, but we have made promising strides forward and there is much more to come.
"Climate change affects every service we provide, so by taking a council-wide approach we can make a significant number of changes across all services to help us reach our target."
These include everyday changes, such as sourcing all electricity from a green tariff since April, to much larger projects that will invest in Wiltshire and reduce carbon emissions.
- At Porton Science Park, the council is working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to co-fund £110,000 towards the development of a Heat Network to supply low carbon heat to the science park. While in Minety, the council has worked proactively with Penso Power, a UK renewable energy and battery storage company, to develop the largest battery storage scheme in Europe, which is due to open in the autumn.
- The council's Housing Board is committed to developing 1,000 new council homes over the next 10 years and where the council is the developer they will be to a zero carbon standard, using the fabric of the building for maximum efficiency, together with energy generation through solar panels. A pilot of two new homes is going ahead in Durrington to test this approach and the lessons learned will be used to shape the rest of the programme.
- Warm and Safe Wiltshire, an energy advice service provided by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council in partnership with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, has referred more than 400 households to heating and insulation contractors to help keep homes warmer and reduce carbon emissions. The service has also saved residents more than £275,723 on energy bills and increased income.
- In highways and transport, the council has applied for funding from the Department for Transport's (DfT) Restoring Your Railway Fund for four key rail projects across the county. If successful, the schemes would see a new station in Devizes, reinstating a fourth platform in Westbury, providing capacity improvements around Melksham, and also restoring secondary train services on the Great Western Mainline, which may help to realise new stations at Corsham and Royal Wootton Bassett.
- In Salisbury, the council has worked in partnership with Salisbury Reds to secure three new electric buses for the city's park and ride services - a total investment of £1.2 million. Meanwhile, 32 old waste vehicles have been taken out of service, replaced by more efficient vehicles to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.
- In 2019/20, the council sent just 16% of waste collected to landfill, compared with 20% in 2014/15. The majority of non-recyclable household waste collected in Wiltshire is processed for energy recovery.
- As part of its £12m programme, the council has so far converted around 8,000 streetlights across Wiltshire to LEDs, reducing energy consumption by 21% and halving carbon emissions since 2013/14. The aim of the replacement programme is to reduce the energy consumption by 67% and carbon emissions by 83% by 2022/23, compared with the 2013/14 baseline.