Plans brought forward for Zero carbon streets

Godmanchester Electric Car Charging Points.

Godmanchester Electric Car Charging Points. - Credit: Archant

Plans to reduce Cambridgeshire County Council’s (CCC) carbon footprint more quickly are under way, with the authority now aiming to bring forward its net zero carbon targets towards 2030. 

At a recent meeting of the council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee, councillors agreed to begin a review of the authority’s Climate Change and Environment Strategy (CCES) to speed up the council’s energy saving ambitions. 

In May 2019, the council declared a Climate and Environment Emergency, recognising the global challenge of climate change and outlining how the authority can work to address this locally. 

The Strategy was approved in May 2020 and includes a commitment to a number of targets, such as reducing the council’s (direct) emissions by 50% by 2023 (compared to 2018 levels) and reducing (indirect) emissions by 50.4% by 2030.

It also signed up to support the delivery of the government’s net zero carbon target by 2050 for the whole of Cambridgeshire. 

Councillor Lorna Dupré, Chair of the council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee, said: "Greenhouse gas emissions here in Cambridgeshire are 25 per cent higher per head than the UK average.

"In about six years we will have exhausted all of our ‘allowed’ share of emissions to 2050, if we are to play an equal part in delivering the UK’s critical net-zero target. We need to take action even more urgently. 

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"We are doing much already and data shows initial reductions in our carbon emissions.

"Bringing the net zero target forward for the Council’s carbon footprint gives us a clear commitment to focus on – it’s a tough challenge, but a necessary one.

"We will also collaborate with partners, businesses and communities on reducing carbon emissions more broadly for Cambridgeshire, so we can become a more sustainable county.” 

The council is actively working to meet these aims through several initiatives, including improving council owned buildings to reduce energy demand, ensuring nearly Zero Energy building standards for all new public buildings, and decarbonising council vehicles, which will see electric vehicle charging facilities installed at offices – for pool cars, library vehicles and gritters. 

The council will review the success of what has been done to date, and identify what more needs to be done by when, in order to bring forward the Council’s net zero targets towards 2030. The revised Strategy will also take account of new information, national policy changes, and local initiatives such as the Combined Authority’s independent Climate Change Commission. 

The council will also agree an action programme and consider how to refocus the council’s medium-term finances to deliver this ambition. 

A more comprehensive framework to collect, analyse and report data from across the council on carbon emissions will also be developed, creating a more accurate picture of the council’s carbon footprint for annual progress reports that are already being published.