Council sets new green targets

Pathfinder House, in St Mary's Street, in Huntingdon.

Pathfinder House, in St Mary's Street, in Huntingdon. - Credit: HUNTS POST

A greener future is being sought by Huntingdonshire District Council which is to work towards becoming carbon zero by 2040,

The authority set the emissions target at a meeting of the full council as well as environmental principles linked to the OxCam Arc - a massive swathe of development between Cambridge and Oxford and passing through part of Huntingdonshire. 

Council leader Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: “The council has a duty to ensure we promote an environmentally positive recovery in Huntingdonshire following the impacts of Covid-19 and to limit the negative impacts of climate change.

"We also have a duty to deliver sustainable placemaking. This will be achieved through strong economic growth with strong environmental principles, good design of our homes and infrastructure, and health and biodiversity net gain at the core to ensure our residents thrive now, and in the future."

Cllr Fuller added: "Clear environmental principles that we have now adopted will support the council to renew its strategy for the environment and its role in an environmentally positive recovery for Huntingdonshire as we move beyond the Covid crisis.

“We have direct control of only a tiny proportion of all the carbon emissions within Huntingdonshire, but we can adopt a key role to influence the district, demonstrating good practice whilst setting policies and strategies to influence businesses and communities to tackle climate change whilst enabling sustainable living and growth.”

The council's cabinet backed the green scheme this autumn and the targets it contained have now been adopted by the authority

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It includes a net-zero carbon target locally by 2040, enhancing and creating green spaces, pursuing the ambitions of a 25-year plan to improve the environment, to make sure new development was designed to mitigate the effects of climate change, to ensure communities see real benefits to their well-being and to use natural resources wisely.

The council said it would target a green recovery next year after its present focus on the pandemic. It would also seek to minimise the impact of its operations on the district while maximising its positive impact as well as encouraging partners, businesses and communities to do more.

The OxCam Arc covers five counties and supports two million jobs and  would add an estimated £110 billion to the economy each year.

Cllr John Morris, Liberal Democrat councillor for Brampton and Hinchingbrooke,  submitted an amendment to the recommendation which asked for for swifter action in producing a climate action plan.

Cllr Morris, a keen environmentalist, said: “I was grateful for the support from Labour, Lib Dem and independent colleagues who supported my amendment during the debate on climate change. It was therefore very disappointing that the Conservative group voted en-block to vote down my amendment.”