Schools will be encouraged to support town’s efforts to achieve zero carbon emissions

St Neots Town Council is working with Energise to reduce its carbon footprint

St Neots Town Council is working with Energise to reduce its carbon footprint - Credit: Archant

Councillors in St Neots have given their unanimous support to an initiative which will help to reduce carbon emissions.

The full council met on July 23 and voted to use £3,337.50 of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to fund the first stage of a programme of measures which will enable the council to work towards carbon neutrality by 2030.

In February, councillors voted to support a motion from Cllr Christine Green to set up a working group to explore the possibilities around carbon neutrality and report back in six months.

Cllr Green was contacted by St Neots-based company Energise, which works with companies to advise them on how to reduce their carbon footprint.

The first step was for Energise to calculate the council's current carbon footprint and then draw up a Pathway to Zero document, which is what the council agreed to fund at the meeting.

Cllr Green explained: "This funding is for the next step as we can't go any further without it. It will include site visits and staff interviews so we can work out how to reduce the footprint that has already been calculated."

The working group, made up of councillors and members of the public, has discussed designing a logo for the council to use on its communications and launching a Switch It Off campaign to ensure parents do not leave their car engines running outside schools.

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Cllr Green acknowledged that once the process moved forward there may be some difficult decisions ahead as the council would be spending public money to fund the processes, but she said she hoped the public would play their part too.

"We do not see this a purely a town council initiative. There are lots of ideas that have been put forward and although we can't do everything at once, we hope people will want to come on board with us."

Chairman of the council, Gordon Thorpe, added: "We want to set an example for the rest of the town to follow, but it must be baby steps."

After the meeting, Cllr Green said she was "heartened" by the positive response from her fellow councillors.

"Everyone was so enthusiastic and keen to get things going straight away rather than budget for the money at a later date and I was heartened by that. There is a huge amount of work to do, but we have now made those important first few steps."