Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet was updated on the progress of delivering a sustainable future for Warwickshire.
Decarbonising Warwickshire’s fleet of vehicles and reducing the Council’s carbon footprint through the modernising of heating systems in its buildings will be major areas of focus as Warwickshire County Council seeks to meet targets associated with the county’s Sustainable Futures Strategy
At its meeting on Thursday 15 June 2023, the Warwickshire County Council Cabinet heard feedback on the Council’s draft Sustainable Futures Strategy following an extensive period of public engagement in late 2022 and early 2023. There was a fantastic response to the engagement work, which will allow the Council to make improvements to the Strategy.
Further focused engagement will now take place over the summer prior to finalising the strategy in the Autumn.
Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet was updated on progress made since first approving the draft Strategy. This includes:
- Obtaining an allocation of £3.295m capital funding to deliver electric vehicle charge points primarily for residents who do not have off-street parking.
- The allocation of funding for 38 climate related community projects under round 2 of the Green Shoots fund, bringing the total to 107 funded projects over phases 1 and 2.
- The establishment of a tree nursery supporting the Council’s commitment to plant a tree for every resident by 2030. 20,000 acorns have been planted to date.
- Outcomes of work to decarbonise the Council buildings and transport operations have delivered reductions in carbon emissions by 8%, on track with the targets necessary to reach net zero carbon by 2030.
In addition to progress with the Strategy, Cabinet was appraised on progress towards some of the key areas of work that make up the Strategy. The following projects were identified for funding bids in the current financial year:
Decarbonising Warwickshire’s fleet – A phased 5-year rollout of a certified waste derived low carbon biofuel across WCC’s vehicle fleet is the first step in the overall decarbonisation of Warwickshire’s Fleet of vehicles. It is acknowledged that biofuels present only a temporary solution and additional work is ongoing to define, cost and establish a time-bound plan to fully decarbonise the vehicle fleet.
Making buildings energy efficient – The Council will review its buildings with older heating boilers and explore where modernisation can make them more energy efficient.
Supporting schools to participate in eco-schools – To increase school
engagement on climate change, the Sustainable Futures Programme is proposing to fund 200 schools to participate in eco-schools programme.
An offer to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – SMEs will be encouraged to sign-up to a platform that allows them to score themselves against, and act upon, a variety of sustainability initiatives.
Carbon literacy e-learning module – All staff and new starters have access to this e-learning modules and options are being explored for its wider rollout.
Further projects include the launch of the new Countywide energy strategy, the creation of a renewable energy plan, the creation of an offsetting plan, a fleet decarbonisation strategy and a review of hydrogen for transport across Warwickshire, all of which will be developed in the 2023/24 financial year.
Cllr Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate & Culture, said: “What Cabinet heard today was a very clear message that the County Council is leading from the front and showing what needs to be done. We have agreed to put meaningful measures in place which will significantly and swiftly reduce the county’s carbon emissions.
“But we have always said that, if we are to successfully tackle this challenge, we have to do it together – with our communities. The planned funding to work with SMEs and schools, are excellent examples of empowering our communities so that we can all make changes that will make a difference. As the strategy has moved forwards, we have listened to our communities, taken their thoughts on board and now we are working with them. It’s very exciting progress.”
The final draft of the Sustainable Futures Strategy will be considered by Overview and Scrutiny Committees and the the Members’ Climate Emergency Group in September 2023 for comment before consideration by Cabinet in the Autumn of 2023.
A summary of the draft strategy is available here: www.bit.ly/SustFuturesExecSumm
The complete draft strategy is available here: www.bit.ly/SustFuturesStratFull
Read the Cabinet Report here: https://democracy.warwickshire.gov.uk/documents/s31377/Sustainable%20Futures%20Strategy.pdf
For more information about how Warwickshire County Council is facing the challenges of the climate change emergency, visit: https://www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/
To sign-up to the Warwickshire County Council climate change and sustainability newsletter, visit: www.eepurl.com/hrk-zf