East Cambs Council – “even more ambitious on environmental pledges”

According to a press release issued on the 21 June 2023 by East Cambridgeshire District Council it has announced ambitious environmental plans to achieve carbon net zero four years ahead of schedule.

In its latest Environment Plan the Council has committed to reduce the 1,316.9 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that it produced in 2018/19 (baseline year) down to net-zero emissions by 2036.

This is 14 years ahead of a national legally binding Government target to be net zero by 2050.

Initiatives to cut its emissions range from converting its waste recycling vehicles to run on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), installing more solar panels on Council owned buildings and reducing the amount of paper it uses. The Council is also looking to reduce the number of business miles carried out by staff and achieve silver accreditation as an Investor in the Environment.

Investors in the Environment (iiE) is a national environmental accreditation scheme designed to help organisations save time and money, reduce their impact on the environment, and get recognition for their progress. iiE is an accessible and proven route to help organisations get started on their sustainability journey and keep going.

Alongside its own actions, the Council is encouraging communities to go green with a number of initiatives taking place this year which are designed to increase biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions.

They range from providing grants to help local groups or parish councils set aside space for nature in our towns and villages, to a community challenge which will see residents encouraged to install one bird or bat box for every home in the district – that’s nearly 40,000!

Other projects include planting 75 oak trees across the district to help celebrate King Charles III’s 75th birthday and Coronation earlier this year. And in the summer we will be asking residents to help choose one local animal species – such as hedgehogs or bees – they would like the Council to focus on caring for and hopefully, with your help, increase their numbers across the district.

The Council first declared a climate emergency in 2019 and since then has been looking at innovative ways to create a cleaner, greener East Cambridgeshire.

Details of how the Council has performed to date and how it plans to meet the new target are outlined in its latest Environment Plan which went before district councillors for final approval at the Operational Services Committee on 19 June.

Cllr Anna Bailey, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council has written the foreword for the plan. In it she says:

“Last year the UK baked at over 40C for the first time ever on 19 July 2022, as climate change became ‘real’ to all of us. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel anxious about all these issues, and worry that there is simply nothing you can do about it. It would also be easy for a small local district council like us to simply say these issues are all too difficult and there’s very little we can do about it. But I disagree. I see the positive action in our communities, from residents welcoming fleeing Ukrainian families into their homes, volunteers helping out at warm hubs, and community groups taking real action to help mitigate climate change and boost local biodiversity. Big or small, every such action makes a huge difference. The Council is tackling many of those issues. But taking climate change seriously and boosting local biodiversity is what this Environment Plan is all about.”

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