Environment and Climate Change Taskforce
West Suffolk Council declared a climate change emergency and one of the first acts of the new Cabinet was to set up a taskforce to strengthen and move further forward the ground-breaking work the authority is already doing. The work of that taskforce has produced a road map of around 50 initiatives, agreed by the Cabinet, to build on the already successful work we have been leading on to tackle climate change and reduce greenhouse gases.
This included an ambition of reaching net zero greenhouse gas (carbon) emissions by 2030 in recognition of the importance of tackling the emergency more urgently.
The task force looked at a range of actions and opportunities across the themes to meet the target for greenhouse gas reduction, improving air quality, environment and biodiversity. These range from initiatives the council can do such as reducing fossil fuel use for its tools, buildings and vehicles, reducing single use plastic and creating more green spaces and encouraging transport options. It also looks at how the council can engage with the wider community and partners to encourage people to do their bit to reduce their impact on climate change as well as protect the environment, including biodiversity.
The themes and measures include:
- travel and transport – for example moving to alternative fuels, route optimisation for waste vehicles and installing more EV charging points
- use of renewables – increasing council’s investment in renewables and continuing to support businesses to install solar on their premises
- housing (including planning) - for example identify rented properties that fail Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and ensuring properties are brought up to standard as well as using the local plan process to improve the environmental performance of new homes
- green spaces and biodiversity - for example develop a West Suffolk Wide Green Infrastructure Strategy (GIS) which will include identification of opportunities for restoration, biodiversity net gain and ecosystem services. Review the maintenance regimes of grass areas owned by the council in order to increase biodiversity
- waste and recycling – continue to work to reduce waste, increase recycling and address litter.
Working with the community on these initiatives will be hugely important so a range of activities are proposed including creating a Greener Homes forum and continuing to work with partners and community groups to improve air quality.
A list of the longer term initiatives and the taskforce’s findings can be found at: CAB/WS/20/045 - West Suffolk Environment and Climate Change Taskforce - Final Report