Protecting our environment

Councillor John Griffiths charging an electric car  Message from Councillor John Griffiths, Leader of West Suffolk Council

“One of the first initiatives I set up when West Suffolk Council was formed was to set up a taskforce to look into what more we can do with regard to climate change. We already have a strong track record on reducing our impact on the climate which has seen real and positive results and made us a national leader in areas such as energy from solar; and even during COVID-19 lockdown we carried on with initiatives such as planting another 1,000 trees. But more can always be done, and this green roadmap will build further on our work in West Suffolk with a number of measures and initiatives to further tackle climate change and protect our environment. Specifically, it will help us in our aim of reaching net zero greenhouse gas (carbon) emissions by 2030 and underline the importance of tackling the emergency more urgently.”

Tackling climate change while protecting and improving our environment is a priority for West Suffolk Council

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. For the full findings of the taskforce visit Environment and Climate Change Taskforce

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 move to a 2030 target is a major change from the previous aim the council had previously committed to which was a 75% reduction by 2050 and shows the ambitions of the authority. Also included were measures to bring in a carbon budgeting approach to support the net zero ambition.

Cabinet also agreed to add an environmental emergency to the already existing climate change emergency.

This page gives links and information on what we are doing as a council as well as schemes available for communities or businesses to be involved in.

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

Our track record

We have a good track record of reducing our impact on climate change and has been monitoring this since 2010.

West Suffolk Council Environmental Statement infographic, summarising our track record of reducing our impact on climate change.

This year 2019-2020 we planted 1,500 trees and plants (1,000 of those since Christmas). Since 2010, Greenhouse Gas Emissions have fallen by 30 per cent and the council now recycles 54 per cent of its office waste. The council owns one of the largest local authority solar farms in the UK, a 12.4MW facility delivering energy to the National Grid. In May 2020 it produced 2007MWh of electricity –the equivalent of powering 600 homes for an entire year. In addition, it works with businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and use renewable energy which is also installed on council offices. We are providing new on-street and off-street electric vehicle points and rapid charging points to encourage alternative greener forms of travel.

In addition, five of the council’s parks have achieved national Green Flag status awards and the council continues to generate renewable energy – power and heat – at many of its sites. At Nowton Park in March, the council has procured electrical equipment to replace petrol driven items that had reached the end of their useful life. The new equipment is lighter to haul and quieter. We also have looked at our own buildings and practices. Many of our buildings have solar panels and environmentally friendly measures such as reusing rainwater. Our buildings have generated enough renewable energy to supply 142 homes. Mileage has reduced by 34 per cent since 2010 and water consumption is down 13 per cent since 2010.

The authority is also reducing the amount it cuts on verges and increasing the use of plants that help pollinators, so important as we seek to improve biodiversity across West Suffolk.

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