Protecting our environment
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.
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.
- One hundred per cent renewable electricity for West Suffolk Council - press release 29 September 2020
- Industrial estate rapid charger supports greener businesses - press release 29 September 2020
- Residents plug into lampposts to charge their car - press release 7 September 2020
- West Suffolk Council supports communities to clean up as part of country’s biggest mass-action environmental campaign - press release 2 September 2020
- Cabinet gives green light to environmental improvements - press release 24 July 2020
- New Rapid charger is part of council's bid to keep air pollution down Residents and visitors to Newmarket can now recharge their electric vehicles (EVs) in as little as half an hour, supporting both the environment and our health - press release 16 July 2020
- Scheme benefits the environment, business and public services - Animax based at Shepherds Grove Industrial Estate near Stanton, has signed up to the West Suffolk Council Solar for Business scheme - press release 15 July 2020
- Wildflower labyrinth will add to beauty and biodiversity at abbey ruins - A wildflower labyrinth has been planted in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, to attract bees, butterflies and encourage greater biodiversity. - press release 15 July 2020
- Climate Change Partnership - fact sheets
- Environment and Climate Change Taskforce
- Business energy efficiency Improving the energy efficiency of your business will save you money and help manage environmental impacts.
- Community energy planning Information on energy and ideas about the future of heating and power in West Suffolk
- Electric vehicles
- Home energy efficiency Being energy efficient can save you money and help the environment.
- Solar farm