Chris Holloway (on behalf of WinACC) and Councillor Wallace addressed the Committee.
In summary, Chris Holloway made reference to the following points:
· Congratulated the council on setting 2030 as a target and for commissioning the WSP report to provide an overview and stated WinACC were in full support of the report recommendations
· WinACC expressed concern that aspects within the report appeared to fail to meet the 2030 target.
· Welcomed the top priority given to using solar power and generating more renewable energy, although considered 50mw peak to be too low.
· Considered that focussing entirely on electric vehicle charging should be investigated further and explored along with other measures.
· Renewable energy heating measures in home was important and suggested that the good ideas set out in the Local Plan in relation to letting standards for new homes should be linked.
· Urged the council to continue to be more ambitious than the WSP report suggested by continuing its progress towards achieving the 2030 target
In summary, Councillor Wallace made reference to the documentary ‘The Letter: A Message For Our Earth’ which set out an unprecedented call to action for climate change and highlighted the severe and significant impact that it was already having on the world which he encouraged the committee to watch.
Councillor Learney introduced the report which outlined the scale of the challenges facing the district and the need to go greener faster to enable the district to play its part in preventing the catastrophic effects of global warming currently predicted. The report set out the actions needed to make the biggest difference by recommending priorities and the contribution from many others that was essential. The report was an overview to be used as an evidence base to update the Carbon Neutrality Action Plan (CNAP), among other documents, to accelerate the council’s progress towards achieving net zero.
The Sustainability Officer gave a detailed presentation which provided an update on the Carbon Neutrality Roadmap and set out the context, the objectives of the roadmap, the project outputs, the key findings of the consultants and the next steps to be taken, including extensive consultation and engagement with stakeholders.
The committee proceeded to ask questions on the following matters which were responded to by the Cabinet Member, the Corporate Head of Economy and Community and the Sustainability Officer:
(i) Easy wins in the short term for additional emissions that need to be removed i.e. decarbonisation of private cars, increases in the use of electric vehicles (EV) and number of EV charging points – It was noted that there was a plan to increase EV charging points in focussed areas where higher EV usage was indicated.
(ii) Working with the commercial businesses and industries
(iii) Modelling figures – revisions to include the rising costs of energy prices
(iv) Housing Association involvement in the process as stakeholders
(v) Land management and land ownership – the involvement of landholders as stakeholders
(vi) Increases in the tree planting programme
(vii) Electric heating and green hydrogen use
(viii) Carbon Offsetting
(ix) Waste collection and the implications of the Waste Management Strategy
(x) Low traffic neighbourhoods
(xi) Fabric first approach
(xii) The diversity of energy generation
(xiii) Retrofit programme
During debate, the committee thanked officers for the work carried out on the development of the roadmap to date and for the informative presentation received.
1. That the report and presentation be received and the comments raised by the committee, as summarised above, be noted; and
2. That the adoption of the Carbon Neutrality Roadmap as the evidence base from which to develop future council strategy, be supported.