Council announces plans to address climate emergency

Climate ChangeThe Council has set out its plans to help save the planet.

On Monday, the city’s Cabinet and then Full Council meetings heard and agreed two plans designed to make Plymouth carbon neutral by 2030.

The new documents follow on from the declaration of a climate emergency in March 2019 when the city committed to doing everything in its power to reduce carbon emissions locally and influence climate change efforts nationally.

In addition to endorsing the plans, Councillors also approved an early review of the Plymouth Plan. This will mean revisiting our plans for how our city will grow.

The review will look at all aspects of our growth plans to ensure we can meet our aim of carbon neutrality by 2030 in a manner that leaves no one behind and allows the city to thrive. It is an opportunity to take a long hard look at how we live, travel, build and power our city more sustainably in the long term.

Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet member for Street Scene and the Environment, said: “I am full of both hope and optimism that these plans will help us achieve our ambitious target for carbon neutrality.

“Climate change is real and we have to act, that’s why I’m delighted to received unanimous support from colleagues across the chamber.

“The time for talking is over. In these plans, we will make things happen.”

The first new plan centres on the Council and what it can do within its own operations and remit to make an immediate impact.

The Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan includes the replacement of fossil fuel powered vehicles with electric alternatives, reviewing street lighting and focussing on emissions and waste from Council buildings. It will also fundamentally change how the Council makes decisions and operates by requiring every new project or policy to demonstrate how it has reduced environmental impacts and supports the carbon neutral 2030 target.

The Council has a social and moral responsibility to take positive action and provide strong leadership on averting the dangerous effects of climate change and by getting its own house in order, it will lead by example in Plymouth and the surrounding area.

Councillor Mark Lowry, Cabinet member for Finance, is responsible for delivering this part of the plan. Mark said: “Today is the first day in an 11 year journey to carbon neutrality.

“It is going to be tough because we don’t even yet have all the answers we need to reach our 2030 target. But the important thing in responding to the climate emergency is that we are doing credible things to reduce our emissions whilst we work out how to do things differently and continue to lobby government for changes that will allow us to be successful.”

The Climate Emergency Action Plan concerns the rest of the city and how everyone can be part of the change needed to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. As one of the lead organisations in Plymouth, the Council can encourage and inspire others and lobby government for new powers and resources but we can’t achieve the 2030 without the whole City supporting this agenda.

It sets out the city-wide strategic approach and response to the declaration of the climate emergency and how partners can help contribute to wider cause.

Specific strategies include producing sector-by-sector greenhouse gas projections, investing in energy efficient schemes and bidding for funding specifically designed for green-centred transport schemes.

Councillor Dann added: “Whilst we have made these plans, we can’t do it alone. We need help. We need residents, we need businesses, we need schools and universities and hospitals to all come together to help us make Plymouth carbon neutral by 2030.

“But together, with the support of the city, we can and we must achieve our goals.”

You can download a copy of the Plymouth Climate Action Plan here.