It is 10 years since the Climate Change Act, which commits the UK to an 80 per cent reduction in its carbon emissions by 2050.
To celebrate this, Plymouth is renewing its pledge to not only be a carbon neutral city by 2050 but to halve emissions by 2034.
Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet member for the environment said: “We have had some scary warnings – only last month the UN’s panel on Climate Change warned we have only 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees, beyond that will significantly increase the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
“That’s about as stark a warning as it gets and we have a duty to act. We all need to play a part to reduce the impact we have on our environment. As a council, we are going further and have a lot of projects that are helping to make a difference not just to climate change, but to people’s pockets.”
Some of the things we have done so far
- 500 homes are now more energy-efficient with LED lights, draught excluders, hot water cylinder jackets, heating controls and energy monitors
- We have already saved 4,532 tonnes of CO2
- 7,000 lightbulbs installed
- £283 – is how much the average family is better off by thanks to Plymouth Energy Community advisors who helped switch energy suppliers or check for benefits or grants
At work and school
- We’ve carried out exploratory drilling in the city centre to see if hot rock could help heat offices and regeneration projects, reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
- More than 30 schools and community buildings have solar installations, saving them £80,000 last year
- In last two years 10 schools and community buildings, including Mount Edgecumbe had over £200,000 LED lighting installed saving over £42,000 from their energy bills – this is ongoing
- Solar PV arrays installed on Midland House, the Council House and Western Approach car park
- The Council has six electric cars in its fleet
- We’ve launched our Plan for Plastics – a city-wide commitment to cut single use plastics by 2020 to stop polluting the oceans with items such as tea stirrers, straws, plastic bags and water bottles.
On the road
- Our Plymotion team encourage people to try cleaner, cheaper and healthier travel. They are making a difference – cycling has increased by 56 per cent in seven years
- We’ve invested in more bus lanes and cycle routes so people can leave their cars at home.
- We helped install 24 electric charge points, including 12 in public car parks and other locations such as Derriford Hospital, Mount Gould Hospital, Cumberland and Thornberry Centres and City College Plymouth – all for public use.
The Council has many more plans in the pipeline including expanding levels of renewable energy, making another 500 homes more energy efficient, 200 more homes to get new heating through our Warm Homes Fund and drive a step change in the use of low carbon transport.
All Council’s buildings will go single-use plastic free by September 2019 and all events on Council land will be need to demonstrate how single-use plastic will be eliminated, replaced by alternatives, or at least, reduced to an absolute minimum.
More electric charging points are on the cars with a charge point at the Plymouth Rd Lidl store and one at the new retail park at Marsh Mills secured as part of planning permissions.
New industrial units are also being built to a more environmentally friendly specification
What can you do? Small changes can make a big difference
- Is your home as energy efficient as it could be? If you live in Devonport, Ham or St Budeaux, you could qualify for these plymouthenergycommunity.com/help/freevisits
- Reduce, reuse, recycle wherever possible. Here in Plymouth most hard plastic items – such as milk bottles, plastic food punnets, and a lot of plastic packaging – can be recycled. plymouth.gov.uk/binsrecyclingandwaste/whatgoeseachbin
- Does your office have recycling facilities? If not, ask your business to get organised. Recycling is everyone’s job
- Has your organisation or business signed up to Plymouth’s Plan for Plastics? Visit plymouth.gov.uk/plastics
- Have coffee every morning? Buy a re-useable You can buy them in various shops or here One Plymouth website.
On the road
- Walk or cycle where possible – if you are out of practice get in touch with Plymotion they can help get you back in the saddle.
- Go by bus!
Get engaged – talk to your councillor and MP! Laws and policies can change how people behave.