The report and 2030 road map produced by environmental specialists DCA (De Courcy Alexander) makes a number of recommendations that are designed to begin the process of tackling climate change at a local level. This includes a proposed letter to the Secretary of State, setting out the council’s ambition to take action, with a request to government to provide the powers and resources to local government to help make the 2030 target feasible.
A number of major partnership initiatives are set out in the report, including the promotion of a zero carbon future. This will mean:
- developing renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, on suitable sites in the borough
- promoting carbon zero housing developments and support for low income households to reduce their energy costs
- looking to secure a ‘net carbon positive’ council headquarters
- ensuring all the council’s policies and actions align with the carbon neutral target
- procuring 100% renewable electricity at all council-run sites
- seeking to develop a zero carbon sports and leisure experience
- upgrading the crematorium to a zero carbon operation
- installing solar powered storage and charging infrastructure in council-owned car parks
- moving the base of council vehicle fleet operations to a ‘net carbon positive’ depot
- rolling out a zero emission fleet
- planting one million new trees.
When approved, Cheltenham will be the first council in the county to have an indicative ‘roadmap’ for 2030 that will help to maximise the council’s ability to achieve the 2030 target.
Residents, communities, businesses and partners will all have a vital role to play and the report considers ways to ensure that the council engages effectively with stakeholders on this critical policy issue.
Cllr Alex Hegenbarth, cabinet member for corporate services, said: “It’s vital that we all work together to ensure that we’re doing everything in our power to help tackle climate change, reduce carbon emissions and work towards becoming carbon neutral at a local level, showing by our actions what is possible for others.”
Cllr Chris Coleman, cabinet member for clean and green environment, continues: “This is very welcome news and a huge step forward. Our residents, communities, businesses and partners have a vital role to play and we will look to work in close partnership with them to share resources and best practice as we seek to deliver on this challenging agenda, which is of critical importance to the future of life on our planet.
“We are also seeking expert advice on how future initiatives and projects can best be supported, to ensure that every opportunity is taken to reduce the carbon footprint of both the council and the borough as a whole.”
Simon Graham, head of innovation at DCA, says: “By declaring a climate emergency and having a clear road-map, the council has demonstrated the will for Cheltenham to be a leader on this global issue.
“I have seen at first-hand how successful a local carbon neutral programme can be and by working with colleagues, councillors, council officers, collaboration partners and the wider community, we can put these recommended actions into effect.”