Swindon Borough Council has committed to going carbon neutral by 2030 as councillors step up the fight against climate change.
At a meeting of the Full Council last night (23 Jan), members unanimously agreed a motion committing the Council to reduce its corporate carbon emissions, with the aim of making the Council’s estate and activities carbon neutral by the end of the decade.
Members voted to ensure the Council’s strategic decisions, budgets and approaches to planning decisions are in line with a shift to zero carbon by 2030.
By taking a lead in the climate change movement, it is hoped that the Council can inspire local businesses, residents and other organisations to take a similar approach.
In a show of widespread unity, the motion was supported by the Council’s Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Groups.
Councillor Garry Sumner, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “I am extremely pleased that this important motion, which demonstrates our commitment to protecting the environment, was passed unanimously by all members last night.
“Climate change is, justifiably, right at the top of the political agenda at the moment, and this Council recognises how important it is for everybody to do their bit for the benefit of present and future generations.
“We sincerely hope that this significant vote will inspire other businesses and organisations to work towards full carbon neutrality. We all have a long way to go but the will and commitment is there and the target has been set.”
The commitment to going carbon neutral by 2030 follows a number of actions the Council has taken in recent months to play its part in protecting the environment.
A special Climate Change Working Group was established last year and quickly began thinking of actions. New parking standards in Planning will require every new house built in the borough to include charging points for electric vehicles; further investments in solar energy have been made; the Council has bought electric vehicles for its corporate fleet; installed electric vehicle charging points on the Civic campus; is investing in LED street lighting to save energy and has introduced a food waste trial to ensure that discarded food is properly disposed of.
Important links with organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have been forged with plans to increase tree cover across the borough over the next decade.
There is more to do and work has already started on assessing available options, but a carbon neutral Council will be a reality by 2030.