Cherwell launches zero carbon action plan

Reaching zero carbon by 2030 is a key aim of Cherwell District Council’s coronavirus recovery, says a new climate action plan.

Published: Friday, 9th October 2020

A meeting of the council’s executive on Monday 5 October approved the 2020 Climate Action Framework, which describes how the authority will transform the way it works in order to “systematically drive lower-carbon outcomes”.

Cherwell’s own emissions account for less than half a per cent of the total emissions of the district. Recognising this, the council will not only drive its own carbon footprint down, it is also committing to use its local influence to help reduce emissions across the district as a whole.

Among the council’s immediate goals are: ensuring green power for its offices and other buildings; continuing to replace fossil fuelled vehicles with electric ones where possible; and introducing rigorous energy management processes. To cut transport emissions, staff will be encouraged to continue to work remotely and supported in switching to electric vehicles.

Longer-term aspirations, which Cherwell aims to deliver by 2030, include low carbon replacements for the waste collection trucks. These currently only exist as prototypes and are not yet suitable for UK roads. If they develop as hoped, it will allow the council to address the source of around a quarter of its emissions.

Cllr Dan Sames, Cherwell’s lead member for clean and green, said: “This council has always placed a high importance on tackling climate change. This framework represents a clear message that we need to take even more action to limit the global rise in temperature to below 1.5 degrees centigrade in order to avoid the catastrophic effects of a further temperature increase.

“As a local authority we have a responsibility to lead by both example and influence to not only cut our own emissions but inspire others to take positive action to do the same.

“The approval of this action plan reaffirms our commitment to address the climate emergency and make changes across the board in the way we work.”

The council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019, committing it to ensure its own operations and activities are zero carbon by 2030. The declaration also laid out the goal - with the support of residents, businesses and other organisations - of achieving net zero for the wider district by 2030.

Cherwell will continue to work closely with Oxfordshire County Council to deliver both councils’ climate action commitments. Behind the scenes, a new team of specialist officers is working to integrate climate action into both authorities’ everyday business operations.

Carbon reductions will be paid for by repurposing existing monies; making use of existing external funding streams; and by waiting for new technologies to become available and affordable over the next decade.

View the Climate Action Framework online here [PDF].