Council making progress to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change

News release from 9 October 2017, 9:50am

AN ANNUAL report has outlined the work Cambridge City Council has been doing to help the city respond to climate change including by reducing carbon emissions from its buildings and operations, and among residents, businesses and visitors.

In total, projects completed during 2016-17 and those scheduled for completion in 2017-18 are expected to reduce the council’s CO2 emissions by 658 tonnes per year.

The report sets out the progress the council has made against its five objectives through its Climate Change Strategy 2016-21, including:

  • Assisting residents to reduce their domestic carbon emissions through schemes such as the Action On Energy scheme to fit solid wall insulation in homes;
  • Working to reduce emissions from transport including by collaborating with partners on cycling improvements, securing funding to install electric charging points for taxis and offering incentives for taxi drivers to drive low-emission vehicles;
  • Reducing consumption of resources and increasing recycling by supporting the Cambridge Sustainable Food Network, increasing the number of allotments available for residents and promoting the council’s food waste collection service to food businesses;
  • Supporting the council, residents and businesses to adapt to the impacts of climate change by working with developers to provide sustainable drainage systems in housing developments, collaborating with partners on flood risk management, and developing a tree strategy.

The council has also worked to reduce emissions from council buildings and services through its Carbon Management Plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions from the council by at least 15% from 2014-15 levels by March 2021.

As reported in the council’s recent Greenhouse Gas Report, the council’s emissions have reduced by 10% from 2014-15 to 2016-17.

Among the completed projects which are contributing to reducing the council’s carbon emissions are:

  • Installing low energy LED lighting and motion sensors in Grand Arcade and Grafton East car parks;
  • Upgrading the solar thermal system to provide more hot water at Abbey Leisure Complex, and installing a more energy-efficient air circulation system there;
  • Improving insulation at the city crematorium offices;
  • Replacing seven diesel vehicles in the council fleet with electric vans.

The report outlines that work will be carried out in the coming year to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency and save money at the Guildhall, and highlights other potential projects to be investigated further this year. It also shows that in the ten years from 2005-15, carbon emissions per capita in Cambridge have reduced from 6.7 to 4.2 tonnes per person – a reduction of 29%.

Among the other steps taken in the last year was convening a City Leaders Climate Change meeting in July, at which local councils, businesses, universities and voluntary groups shared information about action already being taken to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, and to discuss additional activities that could take place.

Cllr Richard Robertson, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “Work to reduce carbon emissions and lessen the effects of climate change is one of the most important tasks facing the council, the city and the whole planet in the coming years.

“This report shows that we are on course to reduce our own carbon emissions by up to 20% by 2021, which will be an important milestone on the path towards making Cambridge a ‘zero carbon’ city by 2050, which we aspire to help achieve.”