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Cambridge City Council declares climate emergency

News release from 22/02/2019

CAMBRIDGE City Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’ and called on government, industry and regulators to implement the necessary changes to enable Cambridge and the rest of the UK to reach net zero carbon by 2030.

The council made the declaration at last night’s Full Council meeting (Thursday 21 February), following the submission of a petition signed by over 2,000 local residents.

The council called on the Government to make available the funding and policies needed to tackle the climate emergency, including:

  • Investment in the necessary infrastructure at the national level for clean, efficient renewable energy to end CO2 emissions from the generation of heat and electricity;
  • Funding for energy efficiency measures for homes;
  • Investment in energy efficient public transport across the country;
  • Taking action to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible to people and businesses.

At last night’s meeting, the council reaffirmed its commitment to reducing carbon emissions from the council’s buildings and services through developing and investing in carbon reduction projects, as outlined in its Carbon Management Plan for 2016-2021 [PDF, ].

By implementing a range of projects, including installing solar PV panels and LED lighting across a number of leisure centres, car parks and office buildings, the council has already reduced its carbon emissions by its target of 15% and is on track to achieve its aspiration to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by March 2021.

At Thursday’s meeting, the council also agreed to establish a Cambridge Climate Charter, which will call on all organisations, businesses and individuals in the city to each establish their own carbon reduction plans to work towards achieving the city’s net carbon-zero aspiration.

The council will also continue to support residents and businesses in Cambridge to reduce their carbon emissions by implementing a range of measures set out in its existing Climate Change Strategy for 2016-2021, including:

  • Installing more than 20 rapid electric chargers for taxis in Cambridge by 2020 and making changes to taxi licensing regulations to encourage a shift from diesel vehicles to low or zero-emission alternatives;
  • Working with partners in the Greater Cambridge Partnership to promote use of sustainable transport through investment in cycleways and better bus transport;
  • Ensuring that the high energy efficiency and sustainability standards set out in the council’s Sustainable Housing Design Guide are met in new council housing developments where viable;
  • Collecting a wide range of recyclable materials from residential and commercial premises.

Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre, said: “We welcome the petition we have received and thank the over 2,000 Cambridge residents who signed it, calling on us to declare a climate emergency.

We are proud that hundreds of local children and young people also marched through Cambridge last Friday as part of ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’ calling for urgent action to protect the environment from destruction and to halt climate change.”

“We will continue to invest in projects which will significantly reduce carbon emissions from council buildings and services, and to use the powers and funding available to us to help local residents and business to reduce their carbon footprint.

“But real progress towards net zero carbon can only come from major changes in the way that energy is generated, distributed and used at the national level. So we call upon the Government to give us greater powers and to provide the national policies and the investment in renewable energy sources, home energy efficiency, public transport and low-emission vehicles needed to reach net zero carbon by 2030.”