CAMBRIDGE City Council has launched public consultation and engagement to inform its new Climate Change Strategy for the next five years. As part of the consultation the council is seeking residents’ views on how carbon emissions from Cambridge can be reduced and how the city can reach net zero emissions.
Residents can contribute their views to the consultation by attending one of five online workshops that the council is holding during November, or through responding to a consultation survey available on the council’s website.
At a meeting of its Environment and Community Committee on 1 October, councillors approved a framework for the council’s new Climate Change Strategy, which will form the basis of public consultation.
The framework recognises that the council will provide local leadership by:
- Continuing to reduce carbon emissions in the areas where it has direct control, including its own buildings, vehicles and services, and through criteria for procurement and grants. The council has invested over £1.8m in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in its buildings, which have contributed to a 25% reduction in the council’s carbon emissions from 2014/15 to 2018/19. In June 2020, the council also committed to always purchase ultra-low emissions when replacing existing council vehicles.
- Making energy efficiency improvements to council homes and commercial properties, and building new council homes to ambitious environmental standards. Over the next three years the council is investing £2.5 million to improve the energy efficiency of the lowest-rated existing council homes, and is developing an interim Sustainable Housing Design Guide to set high standards for new council homes.
- Using its policy and regulatory powers to secure improvements, as far as national policy and guidance allows. For example, the council’s Local Plan sets environmental standards for new homes and buildings that are significantly higher than national building regulations. It has also introduced regulations requiring all licensed taxis in Cambridge to be zero or ultra-low emission by 2028, which has contributed to an increase in the number of electric taxis licensed in Cambridge from 2 to 35 over the past three years, with a further 66 hybrid taxis currently licensed in the city
However, as the council is only directly responsible for 1.1% of carbon emissions in Cambridge, the draft framework recognises that everyone in the city and key bodies beyond, including the Government, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), Cambridgeshire County Council, businesses, other organisations, and local residents all need to play their part. As part of its new strategy, the council will aim to work collaboratively with all these groups to reduce carbon emissions.
In declaring a Climate Emergency in February 2019, the council also called on Government to make the investment and changes needed for Cambridge and the UK to reach net zero carbon. This includes continued investment in decarbonising the national energy grid, more significant funding for local areas to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, and greater planning powers for councils to set high environmental standards for new homes and buildings in their area.
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “I really encourage residents in Cambridge to take part in the workshops and respond to the consultation. We really want to hear your views on the changes needed for Cambridge to become a net zero carbon city.”
“The council has already taken significant steps to reduce carbon emissions in Cambridge; through investing in our own buildings, vehicles and homes, by setting the highest standards legally possible for new homes and buildings in the city, and by taking steps to promote a shift to cycling, walking and low emission vehicles. But to achieve the government's own target for Cambridge (and the country) to reach net zero carbon, we desperately need new up-to-date legislation, alongside significant long-term Government investment plus a strategy to provide the skills and infrastructure that will be needed for a new green economy. On top of this we will need a real collective effort by everyone in Cambridge to save energy, reduce emissions, and fight climate change.
“To see how you and your families can start to make a difference, why not calculate your carbon footprint and find some very practical ways to reduce it, through the Cambridge Climate Charter.”