CAMBRIDGE is set to move closer to its goal of being a zero net carbon city in the coming years with the introduction of a host of new measures to reduce emissions and increase biodiversity.
In its recently published Budget Setting Report for 2021-22, Cambridge City Council announced a series of proposals to lead the city’s work tackling climate change, following on from its declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019.
Among the key proposals is the creation of a ring-fenced ‘green investment’ reserve from existing council funds, which will be invested in a variety of energy efficiency and energy generating projects. The reserve will also be used to explore the potential for new large-scale investment renewable energy to add to existing solar power schemes at eleven council locations including the Guildhall and the city’s swimming pools, which has helped the council cut its own emissions by 25% since 2015.
Other green proposals in the Budget Setting Report include:
- Continuing the council’s transition away from fossil-fuelled vehicles to renewable fuels for waste vehicles and other vehicles;
- Committing to spend over £300k on new carbon reduction measures at council-owned swimming pools;
- Installing additional electric vehicle charging points in council owned public car parks and working with the county council to develop on-street charging points;
- Starting detailed planning to ‘retro-fit’ council homes to make them more energy efficient;
- Proceeding with plans (deferred by the pandemic) to double the number of wildflower meadows in parks and open spaces, and plant 2,000 new trees in the next three years;
- Ensuring streets and open spaces are managed with both wildlife and people as priorities, and ensuring biodiversity is taken into account in all development;
- Funding for an additional Climate Change Officer role.
The proposals will support implementation of the council’s Climate Change Strategy which is currently being revised. They will also help the council meet its objectives in the Cambridge Air Quality Action Plan 2018-22.
Cllr Mike Davey, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “This really is a green budget for Cambridge – the proposals outlined in it will build significantly on the work that the council has been doing over recent years to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, added: “The council has been successful in reducing our own carbon emissions over the last few years whilst maintaining services to residents. This new budget will enable us to continue with this vital work to reduce them further and to work with our partners around the city to reduce the emissions of Cambridge as a whole.
“We need everyone to get involved, so we call on all Cambridge residents, businesses and organisations to consider what more they can do to address the biggest threat facing us all. One way anyone can start is by signing up to the Cambridge Climate Change Charter – which gives people an array of simple but significant ideas for reducing consumption and emissions.”
The full detail of the General Fund Budget Setting Report will be considered by Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee on Monday 8 February and by full Council on Thursday 25 February.