Barnsley Council declares climate emergency and plans to go zero carbon

Barnsley Council cabinet members will be asked at their next meeting on Wednesday 18 September to declare a climate emergency. They will be asked to confirm the council’s existing commitment to be zero carbon by 2040 with an aspiration to achieve this by 2035. Cabinet will also be asked to agree on a strategy for the borough to achieve zero carbon by 2045 working with partners, businesses and communities. If recommended this agenda will proceed to Full Council on Thursday 26 September.

The council’s 2015-2025 Energy Strategy already commits the council to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2040. Declaring a climate emergency will make sure all future strategic policy decisions, budgets and projects support this. The declaration will be supported by two strategies, for the council’s and borough’s carbon emissions and Barnsley Council will seek to reduce emissions to zero by 2035 if at all possible.

The strategy for Barnsley Council, called Zero40, will be delivered through four five-year action plans from 2020 to 2040. These will each have five key themes to help the council achieve zero carbon emissions by 2040. Carbon reduction will also become a key corporate performance indicator for the council.

The council is already reducing the level of carbon it emits via a number of existing and planned programmes. Existing projects include:
• Replacement of the Metrodome leisure centre coal-fired boilers to improve local air quality and reduce CO2 emissions
• Affordable warmth programmes supporting residents to live in warmer homes that are more affordable to heat
• Updating the heating and ventilation to Barnsley Council corporate buildings and installing Solar PV to rooftops
• Deployment of renewable technologies to Berneslai Homes properties which includes the use of battery technology
• The design and build-out of Solar PV and thermal into the Glassworks
• An ongoing programme for the conversion of existing streetlights to LEDs
• A programme to install electric vehicle charging in public car parks
• Replacement, on a phased basis, of the council’s car and van fleet with electric vehicles

A critical element of both the Zero40 and Zero45 strategy will be to increase the number of trees across the borough. The Government-sponsored Trees 2020 initiative will play a role in these plans, alongside Barnsley’s local communities, to help increase existing tree planting projects. Altogether this will result in an additional 10,000 trees being planted across the borough during the first five years of Zero40 (2020-2025).

Through the Zero45 strategy, the council will coordinate Barnsley’s transition to zero carbon by 2045. A new group formed of stakeholders from the borough will be created to monitor the progress of this work.

Cllr Chris Lamb, Cabinet Spokesperson for Environment and Transport, said: “Climate change is something that threatens to seriously impact much of the world if we don’t take steps to combat it. There is growing public awareness and widespread concern on the impact of climate change and declaring a climate emergency brings these issues to the forefront of everyone’s attention. Our declaration is not just an empty gesture; we have taken time and worked hard to make sure we underpin this statement with action. Examples of this can be seen through current work, including our affordable warmth programmes and ongoing conversion of existing streetlights to our planned action through Zero40 and Zero45. These programmes will help us to achieve zero carbon and make sure that Barnsley is doing its bit in reducing the impact of carbon emissions.

“Although our plans state Zero40 and Zero45, we will be striving to achieve these goals earlier than the proposed dates. We want to protect Barnsley for future generations, making sure that people are safe from harm. Improving our climate and reducing carbon emissions is a key part of this and we want to make sure our commitments are supported by robust action plans.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in October 2018 that global warming needs to be limited to 1.5°c. In June 2019, the UK Government set down primary legislation for the UK to be net-zero carbon by 2050.

The full cabinet report can be read here.

This news is linked to Town Spirit, our new way of working better together. We believe, that if everyone in Barnsley does just one thing, we can make our borough a more welcoming place to live, work, invest and visit.

We're committed to #ProtectIt by making it easier for you to dispose of large items, recycle, make your home more energy-efficient and prepare for flooding. #OwnIt by making some small changes, such as walking and cycling more, using your car less and recycling.

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