Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP) recommended to Cabinet

Cabinet will be asked to approve a new Sustainable Energy Action Plan at their meeting next Wednesday 7 October as Barnsley Council formalises its commitments to take further action on climate change.

Barnsley Council declared a climate emergency in September 2019 and set out its aims to achieve net-zero carbon within the council by 2040, and across the borough by 2045.

These commitments are the backbone of our Zero Carbon work and the SEAP which will be presented for the approval of Cabinet at their next meeting on Wednesday 7 October.

Achievements we’ve already made include converting more than 90 per cent of Barnsley’s street lighting to low energy LED lamps, a recent pledge to plant 10,000 more trees across the borough, and the replacement of vehicles in the council’s fleet with ultra low emission vehicles.

The SEAP affirms our commitment to embed a carbon reduction culture across our organisation.

Achieving net zero carbon means reducing carbon emissions to as close to zero as possible, and offsetting any carbon which remains through carbon capture programmes such as tree planting. The result is that the operations of the council, and the borough, result in no overall impact on carbon emissions.  

In order to achieve the targets it is important to make rapid reductions in emissions in the very short term. The SEAP, which covers the first five-year period in the process from 2020 to 2025, includes two main aims:

  • a 65 per cent reduction in carbon emissions across the borough by 2025 based on 2017 figures
  • a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions within the council by 2025 based on 2019 figures

Our overarching aims are to positively engage, cutting carbon and improving people’s lives; to create a fairer society; create more and better jobs, improve the local economy; improve air quality; provide more active modes of travel; reduce our consumption and dependency on energy; improve the quality of the homes we live in; provide improved green spaces and ensure greater health equality.

The SEAP sets five themes for actions which will help achieve these goals:

  • Energy efficiency: reducing the demand for energy
  • Renewable energy: generating our energy from renewable sources
  • Sustainable transport: moving to fossil-fuel-free local travel, supporting and encouraging walking and cycling
  • Decentralised Heating: looking for alternative ways to heat our homes and offices
  • Resource Efficiency: minimising waste and developing new uses for waste products

Cabinet will also be asked to approve a recommendation to appoint one or more organisations to support with developing a specialist engagement framework and a ‘road map’ to show how we achieve net zero carbon and to develop a framework to measure performance. They will also be asked to agree a proposed governance structure and agree that the council demonstrates civic leadership in order to increase carbon awareness.

Cllr Chris Lamb, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Environment and Transportation) said: “I’ll be asking Cabinet colleagues to approve our draft Sustainable Energy Action Plan, as well as approve a process of consultation with our communities and the development of a clear plan that will show how we can achieve our zero carbon objectives.

“Energy matters to everyone, and particularly to those in our borough who struggle with rising energy costs. Achieving a sustainable energy future for Barnsley that is affordable, provides security and is low carbon will require a transformational change in the way we generate and use energy. We must make sure the transition to a net-zero carbon economy leaves nobody behind.

“In this SEAP we make a clear commitment that we will embed carbon into all considerations and decisions the council makes from now on.”

The cabinet report and the full SEAP can be found on the council’s website.

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