Above image from Wilts & Gloucester Standard.
Climate change is happening everywhere. We can see the effects all over the world with the large scale flooding, forest fires, melting ice caps and the loss of wildlife. It is time to accept that our climate is changing and we need to act now.
In Gloucestershire, flooding has become more common, we have had hotter and drier summers but we can make a difference.
All Gloucestershire councils have now declared a climate emergency. Our declaration in May 2019 included commitments for us to be net zero by 2030, and deliver a carbon neutral county by 2050, working with partners to deliver an 80% reduction by 2030.
In May 2019, Parliament declared a climate emergency and government amended the Climate Change Act 2008 for the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050, with an interim target of a 57% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.
Following the declaration, we have produced our climate change strategy. It outlines the actions we need to take as a county to reach that target and improve our county for now and the future.
By 2050 we will create a carbon neutral county that provides quality of life now and for future generations, having improved the quality of our natural environment. By 2030 we will have reduced our carbon emissions by 80%.
You can read Gloucestershire’s Climate Change Strategy here (PDF, 906 KB) .
We have a number of actions, including:
- Gloucestershire Tree Strategy – commit to planting 35 million trees by 2030
- Establish £1m ‘Action Fund’ to incentivise carbon reduction and air quality improvements
- £1m energy efficiency invest to save loan fund
- Buy only 100% renewable electricity
- Generate electricity from the Javelin Park Energy from Waste facility to power around 25,000 homes a year
- Tender a contract to deliver over 200 new electric vehicle charging points by 2023, as part of a county-wide Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy
Youth Climate Panel
We have also set up the Youth Climate Panel which has 40 members aged between 16 and 25. The panel represents the young people of the county and is being a member gives them the opportunity to have their say on:
- what the county council will do to act on climate change
- How we can encourage people to behave in a more sustainable way
- Our Climate Change Policy and Action Plan
Although there has been some disruption during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Climate Change Team at the county council has been working on the Action Plan. The team has considered ways to decarbonise highways activities, developed processes to allow organisations to access the £1m ‘Action Fund’, applied for Government funding to improve infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians and progress has been made on a county-wide Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy. The council has switched to buying 100 per cent renewable electricity for its buildings and other assets, such as signs and bollards across Gloucestershire’s roads.
We are working with the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership (GLNP), which is made up of more than 30 public and private organisations including the county council, to deliver the Gloucestershire Tree Strategy that will see 35 million trees planted in the county by 2030.
The Youth Climate Panel has been able to meet virtually through the pandemic. The council is working with Gloucestershire partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors, to ensure a greener recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gloucestershire County Council has also joined the new Countryside Climate Network, set up by UK100, designed to amplify rural voices and signed the UK100 pledge on achieving 100 per cent clean energy by 2050.
In the near future, we will also be launching our public campaign which aims to encourage residents of Gloucestershire to make changes that help tackle climate change – watch this space!
Green Homes Grant scheme
Under the Green Homes Grant, the government will provide a voucher of up to £5,000 covering two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency improvements or low carbon heating. For those on low incomes this could be up to £10,000 and cover all the costs.
Gloucestershire County Council, along with each of the district councils in the county, has contributed £5,000 to extend an advice line to include ‘able to pay’ households who would like to access the Green Homes Grant scheme.
You can apply via the government’s Simple Energy Advice website or for advice and support on which works you should carry out and the application process, contact our Home Energy delivery partner Warm & Well or call their Green Homes Grant advice line on 01452 937996. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org