Plans in place to make council ‘carbon neutral’

Published Wednesday, 11th September 2019

Southend High st with lots of people

A climate emergency could be announced in Southend-on-Sea next week as plans to create a ‘Green City’ continue to take shape.

Following a motion to Full Council in July 2019, members of the council’s cabinet (Tuesday 17 September) will discuss whether to officially announce a climate emergency, along with the challenges the council and Borough will need to overcome to become a carbon neutral city within the next 10 years.

It is also being recommended that the council lobbies Government along with other Local Authorities to ensure that funds are made available to increase the work towards achieving carbon neutral status.

Work on greening the town, emissions improvement through energy efficiency and generation are already underway through EU funded projects including Interreg 2 Seas projects NSCiti2S, Sustainable and Resilient Coastal Cities and North Seas Region funded 2Impresz. Work to reduce the Council’s own emissions from buildings has also significantly improved through a variety of projects, directly or indirectly reducing emissions by around 75% since 2014.

The council also recently launched PlastiCity - a three year, European funded, research project that aims to increase the amount of commercial and industrial plastics recycled in the 2 Seas region – United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Netherlands. Going forward, the council will be working with its Plasticity partners to increase plastic recycling rates with local businesses across the Borough.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Becoming a carbon neutral Borough by 2030 is a huge task but one we are determined to meet head-on. We want to make a real and tangible difference across the Borough and ensure we are doing our bit to tackle climate change.

“We have already committed to installing an additional 87 electric vehicle charging points across the town, and we are also currently considering a new tree planting policy, which will look to enhance the green coverage across Southend-on-Sea.

“One of our Southend 2050 ambitions is to create a Green City, and we know that there is a lot we can be doing ourselves. This is why we have already reduced emissions from our own buildings by 75% since 2014 and will continue to ensure that the Civic Centre and council operations conform to our plans. We have to lead by example and we are doing just that.

“Whilst we progress with this announcement, I must reiterate that battling climate change is something everyone must get behind. This includes central government ensuring the funding is available for local authorities, and for residents and businesses to ensure they do their bit through energy efficiency, the use of low emissions transport options, recycling, reducing usage of single-use plastics and disposing of waste appropriately.

“The council is absolutely determined to do all we can to improve air quality, improve the town’s greenery and reduce carbon emissions. Just last week, we were delighted to be placed 28 out of the top 30 council’s in the UK for CO2 emissions per head of population, which is particularly impressive because the top 30 contains so many rural areas who have large areas of green space which act as carbon sinks.  In Southend we have lowered our emissions by 35% from 2005 and we are intent on continuing this improvement.”

The report can be viewed on our democracy pages – item 13.