On course to meet climate experts’ recommendations
Posted on: 22 February 2019
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the climate change discussion at County Hall yesterday.
Some people were surprised to hear about the amount of work the council is doing to reduce carbon emissions – and suggested that perhaps we are not very good at telling people about it! So here are some of the key points highlighted by our cabinet member for environment Roger Croad to councillors yesterday:
Our (the council’s) carbon emissions have gone down 36 per cent since 2013. We are on course to meet the 45 per cent reduction by 2030 (of 2010 levels) recommended by climate experts, and the amount of energy we use is 21 per cent less than we used five years ago.
Street lighting accounts for a massive slice of our carbon footprint – and the energy we use to keep the lights on is almost a quarter less now than it was in 2013.
We’ve done that by fitting 25,000 streetlights with LED lights and switching to part-night street lighting.
As of this month no kerb side rubbish from ‘black bags’ (waste not separated out for recycling by homeowners) is landfilled. Instead it’s converted into energy. We’ve applied to transform one of these old landfill sites into a solar farm.
We are continuing to fund projects to install solar panels on public buildings and we are working with several councils on a range of renewable energy projects.
And we have applied for funding to kickstart a scheme that will help vulnerable people to replace their old energy-guzzling storage heaters with more efficient central heating.
Devon currently has 23 community energy organisations, more than any other county in the country. And most of these schemes were kickstarted thanks to our support.
Our recycling rate is 54%, making us one of the top recycling counties in the country while our plastics strategy removes 100,000 plastic items from our food outlets every year.
But we’re not content. We’re not stopping there. There’s still a lot more to do. So this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does provide a snapshot of what we are doing. If you want to hear more, listen to the discussion yesterday online.