Solihull Council is leading by example in the fight against climate change as its Net Zero Carbon Council Plan 2030 was approved last week by Councillor Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning and Housing. The report sets out how the Council intends to reduce its emissions to net zero in less than 10 years time.
Net Zero means that the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted is balanced out (or offset) by the carbon that is removed from the atmosphere. It’s important to note that this plan relates to the Council’s own operations. It’s not to be confused with the Solihull Net Zero Action Plan (NZAP) which sets out how the entire borough, not just the Council, can become net zero by 2041.
The approval of the plan is the latest milestone in our ambition to reduce emissions. Since 2009, the Council’s emissions have reduced by over 70%, so this plan is building on the previous decade’s achievements.
Key to the current success is the switch to LED Street lighting, reductions in emissions from waste collection services and continual improvements to our buildings through energy efficiency works and good management.
A first quick win since setting the target is the switching of all street lighting to a 100% renewable electricity tariff, which means they are operating at ‘zero carbon’.
So what’s the plan to get to net zero by 2030?
There is a hierarchy of action embedded in the Net Zero Carbon Council Plan. Firstly, the priority is to reduce energy demand, which can be achieved by a reduced portfolio of buildings and energy efficiency improvements such as low energy lighting. Secondly, there needs to be a continued shift to green energy, which may include solar panels on Council owned buildings.
Only after these opportunities have been exhausted, the Council will offset any remaining emissions. One method of offsetting is planting trees which absorb carbon. Over the next 10 years Solihull Council has committed to planting 250,000 trees as part of the ‘Planting our Future’ campaign.
Click on this link view the adopted Net Zero Carbon Council Plan 2030.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council said:
“Back in 2019, we passed a motion recognising the gravity of the climate change emergency and pledged to become a net zero carbon Council by 2030. The goals in our plan align with the target of keeping emissions within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels as set out in the COP21 Paris Agreement.
“We’ve made great progress in recent years and we’re not slowing down now, especially when COP26 is highlighting the dangers of climate inaction across the globe. We’re constantly thinking of innovative solutions to reduce the Council’s carbon footprint. The plan we have in place is robust and considers both short term and long term actions. However, in keeping with our ambitious nature, reaching net zero by 2030 is just the beginning. Once we’ve reached that point, we’ll explore the opportunities of going even further than net zero.”
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning and Housing said:
“I am delighted to approve our 2030 Net Zero Carbon Council Plan. It reaffirms our commitment to embedding sustainability throughout all of the operations for which we are responsible for.
“We’ve made fantastic strides in reducing our own emissions in the last decade or so, but the question is now, how do we get to net zero by 2030? Reaching our goal will take collective action from all our employees. We’ve recently invited our staff to complete a sustainability training module so that they’re fully informed on the behavioural change needed to meet our target.
“As a major employer in the borough, reaching net zero by 2030 will send out a strong message to locally based businesses and organisations that it’s both realistic and achievable to become net zero in a relatively short space of time.”