Climate Change Action Plan – “good progress being made”
Plans to tackle climate change in St Albans District have made “good progress” but there is still much work to do.
St Albans City and District Council pledged to make the climate emergency a priority for action in 2019.
As part of this effort, it set a target of cutting harmful CO2 emissions in its area to net zero by 2030.
An action plan, including more than 100 commitments, was drawn up to help achieve that target.
Members of the Council’s Climate Advisory Committee considered a progress report at its meeting on Tuesday 11 January.
One objective has been to ensure commitments to sustainability and tackling the causes of climate change are integrated into decision making across all services.
This has included requiring staff to ensure the impact on sustainability of all new projects, policies, large purchases and contracts is assessed before they go ahead.
In another initiative, a researcher has been recruited in a joint project with the University of Hertfordshire to work on public engagement with the Council’s decarbonisation programme.
They have been tasked with improving the way environmental data can be communicated and understood through the use of graphs, charts, videos and other visual methods.
A further action plan objective is to spread awareness among all staff of the Council’s sustainability goals.
This has included mandatory training and regular updates on vital topics such as energy efficiency.
A number of staff have volunteered to become sustainability champions across the Council’s departments.
They meet regularly to discuss opportunities for improvements and what campaigns may be necessary to influence behaviour.
Councillor Jamie Day, the Committee’s Chair, said after the meeting:
Tackling the climate emergency is our number one priority and It is clear that good progress has been made to align our working culture with that vitally important aim.
We are embedding sustainability and climate change awareness right across the Council so that we consider the environmental impact of every decision that we take.
We’ve recently installed air source heat pumps instead of gas boilers at new social housing and are also developing a new greener car parking strategy that seeks to encourage use of electric vehicles.
I am delighted that we were the top local authority in England out of 338 Councils for recycling last year which is an illustration of the advances we are making.
Our staff are fully committed to considering sustainability at every turn but we accept, as the progress report shows, that there is still much work to do to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.
We will continue to seek ways by which we can engage, influence and drive positive change across the District.
Councillor contact: Cllr Jamie Day, email@example.com; 01727 836924.
Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727 296130; firstname.lastname@example.org.