- Meeting of Cabinet, Monday 10th February 2020 10.30 am (Item 8.)
Cabinet is asked to NOTE the progress made in improving the environmental and climate related performance of the Council, along with the suggestions for how to continue this work as part of the new Buckinghamshire Council.
The Leader highlighted that there had been a Climate Change motion put forward at full Council in September 2019. It was recognised that the carbon audit formed the starting point for decisions which would come into effect for the unitary council.
Mr Chapple provided an introduction and invited Mr D Sutherland, Head of Planning and Environment and Mr E Barlow, Head of Energy and Resources to present the report. Mr Chapple highlighted the following points:
- Cabinet members were aware of the importance of climate change to Buckinghamshire residents.
- The motion was tabled to full council in September 2019.
- The council had achieved a 53% reduction in its carbon emissions over the last 10 year period through a series of ongoing energy efficient improvements to operations. The council supported residents to recycle over 56% of their waste and the energy from waste plant produced electricity for 40,000 homes, allowing landfill waste to decrease to less than 1%.
- It was recognised that climate change was a complex issue that needed to be addressed across the whole council.
Mr Barlow and Mr Sutherland gave an overview of the report provided. The following points were raised in discussion with Cabinet:
- The Council were exploring options to form partnerships with farms and were in conversation with the National Farmers Union (NFU).
- A concern was raised over the biodiversity issue, the loss of hedge rows in the county and the use of pesticides. The issues would be readdressed.
- It was highlighted that Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) were ordered by government to look at innovative working. Options currently being tested in Aylesbury included capturing kinetic energy and reusing it in the local area. In terms of bio-diversity, TfB were working with Chiltern Rangers to look at wild flower seeding across the county. It was hoped that the new council would build on the initiative.
- It was advised that Ms Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Skills and Education was keen to involve schools with tree planting.
- Cabinet highlighted that the report felt positive. It was critical to continue to explore ways to make Buckinghamshire more sustainable.
- It was stated that water consumption was a significant issue in Buckinghamshire.
- Cabinet enquired as to the percentage of worldwide carbon emissions that the UK were responsible for. Mr Chapple advised the UK were producing 1% of the world’s carbon emissions. 50% of the worldwide emissions were down to The USA, China and India.
- Cabinet would use the carbon audit to form the basis of their decision making.
- Cabinet enquired as to whether it was possible to lobby the Environment Agency to protect the quality of the streams and the rivers in the county, especially with the on-going issues of sewage being pumped into them.
- As well as all the strategic ideas, residents needed to be mindful of their own behaviours. Members of the public were encouraged to compost as much of their garden waste as possible.
- It was advised that Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) were rolling out a programme to support community orchards.
- Mr Chapple advised he was putting a lot of emphasis on the new Buckinghamshire plan for the unitary council. There were local plans working through their processes but it was vital to have a single plan for the whole county.
It was advised although the new council did not yet exist, the Shadow Executive had placed a strong focus on climate change within the corporate plan.
RESOLVED: Cabinet NOTED the report and AGREED the proposals for how to continue the work as part of the new Buckinghamshire Council.