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North East Lincolnshire Council’s path to net zero and a better environment set out in new reports

8:30 am, Tuesday, 2nd November 2021 - 9 months ago

General
  • Council outlines measures for the area to move to a green and sustainable future to mitigate the impact of climate change
  • Carbon Roadmap sets out how the Council can reach net zero emissions by 2040 and the borough by 2050
  • Natural Assets Plan sets out goals to improve the natural environment and increase biodiversity

Members of North East Lincolnshire Council are considering two ambitious reports that are set to transform life in the borough during the next thirty years.

The Carbon Roadmap sets out the Council’s aims to cut its carbon emissions to net zero by 2040 and for North East Lincolnshire to be carbon net zero by 2050.

Net zero means reducing carbon emissions as much as possible and balancing the remainder through investing in programmes that increase carbon storage, such as planting more trees or artificial storage solutions.

The Natural Assets Plan sets out how the Council and its partners can improve the area’s unique natural environment for the benefit of everyone.

Both reports complement each other and link in with the Government’s national targets for cutting carbon emissions, reducing the impact of climate change and improving biodiversity.

Scrutiny panel members will review the proposals at a special meeting on Tuesday 9 November and cabinet members will meet to discuss the reports on Wednesday 1 December.

Cllr Philip Jackson, council leader and portfolio holder for the green agenda, said:

“Moving to a net zero economy is one of the biggest challenges we face and means making big changes to every aspect of our lives.

“From how we heat our homes and workplaces to how we travel from a to b, our plans set out the steps we need to take as an organisation and as a community to reduce our carbon emissions and take better care of our local environment.

“Both documents explain the Council’s role in bringing about change, but also how individuals, businesses and organisations will need to work together to end the borough’s contribution to climate change and improve the natural environment.

“We’ve surveyed opinion widely on these issues and I’m grateful to everyone who took the time to give their feedback.”

Cllr Jackson added:

“It’s timely that we publish these reports at the start of COP26, the international climate summit in Glasgow, where we will be represented as part of the Local Government Association’s Pass the Planet campaign.

“Climate change is a global challenge that requires commitment, co-operation and action at every level if we are to keep out planet healthy for future generations.”


Steps to net zero

The Carbon Roadmap sets out the work the Council has already started to reduce its own carbon emissions, what more it plans to do, and how it can help others.

The Council has prioritised its actions to use its resources to achieve the greatest impact, by considering its strengths as an organisation and sphere of influence.

This plan sets out six workstreams for the Council, and then six more where it can act to support the communities and businesses in North East Lincolnshire.

To achieve carbon net zero as an organisation by 2040, the Council will focus on six workstreams:

1. Low carbon estate (our buildings)
2. Low carbon fleet (our vehicles)
3. Low carbon street lighting
4. Climate-conscious decision-making
5. Climate-conscious purchasing (goods and services)
6. Climate conscious behaviours (of our staff and those who work for us)

In addition, there are six further workstreams as part of the wider drive to make North East Lincolnshire carbon net zero by 2050:

7. Climate-conscious community: by facilitating and encouraging community engagement and sustainability actions.
8. Low carbon commercial buildings: working as an enabler to ensure sufficient support is in place for businesses to increase sustainability.
9. Low carbon transport: through policy change, network investment and partnership working we want to enable a local transition to more sustainable travel.
10. Low carbon industry: by supporting our partners and industry in achieving industrial decarbonisation, including carbon capture and hydrogen economy.
11. Enable low carbon new homes-through our role as a policy maker and planning authority.
12. Climate-conscious improvements to older homes, by supporting our partners and residents to improve their homes to become more sustainable.

Each of these 12 workstreams has an outline plan, set out in the document. By necessity plans for the short term are more fully formed than for the medium and long term; however, the plans will be frequently updated as the Council recognises that this is a fast-developing area of work, with new evidence, ideas and priorities emerging. Many of the actions are dependent on finding funding, using the best expertise, and working across a variety of different organisations to make them work.

Each person in North East Lincolnshire can also contribute. The more people that work together the more successful we will all be and there will be benefits for everyone.

For example, the Local Government Association estimates there will be 4,145 direct jobs in the low-carbon and renewable energy sector in North East Lincolnshire by 2050.

Improving the natural environment

The Natural Assets Plan sets out eight areas the Council wants to focus on. It explains why they are important, what our current situation is and what actions the Council plans to take in the short, medium, and long-term.

These areas have become more urgent to address as climate change increasingly impacts on our lives. Many of the ways to tackle climate change rely on fixes using our natural world, called nature-based solutions. The eight areas of focus are:

1. Planning our future land use
2. Managing our open spaces
3. Biodiversity and special sites
4. Trees and woodlands
5. Water Management
6. Improving air quality
7. Protecting health and wellbeing
8. Education, involvement, and enjoyment .

More details

Scrutiny: https://democracy.nelincs.gov.uk/meetings/joint-scrutiny-panel-communities-tve-and-economy/

Cabinet: https://democracy.nelincs.gov.uk/meetings/cabinet-6/

Action taken so far

North East Lincolnshire Council is firm in its ambitions to become carbon net zero and declared a climate emergency in September 2019.

Steps taken so far include upgrading its fleet to low emissions vehicles, including 25 that are fully electric and reducing carbon emissions by 20 tonnes.

Among the most successful initiatives so far is the award-winning South Humber Mitigation Strategy. This ground-breaking planning approach addresses the potentially irreconcilable needs of developers and birds dependent on wetland habitat in an area earmarked for industry. Believed to be the first example in the UK, the strategy led to the creation of Cress Marsh, an area of wet and grass lands along the South Humber bank. Bird habitat has been specifically created at the site and is managed to mitigate predicted impacts from industrial developments nearby. This ‘offset’ land is available to businesses up front, allowing them to adhere to planning requirements with no delays.

Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire provided dedicated support to 260 businesses as well as energy-saving upgrades to 31 public buildings – one company saved more than £10,900 on its quarterly electricity bill. As a result, businesses and organisations in Greater Lincolnshire saved more than 3,668 tonnes of carbon in the last three years and drastically cut their energy bills.

Delivered by North East Lincolnshire Council, the £8.5 million ERDF and Salix part-funded project engaged with public building owners and small and medium-sized businesses to help them in their zero carbon journey.

Businesses often didn’t know where to start or what renewable or low carbon solutions were available to them. Thanks to Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire and its sustainable legacy, there is a now a greater propensity for businesses and public building owners to think long-term and do more to help the environment.


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