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Carmarthenshire works towards tackling climate change

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has stepped up its efforts to protect the environment for future generations after its commitment to becoming a net zero carbon authority by 2030.

The Executive Board discussed progress and developments at its meeting this week, where Cllr Cefin Campbell – who has recently been given responsibility to lead on Climate Change for the council – spoke about the aspirations and work underway towards meeting the target.

He answered a question from Neil Lewis, a member of the public who manages a social enterprise for sustainable energy, who asked what the council’s strategy was for meeting net zero carbon in the next 10 years.

“The ‘Carbon net-Zero’ Strategy for the Council is a step towards answering the Climate Emergency from a Local Authority perspective,” he said. “We would like to understand the actions that form this strategy, including what steps are being taken to ensure that the Strategy is understood and implemented across internal council departments first; and then what wider steps are planned to communicate to council partners, local businesses and Carmarthenshire citizens.

Carmarthenshire County Council was one of the first local authorities in Wales to declare a climate emergency in February.

Cllr Campbell said meetings have already taken place across the authority to galvanise departments, members and officers.

“As you know, we committed, as a council, to net zero carbon by 2030 and once that motion was passed unanimously by the council I discussed with officers as to the way forward.

“We held a meeting with the heads of departments in the council. It was a very positive meeting – what was surprising was how much we are already doing.

“We’re already investing £2million to reduce carbon emissions by 41,000 tonnes. We are part of the Re:Fit scheme provided by Welsh Government. We’re looking to save money in schools, leisure centres and care homes etc. We’ve also committed to obtaining Passivhaus Standard to save energy within housing.

“We’ve changed 20,000 street lights to LED. We’ve got rid of single use plastics in the Council, we’re also officially paperless, and we have committed to providing 26 electric car charging points across the county.

“This does show that we’re doing a lot already but there’s a lot left to do.

“Our action plan aims to be a carbon net zero authority. We have to take a pragmatic approach to what we can do – we have the aspiration but we need to be realistic. We want to set the foundation in place to build towards carbon net zero.”

Cllr Campbell confirmed the authority is working closely with other public authorities in Carmarthenshire to look at climate change, and would also seek to speak to private businesses, third sector partners and community groups as part of the strategy moving forward.

Watch the webcast: http://democracy.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=131&MId=2001

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