“IT’S going to cost millions to sort” but action must be taken to reduce and off-set carbon emissions as Ceredigion County Council sets out its action plan to meet zero carbon targets by 2030.
An action plan to be a carbon neutral local authority has been developed following a notice of motion in 2019 that the council recognises the global climate emergency and reduce its emissions.
At thriving communities overview and scrutiny committee on Wednesday, May 26 councillors heard that the current focus was on operational energy usages and emissions, with a methodology to calculate wider emissions expected from Welsh Government soon.
The carbon footprint as a whole will include things such as procurement, transport and distribution, waste and financial investments and is likely to increase the authority’s total significantly.
A report to committee states that the authority will have to “act four times faster than envisaged by current policy” to achieve the 2030 target with cabinet member Cllr Alun Williams adding that a lot of work had been done over the three, five-year, carbon management plans.
“We are not starting from scratch here,” he said, adding although there were costs involved there had also been £5million of savings over that time as well.
Cllr Keith Evans raised concerns about a lack of financial information, with the initial plan to be signed off by cabinet and full council, with further details expected once the full carbon calculator exercise has been carried out.
Cllr Ifan Davies added: “The principle is correct, we have to reduce carbon, but we have to be very careful there’s not a cost implication for the rate payers of the county.”
Whether Ceredigion was “wasting time” when large scale environmental destruction took place in other areas of the world, such as the Brazilian rainforest or new coal fired power plants are built in China, was raised by Cllr John Roberts.
“We know it’s going to cost millions to sort anything out, if it’s an emergency why isn’t the Welsh Government coming up with something faster,” he added.
Cllr Marc Davies, committee chairman, agreed that “the costs are high” adding “this is for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.”
The committee backed a recommendation from Cllr Elizabeth Evans that a cross party working group be set up, which will work with carbon management group, to monitor and update the action plan, with six monthly reports brought to scrutiny committee.