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Climate actions agreed to make Swansea Council carbon neutral by 2030

MORE solar panel schemes, fewer journeys by council staff and new energy-efficient school buildings are among the measures Swansea Council will focus on to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

They are some of a series of actions agreed by cabinet after councillors unanimously backed a climate emergency motion in June last year.

That motion called for the authority to become carbon neutral by 2030 with support from the Welsh Government and UK Government.

Council officers have reviewed more than 100 policies and come up with five actions – essentially expanding existing measures – to reduce emissions.

They also drew up five ways of offsetting emissions which are unavoidable, such as the gas needed to heat school buildings.

Examples include the creation of solar farms, including one at the Tir John landfill site in Port Tennant, more tree-planting, and buying in gas generated from the breakdown of animal or food waste.

Introducing the report, Cllr Andrea Lewis, cabinet member for homes, energy and service transformation, said: “With everything that has gone on with the pandemic, this is not an insignificant commitment for the council.”

Over the last 10 years the authority has reduced its carbon emissions by more than half, but it becomes harder as you go along.

“We have already made significant strides,” said Cllr Lewis.

Included in the report is an ambition for the council to keep pushing for a Swansea Bay tidal lagoon which, if delivered, would by itself make the authority carbon neutral more than three times over.

The report said the action plan could only be implemented when the Welsh Government published guidance on carbon neutral measuring and monitoring.

A separate strand of the council’s climate ambition is a charter for business and the public to endorse to make Swansea carbon neutral by 2050.

“That’s more of a significant challenge,” said Cllr Lewis.

Backing the plans, Cllr Clive Lloyd said he expected to announce “huge progress” shortly in the council pension fund reducing its exposure to fossil fuel investments.

Cllr Jennifer Raynor said the climate actions being recommended proved the council was listening to young people.

“It’s their futures – they are really concerned about what is being done,” she said.

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