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Denbighshire Council’s Cabinet approve climate and ecological change strategy

A council’s cabinet has approved an historic “green” climate change strategy, costing up to £27m, in a bid to go “net carbon zero” by 2030.

The document was formally agreed by Denbighshire council’s leaders at its meeting on Tuesday – 19 months after declaring a climate emergency – and will go before the authority’s full council meeting for ratification in a week’s time.

The authority believes the cost of implementing climate change measures is around £9m over the next three years and expects it will “need to
invest a similar figure in future years leading up to 2030”.

A report to cabinet said Denbighshire council wouldn’t have to find all of the money itself though.

It added: “We expect grants from the Welsh Government, national Government and supporting bodies will be available to help fund the planned work over the nine years.”

The move has also changed the authority’s constitution, meaning “all decisions of the Council will have regard to tackling climate and ecological change”.

Cllr Graham Timms (Llangollen ward) has been at the forefront of the charge to make the council more eco-friendly, leading the Climate Change and Ecological Emergency Working Group set up as part of the emergency declaration.

He said: “To be involved in this has been a real pleasure. The whole county has gathered around this project.

“A year-and-a-half ago we never thought we would get so far and it’s great to see all the departments of the council coming together on this.”

There will be reports on the progress of the net carbon zero performance brought to council each year and the whole strategy will be reviewed every three years as part of the plan.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has declared the world needs to reduce carbon emissions to net zero across the globe by 2050 to keep average temperature rises below 1.5 degrees centigrade.

It said the majority of actions needed to achieve this will need to be completed by 2030.

Within the council’s new strategy it outlines how climate change, fuelled by increased CO2 emissions, had affected North Wales.

It said: “The region has experienced in recent years wider and more frequent flooding, extreme heat and stronger and more frequent storms.

“Three hundred and fifty-four species known to be present in Wales are
at risk of extinction.

“Dormouse populations across the UK, as an example, have declined
51% since 2004 and in all former strongholds across Denbighshire.”

The council has used the time since declaring the climate change emergency assessing what its carbon footprint is – and how it can reduce it.

The total carbon footprint of Denbighshire council in 2019-20 was equivalent to 18,915 tonnes of CO2 (18,915 tCO2e).

The total carbon absorbed by council owned and operated land in 2019-20 was 2,147 tCO2e.

Therefore, the council’s net carbon zero position at that time was +16,4989

The authority’s carbon footprint will reduce to 9,440 tCO2e if the council is to meet it 2030 carbon net zero target, with carbon absorption taking the rest of the balance.

One way to reduce the figure is using smart technology to control the use of power in buildings, which means controlling heating and lighting down to individual room level.

This “intelligent building” software has been something utilised in new school builds like Ysgol Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd.

Buildings are the largest source of CO2 emission by the authority, accounting for 54% (10,151 tCO2e) of the total.

Other things being looked at are reducing waste, reducing emissions from petrol and diesel used in council vehicles and one innovative idea floated was to build a solar powered canopy over County Hall’s car park in Ruthin, to charge electric council vehicles.

Dealing with waste accounts for 15% ot the total, followed by its vehicle fleet (14%) and staff commuting (10%). Street lighting and business travel account for the final 7% of emissions.

In addition maintaining grasslands and increasing woodlands are measures being adopted to mitigate carbon emissions.

The authority has also pledged to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions associated with suppliers by 35% by 2030, meaning they will favour those who work “greener” and encourage others to take that path.

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