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Swansea council to publish “carbon neutral” action plan before Christmas

A SERIES of actions to give Swansea Council a good shot at becoming “carbon neutral” by 2030 could be published before Christmas.

Councillors unanimously backed a carbon neutral motion in June 2019, but the coronavirus pandemic has delayed its implementation.

Councils can’t just turn the fossil fuel switch off because they have buildings to heat and hundreds of vehicles to run.

The carbon neutral idea is that you cut fossil fuel use as much as possible and offset the rest with things like renewable energy projects and tree-planting.

Council Leader Rob Stewart said: “We’re working hard on developing an action plan that will allow us to deliver on our 2030 pledge.

“This plan is being worked through right now and we aim to present it to cabinet and council before Christmas.”

The authority’s trajectory was already a low-carbon one before the 2019 motion, which other councils have also adopted.

Some of its vans are electric, solar panels have been fitted to schools, and a lot of its pension fund is now invested in low-carbon funds.

It wants more greenery in the city centre, as evidenced by the new-look Kingsway.

The council has also consulted on planning guidance which would ensure biodiversity at new development sites was maintained and enhanced, although a housebuilder has warned this could increase construction costs.

One tricky area is old school buildings, which use up a lot of energy to heat. Director of place Martin Nicholls told a council committee in October it was hard to make these buildings more energy efficient.

He said: “We have moved quite a long way but there is clearly an awful lot we will need to do to get there by 2030.”

The Welsh Government is running digital projects and interactive events from November 2 to November 6 as part of Wales Climate Week – the week when the UK was supposed to host a United Nations climate change conference, which will now take place next year.

Cllr Stewart added: “We know we have to act because we will not leave the climate challenges we face today to future generations to fix.”

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