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VALE of Glamorgan council is consulting the public on its plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions across the district.

Its Project Zero plan includes preventing floods, installing district heating schemes, and a wider rollout of electric Nextbikes.

In July 2019, the council declared a climate emergency, pledging to reduce its own carbon emissions and encourage others in the Vale to do so too. An ambitious target was set of net zero emissions by 2030.

Delays due to the coronavirus pandemic mean the public consultation on Project Zero is only just beginning. The consultation launched on Tuesday, March 23 and will run until May 5.

Deputy leader Lis Burnett said:

“Quite a while ago we declared a climate emergency and we said that not only would we be working to put our own house in order, but we would be working with others and lobbying others to have the impact of achieving net-zero by 2030.

“The work that we have already done is impressive but I think the work we still have to do is challenging in the extreme.”

Some of the major changes to come out of Covid-19, like working from home and commuting less, will stay as these reduce carbon emissions from driving and running offices.

Council staff will get training on ‘carbon literacy’ to help the wider workforce understand the changes needed to meet the target of net-zero emissions. They will also be encouraged to drive to work less often, with discounts on public transport.

After the public consultation, council bosses will review the responses and revise the plan. The full council is then expected to approve the final Project Zero strategy on July 26.

Rob Thomas, managing director, said:

“A considerable amount of work has gone into this. What matters now is how we engage on this issue going forward. It’s down to use in our role as a community leader but also in terms of how we can influence others.

“We will work with the community and our partners to make the necessary changes, focusing on energy, waste, food, buildings, transport, land use and procurement.

“Our key target is to reduce the Council’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030. But we also want to influence and encourage others to reduce their emissions and to be part of Project Zero.

“I am confident that across the Vale there is a willingness to work together and do what is necessary to protect our future and that of generations to come. Together we can make the Vale more resilient, greener and healthier for us all.”

The plan is still in its early stages, so not a lot of detail is available yet. But some actions proposed include working with local landowners to plant trees; looking at district heating networks; and tightening planning regulations to make new buildings more energy efficient.

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