Declaring a Climate Emergency is a top priority for the Council. In addition to committing ourselves to becoming carbon neutral, the Council, through the Sustainability Officer Group (SOG), is focused on embedding sustainability in every area of the Council and within local communities. The group has three key aims:
- Embed sustainability at a strategic level in the organisation.
- Address the Council’s own impacts relating to sustainability and to ensure we remain resilient in the face of a changing climate.
- Promote and enable sustainability and climate change resilience in the wider district.
Strategic Approach to Sustainability and Climate Change 2016-2020
We have adopted a Strategic Approach to Sustainability and Climate Change which sets out how we will respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable district. The strategy outlines the overarching aims, key objectives and includes an action plan setting out how we will achieve them. The strategy is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
We have been taking positive action to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency:
- District Heating Tender Scheme - We are currently undertaking a feasibility study of decentralised heating opportunities in Leamington Spa in conjunction with Encraft.
- Home Energy Efficiency - We actively promote the local charity Act on Energy to help free home energy efficiency advice and support to all residents in the District by holding home energy efficiency drop-in days and linking to local community groups and activities. We also help administer home energy efficiency grant funding applications.
- Vehicle Electrification - The Council in partnership with Warwickshire County Council, Volvo Group UK and Stagecoach Midlands has applied for a grant under the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme. The grant is to bring a fully electric bus route to Leamington Spa, which includes electric buses and opportunity charging infrastructure. We are also supporting a joint bid with Warwickshire County Council to install an additional 16 electric charging points in our car parks across the District. In addition, an electric taxi project is also being investigated which could help encourage the drivers of local taxis to go electric.
- Air Quality Monitoring - We monitor air pollution in the district, check on emissions from industrial processes and aim to deliver air quality improvements as part of our air quality strategy. We have undertaken some recent research into vehicle idling prevention opportunities and other ways to help improve local air pollution.
- Plastics Reduction - We have a Plastics Policy in place with the aim of reducing if not eliminating plastics from our operations and to support plastic free communities. A partnership has formed with the Leamington & Warwick Plastic Free Group to help deliver the commitments. We support the Refill scheme from our own buildings and have avoided ten different types of single-use plastic from our main offices.
- Bike Share Scheme - There is real opportunity for a Bike Share Scheme for Leamington and Warwick. Market testing has been undertaken with local network providers. Capital funding is going to be needed to make this happen, which is being explored.
- Low carbon housing - We have been looking at innovative new build opportunities and retrofitting existing tenant properties to meet our net zero carbon commitments.