All new homes to be zero carbon in North Somerset climate plan


SERIES of initiatives, projects and policy changes have been devised by North Somerset Council to help tackle the climate emergency.

The measures are set out in the council’s Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan.

The council declared a climate emergency in February this year and set a target of North Somerset becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Since then a cross-party group of councillors has been working with officers to produce a strategy and action plan aimed at achieving this target.

“Carbon neutrality in North Somerset by 2030 will only be achieved with radical behavioural adjustments across the area,” said Alex Hearn, the council’s assistant director (placemaking and growth).

“The council has been recognised as one of the better-performing local authorities in the country at responding to climate change and it’s important that we continue to show leadership and work with our local communities, businesses, schools and partners to tackle the climate emergency.

“However, we will need substantial support from the government to achieve this target and we’ll be lobbying ministers and civil servants for help.”

The strategy and action plan are both live documents that will be regularly reviewed and updated. The documents set out seven key principles and a raft of actions aimed at addressing the causes and consequences of climate change.

The key principles are:

Become a net zero carbon council
Actions include:

  • reduce the carbon footprint of the council’s workforce by supporting home and flexible working and promoting sustainable travel choices
  • ensure the council’s electricity supply is provided by 100 per cent renewably generated sources and replace all streetlighting with low energy LED units

An energy efficient built environment
Actions include:

  • aim for all new homes to be zero carbon or net carbon plus
  • lobby government over decisions that have limited the council’s ability to demand the highest standards of energy efficiency and use of renewable energy from new buildings

Replenish our carbon stores
Actions include:

  • implement a rewilding programme on council-owned land across the district to increase wildlife and biodiversity
  • support local communities with their rewilding projects

Adapting to climate change
Actions include:

  • ensure the council’s Emergency Management Plan is properly resourced
  • ensure work around flood defences considers climate change and any local and regional effects

Renewable energy regeneration
Actions include:

  • pass a motion declaring North Somerset a frack free zone to discourage the exploration and production of shale gas
  • encourage residents to consider 100 per cent renewable energy by helping them to access grant funding where available

Reduce emissions from transport
Actions include:

  • secure funding to increase the walking and cycling network across the district and provide an electric charging hub in Portishead
  • ensure all schools have a travel plan maximising the number of students walking, cycling or travelling sustainably to school

Repair, reuse, reduce and recycle
Actions include:

  • zero kerbside waste to landfill with an increasing percentage recycled and the remainder used as energy from waste
  • encourage composting and rewilding.