Winchester City Council to become carbon neutral by 2024

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ENERGY-EFFICIENT homes and civic buildings powered by renewable energy are all part of ambitious plans to cut carbon emissions published by Winchester City Council.

In a December Cabinet meeting, the Council formally adopted a Carbon Neutrality Action Plan, following its declaration of a Climate Emergency in June 2019.

The plan commits the council to review its own activities to reach carbon neutrality by 2024 and sets the same goal for the wider district by 2030.

The aim is to reduce the carbon emissions that are cause climate change and to support environmental improvements in the district.

The focus is on the biggest sources of carbon emissions – transport, property and energy.

Progress will be measured and reported publicly.

Actions in the plan include:

Transport (1,500 tonnes carbon emissions through council operations – and 287,000 tonnes by the district)

  • Additional Park and Ride facilities in Winchester for example, 130 new car park spaces in 2020 increasing to 300 in 2021
  • An expanded network of electric vehicle points across the district, including on the council’s property
  • The council will progress key studies to implement the City of Winchester Movement Strategy – this will promote greener travel such as walking and cycling and better manage freight and traffic levels
  • Require buses and taxis to be low emission/alternative fuel by 2030

Energy (1,780 tonnes carbon emissions through council operations – and 172,000 tonnes generated by the district)

  • Source 100 per cent of all electricity purchased by the council via a ‘green tariff’ by 2021
  • Build or invest large scale renewable generation projects such as solar farms, heat pumps, solar-battery car ports, wind farms and hydropower
  • Install additional solar panels on council-owned sites and identify sites for renewable energy in the Local Plan (a plan shaping the future development of the local area drawn up by the Local Planning Authority)

Housing/property (420 tonnes of carbon emissions through council operations – and 193,000 tonnes generated by the district)

  •  A council-led ultra-low energy ‘Passivhaus’ housing scheme in Micheldever by 2021
  •  All new council homes will be built to the highest efficiency standards by 2024
  •  Invest an additional £1m per year on energy and water efficiency measures to council housing stock

Other:

  • Promote rewilding (restoring and protecting natural areas) and tree planting, starting with planting at least 100 trees annually on council land
  • Review the Local Plan to set development and land use standards that reduce carbon and increase sustainability
  • Act as a leader on climate change encouraging individuals, businesses and other organisations to reduce carbon emissions
  • Lobby government to give the council more resources to deliver the action plan