We are committed to reducing our carbon emissions and influencing the reduction of carbon emissions in our area. It's what we committed to when we declared a climate emergency in 2019.
We are now building on solid foundations, after years of steady progress towards reducing carbon emissions by upgrading lighting to low energy lighting, installing solar PV panels on our buildings, and providing kerbside recycling collections to help residents conserve resources.
Our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions and influencing the reduction of local carbon emissions goes hand in hand with the 'net zero by 2050' target set by the UK Government, a goal that requires us and all sectors to pull together to achieve.
Our plan to do this will be called the Action to Reduce Carbon (ARC) Plan.
Our ARC Plan
Our ARC Plan will be our route map to 'net zero' for our internal activities. It will also highlight where we are trying to influence the reduction of carbon emissions from other places outside the council's activities.
The views of residents and partners will be reflected in our ARC Plan and help to shape the actions we take. This will include:
- Climate Change Residents Survey 2020 Feedback
- The Future of Vehicle Ownership Survey Feedback - residents' autumn 2019 responses around vehicle ownership and the move away from traditional fuel vehicles.
The themes of the ARC Plan
There are nine identified themes for the ARC. Each theme contains specific focal points where carbon can be reduced.
- Decarbonise energy systems
- Reduce consumption of unnecessary goods & services
- Embed the waste hierarchy in all service areas
- Seek opportunities to embed renewable energy technology within the Council and wider Area
- Prioritise & facilitate low carbon fleet option
- Prioritise & facilitate low carbon travel options (Council & Community)
- Facilitate transition to electric vehicles (Residents, Workforce & Visitors)
- Reduce unnecessary miles travelled
- Influence low carbon buildings by introducing a positive bias in our planning system
- Become a positive influence and advocate for climate change through all the work we do
- Provide and develop a sustainable Waste Management Service to residential homes and business as appropriate.
- View Waste as a resource with a commitment to the Waste Hierarchy
- Deal with Waste as close to source as possible
- Create opportunity for carbon storage and support habitats and adaptation to climate change
- Actively encourage a thriving low carbon economy to our Area
- Actively encourage a circular economy within the Area by encouraging & supporting business to function in this way
- Encourage sustainability through the supply chain
Work inside the council
Reducing carbon has already been made an important factor in internal decision-making. Any proposals, from new practices to policies, business cases, and committee reports, must all show how they will reduce carbon.
Every service in the council has been made individually responsible for reducing the carbon emissions generated by its specific activities. The council provides internal carbon-cutting corporate support, to help the services achieve their goals.
We have embarked on a journey of delivering Carbon Literacy Training to our Staff and Councillors which will put climate action into the hands of everyone and can deliver between 5-15% real carbon savings per individual.
Work outside the council
We represent, and often lead, local public efforts to cut carbon in our area, including by working in partnership with other broader parts of Government such as Worcestershire County Council and the departments of HM Government, as well as the private sector and non-governmental organisations including the voluntary and community sector.
We invest significantly in kerbside recycling collections to give residents the simplest possible way to reduce waste at home.
And we bring together public and private sector organisations to enable multi-agency partnership projects, by providing local leadership and officer-supported executive and administrative functions. This has enabled for example schemes to help decarbonise the heating of buildings, including through the district heating project and securing green upgrade funding, as well as upgrades to electric vehicle charging infrastructure and more.
When you do one small thing, it's not much, is it? But down your road that's 10 small things, and 1,000 more across your town. Nationwide, it's 1,000,000 small things. When we all make small changes, big things happen.
Here are some simple steps on energy, travel and waste to reduce your climate impact and combat climate change.
Your energy use
- Insulate your home well. You might be eligible for grant funding to get insulation.
- Use efficient LED light bulbs
- Turn things off when they’re not in use: lights, TVs, phone chargers, etc.
- Use 'smart' or timed plugs to automatically turn off sockets at times you set.
- Choose at least A-rated appliances only
- Choose ‘smart’ appliances you can easily control, such as thermostats you can turn on and off remotely.
- Choose an air source heat pump instead of a gas boiler
- If you get your electricity from renewable sources, then it takes less carbon to generate the electricity you use in your home - and you increase the demand for renewable energy too, helping to drive more investment in more renewable energy.
- For maximum effect choose a contract that's 100% from renewable energy, or a supplier that only provides 100% renewables.
It takes energy to move, and much of the energy required for travel is carbon-heavy. Nonetheless, there are simple things you can do to reduce how much carbon your travel generates.
- Once you start walking more, you’ll find yourself doing it more often, for further, and for more reasons.
- Using an electric vehicle creates significantly less carbon than using a vehicle with a combustion engine.
- Demand for fast, convenient air travel drives an aviation industry that produces vast carbon emissions. Air has by far the highest carbon cost of any available transport choice and travelling by rail, sea or road are significantly less unsustainable options.
Everything takes raw materials to create, energy to produce, transport to move, and then has to be dealt with at the end of its life. For this reason, 'reduce, reuse, recycle' is the three-step waste mantra worldwide. Reduce your carbon:
- Do you really need it? How much do you want it? The lowest-carbon decision you can make is not to buy it at all.
- Choose sustainably-manufactured products that are made to last, to avoid waste. Cheap alternatives may only be 'cheap' because you’ll soon be buying another one, or because proper environmental care has been skimped on.
- Single use plastics are an easy thing to cut down on when out and about. Use your own refillable bottle for water and check out the Refill Scheme to find local places to fill up!
- Have a look at lots of other ways you can cut down on waste, from using zero waste shops to stopping unwanted junk mail.
- When buying, choose reusable or non-disposable over one-use or disposable
- Has it got any life left in it? How could you reuse it? Could it have a new lease of life? Could you pass it on to someone who might use it? Here are some tools for reusing things.