£4m climate change investment to build on Telford & Wrekin Council’s ‘staggering’ track record on carbon reductions

Telford & Wrekin Council has today published cabinet papers revealing the local authority has reduced its carbon footprint by 58% since 2018/19, and has announced that it will be investing £4m into the borough’s fight against climate change.

£4m climate change investment to build on Telford & Wrekin Council’s ‘staggering’ track record on carbon reductions

In February 2020, the council published its first ‘Becoming Carbon Neutral’ Action Plan which laid out its commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. A baseline of 7,958 tonnes CO2e for 2018/19 was established, against which further progress could be tracked and reported. The council's carbon emissions in 2019/20 reduced by approximately 2,903 tonnes CO2e to 5,055 tonnes CO2e (a 36% reduction). Then in 2020/21, emissions reduced by a further 33%, dropping to 3,368 tonnes CO2e.

Supporting the council’s focus on this agenda, their £4m climate change investment announcement forms part of a wider investment announcement from Telford & Wrekin Council this autumn, which will see more than £16m directed into a wide range of projects to make the borough cleaner, greener, safer and more enjoyable.

The investment will build on the council’s strong track record on climate change which, in 2014, saw Telford & Wrekin become the second local authority in the UK to build a publicly owned solar farm, and which more recently has seen the council deliver £111,000 in climate change community grants, supporting more than 30 local organisations to reduce their carbon footprint.

The council now plans to fund further projects to reduce and offset carbon emissions in the borough, including retrofitting council buildings to improve energy efficiency, looking at insulation and installing renewables, extending their climate change grant scheme, investing in an electric vehicle (EV) van fleet, and continuing ambitious plans to plant more trees across the borough.

Cllr Carolyn Healy, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Green Spaces, Natural and Historic Environment, said:

“I’m enormously proud of the work we’ve done to date around reducing our carbon footprint. The reductions Telford & Wrekin Council have managed to achieve over the last two years are frankly staggering. We’re using this progress as a springboard to launch further initiatives to support our fight against climate change, both within the council’s own operations and across the whole borough.

“In papers being taken to cabinet next week, we are proposing launching an innovative financial product – a Community Municipal Fund Bond – which will be offered to residents. If approved, this will be a first for the West Midlands.

“The funding generated from the bonds will help us to deliver key climate change projects that will benefit the community such as electric vehicle charging points, a community forest, as well as a public e-bike hire scheme for the borough. The Community Municipal Bond will also enable local residents and organisations to invest in and make a positive contribution towards the borough becoming carbon neutral.

“This scheme, plus a raft of new initiatives and engagement campaigns, will enable us to drive forward our ambitious carbon neutrality commitment, and I’m excited to deliver the next steps.”

Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet will meet on Thursday 4 November and the Becoming Carbon Neutral Update papers can be viewed in advance here: https://democracy.telford.gov.uk/documents/s10464/Council%20Climate%20Change%20Action%20Plan%20Report.pdf