Council approves sustainability plan
Friday, 25 September 2020
Last night (Thursday 24 September) a full meeting of Central Bedfordshire Council adopted its new Sustainability Plan aimed at making the council carbon neutral by 2030.
The detailed plan outlines a ‘road map’ developed jointly by officers and elected members and it commits the council to lead by example by investing in sustainability while encouraging and working with others – residents, businesses and key partners - to do the same.
It follows a July 2019 climate action motion which was also supported by all councillors.
Councillor Steve Dixon, Executive Member for Transformation and External Partnerships said:
We’ve deliberately called this a plan, because that’s exactly what it is. Clearly defined steps towards our carbon neutral goal.
Members will be given annual progress reports in late spring with success measured against a detailed survey of the current council carbon footprint.
Added Councillor Dixon:
We are going to appoint a sustainability lead to co-ordinate our work and provide expert advice, working alongside our staff from all departments, to ensure sustainability is at the heart of everything that we do.
We have a host of other projects which will not only make our residents’ lives and our local businesses greener but get everyone thinking about the climate challenge and what steps can be taken by an individual or on a community basis.
As a council we’ve already got solar panels on 16 of our buildings with another installation planned. But we are going to be looking at the rest of the estate and work with more schools like the eight we have already helped install theirs. This will be taken forward along side a concerted effort to reduce energy use from all our buildings as well as making best use of other technologies, such as battery storage.
We will target working with schools to support pupils take actions like conserving water, litter picking and hedge, tree and wildflower planting to with the aim of achieving Keep Britain Tidy’s Eco-School status.
As well as converting all of our streetlights to more energy efficient LEDs we’ll be looking to make lampposts smarter, able to react to different light conditions and even install electric vehicle charging points in some of them, as well as working to expand and enhance the network of electric vehicle charging points across Central Bedfordshire.
We’ve bolder projects as well, ranging from delivering the significant commitment that was made by Full Council in February 2020 to plant significantly more trees, improving and enhancing cycling routes, as well as embracing innovation, initially at our Highways Depots and eventually through the setting up of a Innovation Hub.
Some might argue with us for adopting the plan during the pandemic but I would argue there is no better time as we want the economic recovery to be a green and sustainable one.