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10 of the steps your council is taking to tackle climate change

Published: Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Stroud District Council is the first council in Europe to be carbon neutral and we’ve been tackling climate change since the 1990s but we can’t do this alone - we need government, business and citizens to take purposeful action with us.

These are just some of the ways we’re meeting the challenge.

1.         Declaring a climate emergency. Last November the council took this step and since then has drawn up a long list of priorities to embed tackling climate change in every way we can – we are aiming not just for the council to be carbon neutral by 2030, but the whole district.

2.         Tree planting. Last year we planted 100 trees at Stratford Park and we are working on proposals to develop much more woodland including a five acre site on the edge of Stroud town, to capture carbon and help reduce flood-risk. To mark tomorrow's Global Climate Strike we are planting a cherry tree at Ebley Mill, and two oaks at Stratford Park donated by a resident. 

3.         Allocating an initial budget of £260,000. To make sure we stand the best chance of delivering on making the whole district carbon neutral, we have put a starting sum of money aside. We have appointed a dedicated Carbon Neutral 2030 (CN2030) officer to develop opportunities for carbon neutral progress and leverage funding to deliver projects. We have already invested in a renewable energy resource assessment and we are establishing a CN2030 Board which includes representation from all sectors active in our district.

4.         Waste and recycling. Thanks to our award-winning partnership with Ubico and our residents, we throw away the least residual waste to landfill/incineration per household in England. We take food waste, food tins, drink cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and packaging, aerosols and foil, and paper, cardboard and cartons for recycling.

5.         Improving transport links to take traffic off the roads. We’re upgrading the Stroud-Nailsworth-Stonehouse cycle path with Gloucestershire Wilfdlife Trust and Gloucestershire County Council for cycling and walking commuters by covering the muddy, gravelled sections with a smooth surface.  We’re bidding for £9million of Heritage Lottery Fund money with Cotswold Canals Trust to link Stroud with the national inland waterway network, and forming a green linear park in the process. So far around five miles of the canal between Stroud and Stonehouse have been restored, including towpath for use by walkers and cyclists.

6.         Cutting plastic waste to landfill or incineration. We’re working closely with Stroud District Action on Plastic group (SDAP) and Transition Stroud to reduce reliance on single-use plastics so our district can be accredited as plastic-free by Surfers Against Sewage. And all SDC publicly accessed buildings (council offices at Ebley Mill, Museum in the Park, The Pulse and Stratford Park Leisure Centre) offer free-of-charge water refills as part of the Refill scheme.

7.         Cutting SDC staff’s carbon footprint. We’re encouraging staff to lift share, use public transport, and walk or cycle to work. Work from home options and flexi-time are available where appropriate and if staff wish to attend tomorrow’s global climate strike they can do so in their own time, subject to their manager’s approval.

8.         Electric vehicles. Our small fleet of vehicles is ageing and needs replacement, so we’re upgrading to more environmentally-friendly wheels to help staff including our Neighbourhood Wardens carry out their duties with the least environmental impact. And we are considering how to encourage others to use electric vehicles on our streets.

9.         Prosecute environmental polluters. This year alone we have secured three successful prosecutions against those whose bonfires emitted black smoke – it’s cost them a total of £9,000 in court. We also clear around 1,000 fly-tips a year, and prosecute wherever possible.

10.       Cutting buildings’ carbon footprint. 600 district homes have been retrofitted to make them more energy efficient. Windows and doors have been replaced, lofts insulated, and solar panels installed on roofs – including Stratford Park Leisure Centre. We continue to invest in ‘Warm and Well’ and ‘Target 2020’ programmes support to all householders and small business owners to improve energy efficiency.  Climate change is at the heart of our Local Plan, to ensure that all built development in the district is carbon neutral by 2030, all new properties with off road parking are constructed with EV charging points and renewable energy is actively promoted. 

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