The pathway to net zero carbon emissions has been set by St Helens Borough Council as Cabinet approves the local authority’s first Climate Response Plan.
The plan reaffirms the council’s commitment to achieving its net zero target by 2040, by cutting emissions across services, encouraging green innovation in industry, making homes greener, promoting active travel, supporting sustainable transport through infrastructure, and continuing flood management work to reduce risk.
The plan acts as a starting point for the council’s carbon reduction journey, while demonstrating the steps already taken to cut emissions in the borough.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for over 80 per cent of global warming, leading to rising sea levels and the breakdown of our climate. It is likely to mean warmer wetter winters and hotter drier summers with an increased risk of extreme weather events such as flooding and heatwaves.
Adoption of the response plan follows a declaration by the council in 2019 of a climate emergency, in recognition of the threat posed by rising temperatures around the world. At that time, the council made an ambitious commitment to achieve net zero by 2040.
Since the declaration, the council has been working to cut emissions across its services, promoting eco-friendly initiatives in the community and supporting the emergence of a green revolution in industry, most notably with world-first projects such as Glass Futures and HyNet.
It has also helped to establish an independent Climate Change Commission, with membership from local public, business and voluntary sectors, reinforcing the need for collective action on climate change.
The response plan will also be considered by local school pupils in the borough’s first Youth Climate Commission, to be held at St Helens Town Hall later this month.
As part of the report to Cabinet, members also approved the purchase of UK’s first custom built hydrogen waste vehicle as part of a wider fleet modernisation programme, with older, inefficient vehicles now being phased out by the council.
In a foreword to the Climate Response Plan Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said:
“Climate Change is a huge issue which impacts everyone, both now and in the future. It is crucial we take steps to tackle it and its effect, so we can all look forward to a greener future.
“Now more than ever we recognise the need to protect our environment and the communities we are here to serve. We face unparalleled challenges to deliver our existing core services whilst simultaneously transforming them so that they have no detrimental impact on the environment. Whilst this is daunting it does also provide us with opportunities to do things differently and to be bold and brave.
“There are many imminent planned activities designed to ramp up, scale up and demonstrate our ambitions and commitment to net zero emissions over the next 12 months and beyond.”
Councillor Mancyia Uddin, Climate Change Champion and Co-chair of the Climate Change Commission, said:
“I’m delighted that we are playing our part in the fight against climate change for our borough and our communities with the launch of our Climate Change Response Plan.
“Tackling climate change requires collective action at all levels. It’s why the role of the local Climate Change Commission is so vital locally, as delivery must be done in partnership. We are grateful for the early engagement and eagerness of our communities and partner organisations who we know are equally committed to this hugely important agenda.”