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Council leader statement on climate change January 2020

Cllr Paul Bettison, OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:

Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) has committed itself to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and therefore is actively working on a new Climate Change strategy. The Executive Director of Delivery has been tasked by the Executive, to lead on this work; although, it is clear that delivering on this challenging target will require the whole council, members and officers, working together, to achieve this important objective.

In Motion 02/2019, on 17 July 2019, a climate change motion was agreed at Council. This stated that:

“This council strongly believes in the need to continue its work to address the impact of man-made climate change on our local communities. To this end, this council asks the Executive to develop detailed action plans with measurable ambitious annual targets and an annual report to address this pressing matter to ensure that the council meets the government target of eradicating its net contribution to climate change by 2050”.

As I have just said, the Executive has already taken the first step in implementing this motion. That said, it is worth noting that addressing man-made climate change isn’t a new policy area for the council, or the council’s thinking and planning.

In January 2013 the council refreshed its commitment to action on climate change by becoming a signatory to Climate Local, the Local Government Association’s successor to the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change. The council also issued a Climate Change Action Plan in 2013 reflecting our commitment under Climate Local which was revised and updated in 2016.

We have already delivered, 14,500 LED street lights accounting for energy savings of 55% between April 2016 and April 2019 (6,261,869 kWh to 3,412,604 kWh).

We have secured £3 million of external funding for the residents of Warfield Park Mobile Homes, to enable the installation of mains gas - providing an average saving of 40% on gas bills for these residents.

We have supported the introduction of Personal Travel Planning to businesses and targeted residential areas, using funding from central government, as part of the Local Sustainable Transport policy in 2014/15. Walking, cycling and the use of public transport has continued to be promoted in marketing campaigns, resulting in annual bus travel, in the borough, increasing by 13% between April 2017 to April 2018. This is on top of a 2% increase in the number of people walking and a 13% in bike journeys, between May 2018 and May 2019.

There are many more examples that can be cited, demonstrating the council’s commitment and actions taken.

The Climate Change Act (2008), as amended in June 2019, sets a legally binding target for the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The UK has become the first country in the developed world to put this target into law. And, the council is fully committed to supporting the Secretary of State, to ensure that the net UK carbon account for all 6 Kyoto greenhouse gases for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

More specifically, as the council’s own climate change motion 02/2019 requires BFC to demonstrate it has eradicated its own net contribution to climate change by 2050, there is a need to generate both a start point figure (baseline) and milestone targets (benchmarks) to aim for; based on time windows, covering the next 10-12 years (2030), medium-term, up to 2040, and final objective 2050. We will use whatever resources we have to achieve and demonstrate achievement, of our objective.

There is the need to embed climate changing actions within the council’s DNA. BFC’s current Corporate Plan covers its commitment to tackling climate change. We all need to understand we have a part to play and everyone in the Bracknell Forest Council area is encouraged to build climate change considerations in to their day to day actions and behaviours.