BARROW Borough Council has revealed an ambitious plan to become carbon neutral by 2037.
The authority declared a climate emergency in July following a unanimous vote by elected members.
It has now unveiled a new climate change policy and action plan to detail the steps it will take to help the area contribute to global targets on carbon reduction.
Councillor Ann Thomson, Barrow Borough Council leader, described the plan as a pathway to a greener, cleaner future for everyone.
She added it also showed the authority was committed to reducing carbon emissions to zero using a science-led, informed approach.
“Barrow Borough Council declared a climate emergency in July last year with all elected members clear that this was an issue they were passionate about tackling,” Cllr Thomson explained.
“A huge amount of work has taken place since then with cross party support to work out what we need to do to become carbon neutral as a council and a community.
“The target date of 2037 is ambitious, but achievable as long as we work together with residents, businesses and partner organisations across the area to realise vital changes step by step.
“It won’t be easy, but we are committed to achieving this for Barrow and future generations who will go on to inherit a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable environment.”
Barrow Borough Council’s new climate change policy acknowledges the overwhelming evidence that human beings are having a profound effect on our climate.
It goes on to recognise the problems global warming is having worldwide as well as its potential to cause damage to the local area through rising sea levels and coastal erosion.
The policy, along with the action plan, is set to be discussed by members of the executive committee at a key meeting to be held at Barrow Town Hall on Thursday, March 4.
In order for the borough to make a fair contribution to global climate repair, it has a carbon expenditure ‘budget’ equivalent to 2.7 million tonnes between 2020 and 2100.
At the 2017 level of CO2 usage, and if no action is taken, this budget would be spent in its entirety within the next seven years.
However, if positive steps are implemented, Barrow can become carbon neutral by its target date of 2037.
This can be achieved through higher efficiency standards, sustainable forms of transport, more energy efficient homes, protection of trees and woodland and enhancing areas of biodiversity.
An inclusive citizens’ assembly is also set to be launched later this year to encourage residents and members of the business community to get involved with the ongoing work.
Cllr Thomson added: “We know that we need to play our part in reducing our carbon footprint and to help people to reduce theirs.
“There are lots of things that we can all do which collectively will make a big difference to the planet.
“The action plan contains a programme of steps that will help us move to a position of carbon zero by 2037. It is a living document that will evolve and change as we find new ways to reduce carbon emissions in the borough.
“There are also things already underway,” Cllr Thomson went on.
“We have been working with schools in Barrow on the No Idling campaign to help educate everyone about turning off their engines to improve air quality across the area.
“And we are looking forward to the launch of citizens’ committees to help spread this work as far as possible.
“This is going to be a big challenge, but Barrow is an innovative place with great people and fantastic ideas.
“We can do this if we work together.”
Barrow Borough Council Climate Change Policy
The Climate Change Policy was informed by calculations produced by experts at the Tyndall Centre.
It reveals the volume of carbon emissions produced in the borough every year.
Barrow has been apportioned part of the UK’s carbon ‘budget’ so it can fairly contribute to a global reduction in carbon.
Carbon usage in the borough has already fallen compared to levels of emission in 2015.
Further action will help bring the level to net zero by 2042.
Barrow Borough Council Climate Change Action Plan
Barrow Borough Council’s action plan sets out the ways the authority will help reduce carbon usage.
It will continue to change as work is completed and new ways to reduce emissions emerge.
Currently, these include:
Reducing emissions within council properties
Reducing energy consumption and making greener energy choices
Opting for more environmentally transport options
Reducing the use of resources and increasing recycling
Increasing opportunities for carbon capture and offset by protecting wetlands and other biodiverse landscapes and planting trees and plants
Increasing public awareness of low carbon options - both longer term and those that can be incorporated into everyday choices