£3.3million funding planned to tackle climate change in Northumberland

Councillors in Northumberland will be asked to sign off on an extra £3.3million of funding for the next three years in a bid to tackle the climate emergency.

Monday, 2nd December 2019, 5:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 7:24 pm
Picture c/o Pixabay

At next Tuesday’s (December 10) meeting of the county council’s cabinet, members are set to approve the Climate Action Plan for 2020-21 and beyond.

This follows the declaration of a climate emergency in the summer, with pledges to reduce the authority’s emissions by half by 2025 and make the county carbon-neutral by 2030.

The action plan is then due to go before the full council in January, where members will be asked to approve additional capital funding of £3.36million to cover the period 2020-21 to 2022-23, as well as annual revenue spending of £80,125 starting in the next financial year.

The plan, which has five key themes – energy generation, energy consumption, emissions capture, policy and engagement, sets out the current situation on emissions and energy consumption, work taking place now and proposals for the future, as well as how success can be measured and monitored.

Current projects include additional tree planting, installing more electric vehicle charging points, making the council’s fleet of vehicles greener and efforts to bring back passengers rail services to south-east Northumberland.

Future proposals include ‘working with public-transport service providers to improve access to bus and rail services’ and ‘continuing to build Energy Central in Blyth as a premier deep-water East Coast UK energy base – attracting clean growth investment to the county’.

The 23-page document also lists the partners involved in the process, which includes Climate Action Network Northumberland, Friends of the Earth, schools and the Youth Parliament, and the North East England Chamber of Commerce.

In the executive summary of the plan, Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member for the environment, states: ‘Individual actions count, every one of them, and the sooner we all reduce our emissions the more effect they will have on curbing global temperature rises in the critical time period needed.

‘We hope the engagement, projects, planning and support provided in our plan benefits both the planet and our people, reducing carbon, bringing jobs through clean growth and reducing costs as we attempt this hugely ambitious yet vitally important task.

‘This action plan will be reviewed and updated each year, so we can track our progress towards achieving a net zero Northumberland by 2030.’

In the introduction, council leader Peter Jackson adds: ‘I sincerely hope our commitment to the climate is fully realised, it will require a change in our approach to everyday life in areas which have an impact on the climate.

‘We also have to attract significant investment and funding in the application and advancements of low and zero-carbon technologies.

‘Nonetheless, we have made progress in positioning the county to allow this change, such as securing the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, and there are a number of areas where the council can make a difference in the short to medium term, building momentum for our local action to be increasingly driven by a respect for and a desire to protect the environment for future generations to enjoy.’