An action plan setting out how Northumberland County Council will meet its ambitious new climate change targets should be in place by Christmas.
That was the pledge as the cabinet declared a climate emergency and vowed to half the authority’s carbon footprint by 2025 as well as making Northumberland carbon-neutral by 2030.
As reported last week, the council reduced its carbon emissions by a third between 2010 and 2018, but is now ramping up its efforts.
However, the administration is clear that practical actions are needed to make this more than just ‘warm words’ and the cabinet also agreed that the council ‘produces a comprehensive and costed action plan for the next three years that clearly demonstrates the initial phase of delivery’.
Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member for the environment, said that the action plan will be completed by Christmas.
He said: “We did think carefully about the word emergency, which is a strong word, but this is definitely an emergency for our planet. We have listened to young people and we are quite happy to use the strongest terminology to get this to the top of the agenda.”
Council leader Peter Jackson said: “We are bringing this report forward to show we are taking this seriously, but also as a call to action. To say to the next generation that we are not going to take this lightly at all and we are going to make a significant difference to the way we take the authority and county forward.
The report to councillors was accompanied by a 14-page statement of intent, which outlines how the authority is looking across everything it does to make changes, from reducing carbon emissions to digital connectivity, procurement to the planning system, recycling to renewable energy.
Executive director of place, Paul Johnston, said that the target of halving the council’s carbon emissions is realistic in what is a large, rural county.
Coun Richard Wearmouth added: “Northumberland is so reliant on the climate – our farmers, our tourism, our beaches, everything here in our beautiful and green county.”