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Cambridgeshire County Council bring forward net zero emissions plan

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The target date for Cambridgeshire to reach net zero emissions is planned to be brought forward by five years.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Draft Climate and Environment Strategy brings forward the date by which the county aims to be net zero to 2045.

The county council’s own ‘organisational target’ to reach net zero is 2030 for its direct emissions and plans to halve its indirect emissions in its supply chains by 2030 as well.

Cambridgeshire County Council bring forward net zero emissions plan. Photo: Markus Spiske
Cambridgeshire County Council bring forward net zero emissions plan. Photo: Markus Spiske

The draft strategy was presented to councillors at the recent meeting of the environment and green investment committee.

In the draft document it sets out the county council’s vision for the future in Cambridge, it said: “We will live in climate adapted and zero carbon homes.

“Our lives will be powered with 100 per cent renewable energy.

“Our communities will be more resilient to the impacts of climate change and will have space for nature to thrive.

“Our health will be better and we will have easy access to sustainable, local, transport and green space.

“We will have a circular economy that provides access to affordable low and carbon products and services.”

The county council plans to achieve its vision partly through preventing further emissions, flood risk management and improving biodiversity and tacking air pollution.

Specific areas of priority have been identified by the county council, including continuing its transition of council owned buildings to low carbon heating, and promoting low carbon transport, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport, as well as supporting the uptake of electric vehicles.

Councillor Jonas King supported the strategy because he argued it was “by and large” what the previous Conservative administration had “already put in place”.

He added that he was “disappointed” that the opportunity had not been taken to do more, and described the draft strategy as ‘lacking ambition’.

However, the chair of the committee, Councillor Lorna Dupré, said it was an “extremely ambitious” strategy.

She said: “There’s a lot of new stuff in there, there’s a lot more ambition in here than we had before.

“There’s the bringing forward of the targets, there’s the setting of the [biodiversity] baseline, there’s the working with partners both out in the community and also our volunteers and levels of local government, and grappling with some of the uncertainties we face.

“We know that the action plan will change and develop over time and that’s natural and absolutely right as we learn more, but I’m extremely proud and very privileged to be able to propose this document today for recommendation to full council so that we can have that fuller debate about this.”

The draft strategy will next be presented at a full council meeting where councillors will decide on whether to officially adopt it.

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