Ambition to make council and district carbon neutral by 2030

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Cabinet Member for Environment and Place, at Braintree District Council

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, Cabinet Member for Environment and Place, at Braintree District Council - Credit: Braintree District Council

Braintree District Council's draft strategy to help the district tackle climate change is taking a step forward.

A special meeting of Full Council on Monday, March 15 will be asked to agree to a six-week stakeholder engagement on the draft climate change strategy.

The final Climate Change Strategy will be presented to the council in July.

The council declared a climate emergency in July 2019. They brought together a working group from across the district and their research led to the creation of the draft strategy.

It looks to make council activities, as far as practical, carbon neutral by 2030.

This ambition has been extended to support the district as a whole to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and to support communities so they can adapt to the impacts of climate change.  

The Climate Change Strategy attempts to complement national and regional plans such as the Environment Bill 2020 and Essex Climate Change Strategy.

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Last month Braintree District Council announced it has earmarked half a million pounds for climate change initiatives in its budget for 2021/22.

Prior to declaring the climate emergency, the council had reduced its use of single use plastics and its carbon emissions.

It had installed solar panels on its buildings, electric charging points on its land and other environmentally friendly measures.

Since 2015, the council has saved 600 tonnes of CO2 through the reduction of electricity use and 1,252 tonnes of CO2 through the reduction of gas consumption.  

The council has also been working on flood alleviation, on habitat improvements to increase biodiversity in woodlands and local nature reserves, and has been planting trees, bulbs and hedges.

Cllr Wendy Schmitt, cabinet member for Environment and Place said: “The climate crisis is the most significant issues we all face.

"We cannot achieve the district’s climate change aims and objectives on our own, so I am so pleased the working group has made such an impact and that we already have ideas from business and residents.

"Many activities which we will carry out over the next decade will make our district a more pleasant place to live by reducing waste, improving air quality and providing public spaces which are more people-focused, greener and biodiverse.”  

The council meeting will also be asked to approve a six-week stakeholder engagement on a draft cycling strategy.

Braintree District Council is working with Essex County Council to identify how to improve cycling infrastructure.