Shropshire Council leader talks climate change at national webinar

Shropshire Council’s new leader has spoken at a national webinar about the measures the authority is taking to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Councillor Lezley Picton
Councillor Lezley Picton

It is a commitment which was made following the council's declaration of a climate emergency back in May 2019.

Councillor Lezley Picton was invited to the webinar as part of the council’s involvement in the Countryside Climate Network (CCN), which is made up of ambitious local leaders from predominantly rural councils.

As members of UK100, the CCN is committed to delivering climate action in its communities and amplifying the rural voice as part of its national policy advocacy – bringing the best from cities and the countryside together.

Councillor Picton said: “I feel privileged to have been asked to talk at this event, and about a topic which impacts on every aspect of our lives.

“As a rural county, we have a huge part to play in achieving net zero carbon emissions, and it’s important that we all work together to make it happen.”

Following the declaration of a climate emergency, the council adopted a corporate climate strategy and action plan in December 2020.

This strategy establishes the objective of achieving net zero carbon performance for the council by 2030.

Co-ordinate

It also sets an ambition for the council to become ‘energy self-sufficient’ by 2030.

The council acts as a community leader for climate change and is one of the key founders and supporters of the community-led ‘Shropshire Climate Action Partnership’ which has developed and published a climate strategy for the wider county.

It’s also helping to co-ordinate and support wider community action to address local carbon performance.

A small dedicated climate change task force was established to lead the council’s response in November 2019 to co-ordinate work on this agenda.

Early efforts have focused on embedding and normalising climate change as a key consideration in the council’s strategies and corporate governance systems.

Infrastructure

Councillor Picton added: “Considering the impact of our activities on the climate, this has been adopted as one of our eight key organisation principles. We are also considering how best to introduce an annual carbon budget alongside our financial planning approach.

“However, these aren’t the only things we’re doing. We’re working with many private and public sector partners to develop a wide range of carbon management projects and initiatives, such as making the buildings we own more energy efficient; investing in electric vehicle infrastructure; and planting trees, which capture and store carbon as well as creating cleaner air in our communities and thriving habitats for wildlife.

“An initiative that is already planned is Oswestry (Maesbury Road) Solar PV, a large-scale ground-mounted solar farm, which is planned to be built on a former landfill site that we own. It is planned for it to supply power to local businesses, and we’re exploring the potential for additional sites to supply power to council premises and other public sector partners such as local hospitals.

“There is still a long way to go in our work to protect our planet, but we are committed to helping Shropshire reduce its carbon footprint.”

On Wednesday and Thursday, Shropshire Council will host a free digital conference focusing on climate change featuring many influential keynote speakers as part of Tech Severn 2021.

For further information and to book a free place, visit techsevern21.co.uk

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