Shropshire Star

Telford & Wrekin in top three per cent of councils for climate change initiatives

Telford & Wrekin Council has been ranked in the top three per cent of UK councils tackling climate change issues.

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The council's use of solar panels was highlighted in the report

The campaign group Climate Emergency UK ranked the climate change action plans of the UK’s 409 local authorities, with Telford & Wrekin Council coming in 13th place.

The report also showed that Telford & Wrekin Council ranked fourth out of all the UK’s unitary authorities and was the number one unitary authority in the West Midlands.

The authority’s solar farm – which has saved more than 13,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions to date – and its 57 per cent reduction in operational carbon emissions since 2020 were highlighted in the paper.

According to the report, one in five councils in the UK has no climate action plan. Authorities without plans – including nine in the West Midlands – scored nothing in the ‘scorecard’ rankings, while Somerset West and Taunton Council came top nationally with a score of 89 per cent.

Telford & Wrekin Council scored 78 per cent, placing the council in the top performing three per cent of all the UK’s local authorities.

Meanwhile, Shropshire Council scored 53 per cent and was placed much further down the list.

Councillor Carolyn Healy, cabinet member for climate change, green spaces, natural and historic environment and cultural services, said: “This external validation is absolutely fantastic news for our team and for our borough. It shows that our plans are well thought out, well integrated and that we have everything in place to deliver.

“I’m pleased that this report enables us to identify areas where we can further improve our climate change work, and am confident that we will rank highly again next year when the extent to which we have progressed our plan is taken into consideration in the scoring.

“As our internal report at the end of 2021 showed, we are currently ahead of schedule to meet our carbon neutral commitment by 2030. But of course there is always more that we can do, so I am excited to implement ideas that we have drawn from Climate Emergency UK’s analysis.”

The council’s action plan scored full marks in four categories: commitment and integration; measuring and setting emissions targets; education, skills and training; and ecological emergency.

Climate Emergency UK stated that this first year’s scoring was intended to establish a baseline of councils’ plans and scale of ambition, advising that next year’s scoring will assess to what extent local authorities are on track to reach net zero emissions.

Telford & Wrekin Council leader, Councillor Shaun Davies, added: “I would like to commend my colleagues for their work and commitment to progressing our climate change agenda. To have our action plan ranked amongst the very best in the country is an outstanding achievement.

“We know this is a subject that matters to our residents, which is why we reinforced our commitment to tackling climate change with an announcement last year that we will be investing £4m to reduce emissions in our borough.

“We want residents to know we are on their side, and we will continue to push to achieve these nationally recognised levels of service delivery for our borough.”