Cannock Chase Council’s Cabinet has made a series of recommendations concerning climate change commitments for the District. It follows the publication of a detailed costed action plan commissioned from the consultants AECOM.
Currently, the Council is committed to the whole of Cannock Chase District becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030 as agreed by councillors in a Climate Emergency Motion in July 2019.
With the costed action plan now produced, Councillors and officers have a better idea of what it will take to tackle climate change across the District and reach carbon neutrality.
The costed action plan estimates that the District produces 361,2 kilo tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year, while Cannock Chase Council’s proportion of this is only 2,521 kilo tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gases or 0.7 per cent of emissions - even after taking in to account all its services, such as waste collection.
The AECOM report proposes that it will cost around £4.7bn of capital investment to make the entire District carbon neutral by 2030 and will require £21m of investment to do the groundwork, prior to any capital investment taking place. It has identified 119 projects that would help to achieve carbon neutrality. As well as the above cost the report also highlights issues with technology, scale and pace, and supply and manufacturing as barriers to the Council’s 2030 target.
Given the figures involved and the current state of the economy, Cabinet is therefore recommending that Cannock Chase Council modifies its 2030 carbon neutral target to become an organisational target rather than a commitment for the whole District.
The report also recommends looking to align any future target with other Staffordshire councils, or regional bodies. Many Staffordshire councils have set organisational targets only rather than district/borough wide targets, which vary from 2030 to 2050.
Going forward it recommends that a strategy is produced for the Council to reach net carbon zero, which is fully costed and outlines how the council, as an organisation, will become carbon neutral by the end of this decade. A dedicated budget would also be established during the 2023/24 budget setting process.
Councillor Justin Johnson, Environment and Climate Change Portfolio Leader said: “In making these recommendations we want to stress that Cabinet is fully committed to achieving carbon neutrality. It is one of the Council’s priority delivery plans and we are aware that one of the biggest roles that we as a Council can play is as an influencer of what happens within our District, in regard to climate change.
“However, achieving carbon neutrality in Cannock Chase is going to be something we will all need to support and get involved in, whether as residents, businesses or as organisations like the Council.
“The report to Cabinet on the costed action plan showed that Council officers have been working on 25 different community and organisational climate related projects in the past 18 months. These include working with the Energy Saving Trust on public electric vehicle charging infrastructure and low emission taxis; creating the Council’s first Urban Forest at Bradbury Lane in Pye Green; and undertaking a climate change awareness campaign on social media, online and in the Council’s magazine.
“AECOM’s plan is a helpful reality check on what will be needed to reach carbon neutrality and has provided extremely helpful information to guide us over the coming years. We also note that for many other organisations, including the Government, the target to become carbon neutral is post 2030.”
All of the recommendations will be put to councillors at the next Council meeting on 18 January.
Councillor Justin Johnson, Environment and Climate Change Portfolio Leader.