To receive the annual Climate Change update in the name of the Director of Resources and to consider the draft Climate Emergency Advisory Committee update ahead of its submission to full Council in March.
The report of the Director of Resources sets out the annual review of the work undertaken in response to the declaration of a Climate Emergency in March 2019.
Appended to the submitted report was the Energy Strategy and Action Plan and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Strategy and Action Plan.
The following were in attendance for this item:
The Chief Officer Sustainable Energy and Air Quality introduced the report, and provided the Board with an introductory presentation that highlighted the following:
· The Climate Emergency Annual Report has recently been published, as well as the Net Zero: Build Back Greener.
· An overview of activity in 2021, including the expansion of district heating, significant retrofitting of the Council’s estate, the creation of new green jobs and the number of skills events being held in the city, as well as tree planting across the Council’s estate.
· It was acknowledged that the costs associated with such projects are high but it was further noted that there will be an economic impact if projects are not carried out.
· An overview of the Energy Strategy.
· Developing new guidance to ensure that new homes are more resilient to climate change and that place making reflects the increased likelihood of extreme events such as flooding.
· The Council has committed to buy and source food locally and to reduce the carbon footprint of meals served by 2030. It was confirmed that the consultation on the draft food strategy is expected in Autumn.
· There are challenges surrounding the eligibility criteria for homeowners seeking funds through the Green Home Grants. The Government is being consulted on the criteria.
· Transport targets for modal shifts include increasing rail travel by 100%, cycling by 400%, bus use by 130%, walking by 33% and decreasing car travel by 30%.
· Work with businesses and communities to highlight the co-benefits of climate action and to promote financial and non-financial support.
· An update on the workstreams of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee and its Working Groups: food and biodiversity, planning, energy and buildings, transport and behaviour change and finance.
Members discussed the following matters:
· Concerns with the challenging modal shift targets and uptake with electric vehicles.
· Clarity on the proposals to use the district heating system in greenhouses to produce fruits, vegetables, and flowers. It was confirmed that a feasibility study has been completed with partners to present low carbon growing in the city.
· The importance of visible role models was discussed in relation to positive, individual action on climate change. However, in the case of transport it was acknowledged that there are financial barriers for most households while the cost of electric vehicles remains high and public transport provision inconsistent, particularly in rural areas.
· In discussing a matter relating to gully cleansing, it was confirmed that the Chair of the relevant Scrutiny Board will be informed to consider this as part of their remit.
The Chair thanked those in attendance.
a) To note the contents of the report and comments made during discussions.
b) To note the annual review of the work undertaken.
Councillor K Brooks left the meeting at 13:00, during discussion of this item.