To consider the Climate Change Annual Update 2020/21.
The Executive considered a report providing an overview of the action taken to tackle Climate Change by Stevenage Borough Council and with partners, through the Council’s joint working on the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP).
The following issues were raised by Members:
· it would be helpful if there was an SBC communications campaign about recycling/re-use of materials in order to inform and educate residents, in order to emphasise the fact that the collective effort in recycling/re-use would make an overall difference;
· in reply to a question, it was confirmed that the intention was for the SBC fleet of waste collection vehicles to be low or zero carbon by 2030;
· the Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods & Co-operative Council informed Member that he had asked the Co-operative Neighbourhood Teams to look for local initiatives/projects that could contribute towards the Council’s net zero carbon ambitions; and
· the issue of pressure being brought to bear on the Government to provide increased and sufficient funding to Local Government to drive Climate Change initiatives was an important part of the Local Government Association’s lobbying of Government.
In order to reinforce the Council’s expectation that all new construction schemes were designed with low or zero carbon measures, Members supported an addition to Recommendation 2.2, with the following:
“(vi) To work with the Council’s development and regeneration partners to ensure the Council’s construction work is making the maximum contribution to its net zero carbon ambitions.”
It was RESOLVED:
1. That the content of the Climate Change Annual Update (2020- 2021) be noted.
2. That the following additional measures be agreed to support the Council’s Climate Change journey:
(i) To develop the business case to migrate the Council’s corporate and waste fleet to low or zero carbon from 2028, in the interim commit to switching fuel supplies to low or zero carbon alternatives, subject to a detailed business case;
(ii) Following the Executive’s commitment to accelerate the SG1 Phase 2 programme, including a move to the low carbon Public Sector Hub by 2026; the Council will also develop proposals and a business case to reduce energy use, and reduce the physical and carbon foot print of other Council buildings;
(iii) Embed the low carbon ways of working the Council has embraced during the pandemic into current and future ways of working, to continue that carbon saving;
(iv) Support residents and business to reduce their carbon footprint by illustrating a comprehensive range of measures they can take, including education and publicity campaign, through a Communication and Collaboration Plan;
(v) Provide a total of £8,000 to offer grants to local Stevenage businesses to help transition their business to lower carbon and to supplement bids for low carbon investments. The amount is subject to budgeting for 2022/2023; and
(vi) To work with the Council’s development and regeneration partners to ensure the Council’s construction work is making the maximum contribution to its net zero carbon ambitions.
3. That Officers prepare a submission on behalf of the Council’s Executive to the Minister of State (Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change), making the urgent case for Government to:
· Develop a comprehensive funding plan for the retro-fitting social housing with energy saving measures, including electric heating, insulation, local energy generation and carbon reduction measures;
· Support Stevenage Borough Council’s multi-million pound bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund;
· Develop a carbon emissions pricing scheme that protects and supports local business, discouraging the displacement of carbon creation to more vulnerable places while incentivising business to invest in low carbon technologies; and
· Developing and funding a plan for a comprehensive, integrated and funded public transport system to offer people a genuine alternative to car ownership and driving, and a fully funded EV strategy and network. In Stevenage the Council is building a new bus interchange and bidding for funds to electrify the existing bus fleet, but the services need to be significantly expanded, reliable and affordable to people.
Reason for Decision: As contained in report; and 2(vi). To ensure the Council’s net carbon zero ambitions are reflected in the construction work of its development and regeneration partners.
Other Options considered: As contained in report.