WITH lockdown restrictions set to ease a little more and plans being developed to help communities and businesses recover from the impact of Covid-19, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has pledged support for actions which encourage a green recovery.
The council declared a climate emergency in July last year and, since then, a Climate Change sub-committee has been established and has agreed a work programme to help achieve a carbon neutral district by 2030.
Recognising that the district council cannot deliver this alone, much of the work to date has been gathering data, increasing the understanding of climate science amongst councillors and council staff through training, establishing strong partnerships and engaging with potential partners.
The council has also identified opportunities embed its commitment to net zero CO2 emissions in key policies and strategies and to investigate larger scale projects including:
· Green energy - the potential for the council to invest in solar energy projects and wind farms
· Electric vehicle charging points
· Local offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions
Plans to set up a Staffordshire Moorlands Community Climate Change Fund of £10,000 to encourage community initiatives have also been agreed.
Councillor Joe Porter, cabinet member for Climate Change and Biodiversity, pictured, said: "We've all seen the effect fewer cars on the roads and planes in the sky has had on air quality and wildlife and, as we move towards restoring some of the key elements of a more 'normal' life, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really make sure we put green issues at the heart of our recovery plans.
"Tackling the climate emergency is every bit as important as it was before the pandemic but Covid-19 has had an understandable impact on the council's progress and we have had no choice but to delay some projects.
"That does not mean the work has stopped and I remain as committed as ever to ensuring we leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it. To help achieve that, we've got some exciting plans in the pipeline - including the launch of the grant scheme which I'm very much looking forward to sharing with everyone in due course."
Coun Porter has also been appointed as a member of the DEFRA Local Adaptation Advisory Panel which is aimed at ensuring local and central government work together effectively as local areas develop plans and actions to tackle the changing climate.
He added: "I'm delighted to be sharing our experiences here in the Moorlands with the Government at a national level so that we can help to shape, and also to learn from, the adaption plans being put in place at a local level across the country.
"It's yet another example of the critical nature of this work and the priority we attach to it at a local, regional and national level."