Climate change

What the council is doing

Local authorities are directly responsible for between 2 to 5 per cent of their local area’s emissions. However, councils have many levers that can be used to deliver wider local action to reduce emissions and prepare local areas for a changing climate.

In July 2021, the council’s cabinet approved the Net Zero Emissions Action Plan which sets out an initial set of actions to progress the ambitions to:

  1. Achieve net zero in the council’s organisational greenhouse gas emissions by 2030
  2. Support the community on the journey to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which links to the UK-wide same date target set by the UK Government

Examples of actions being delivered include:

  • converting 26,000 street lights across the borough to more energy efficient LEDs
  • bringing 17 new electric vans into service for council duties
  • installing 11 double-headed on-street electric vehicle charging points (total of 22 bays) across eight locations in the Central and Eastcott wards following input from residents
  • bringing forward plans for new walking and cycling route schemes across the borough and further electric vehicle charging points, including the upgrade of Station Road in 2022 to help encourage more people to cycle in Swindon
  • providing free energy and home heating advice to residents through the Warm & Safe Wiltshire Advice Service 

This builds on the council’s record of seizing opportunities to reduce emissions, including leading these renewable energy projects:

  • Wroughton Airfield Solar Farm, capacity 62 megawatts (MW) - one of the largest ground mount solar parks in the UK
  • Chapel Farm Solar Park - the first solar farm funded by a council backed community solar bond, that won a national ‘Best Renewable Energy Initiative’ award
  • Common Farm Solar Park - the first solar farm funded by an ISA-eligible renewable energy bond

Image of row of solar panels

report commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change explains more about the role of local authorities in supporting local and national efforts to reduce emissions.

The UK was the first major economy to create a legally binding target to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. In October 2021, the Government published a Net Zero Strategy setting out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet this target.

This includes creating a Local Net Zero Forum to bring together national and local government representatives on a regular basis to discuss policy and delivery options on net zero.

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