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:
- Achieve net zero in the council’s organisational greenhouse gas emissions by 2030
- 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 27 full electric vehicles and 4 hybrid vehicles 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. Our EV charging strategy also sets out plans for further points to be installed across the borough in the coming years.
- planting around 37,000 trees over the past two years across 15 locations, including 9,000 trees at Pentylands Country Park
- harnessing solar power at Waterside Park using solar panels and battery storage
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
A 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.