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Action on climate and nature

What we are doing to tackle the climate emergency

The climate crisis is the greatest challenge impacting us locally and globally. To acknowledge this and take action, in February 2019, we joined a growing number of local authorities that have declared a climate emergency. 

Our climate action targets are to become:

  • carbon neutral within our own operations by 2030, with an aim for a 75 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in our own operations by 2025
  • a carbon neutral district by 2045, with an aim for a 75 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in the district by 2030

Carbon neutral, or ‘net zero carbon’, means there is a balance between the carbon emissions produced by an entity and the amount removed from the atmosphere.  Offsetting might be used to achieve this in some circumstances.

Climate Emergency Advisory Committee

Our Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) first met in October 2019.  Its role is to make recommendations to Cabinet on how Vale of White Horse District Council can reduce damage to the global and local environment through its policies and practices.

Climate change is the change in average conditions, such as temperature or rainfall, over a long period of time. With increases in the Earth’s temperature since the industrial revolution, our weather and biodiversity have been impacted.

Our Corporate Plan prioritises climate and ecological work through the plan’s themes of ‘protect and restore our natural world’ and ‘action on climate emergency’, highlighting that the climate and ecological emergencies are important areas of work for the council. We are also developing a climate action plan which will set out how we will achieve our carbon neutral targets in our own operations and across the district.
In addition to strategy development, we have lobbied government to:

  • Set clear standards through building regulations for zero carbon new buildings
  • Facilitate the urgent retrofit of existing homes to ensure we can meet energy targets
  • Provide local government with increased support for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including on-street charging
  • Review and simplify the regulatory framework to allow councils to maximise the use of their assets for electricity generation and battery storage.