SLDC set to agree carbon neutrality targets

12 March 2020

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) is poised to agree a major leap forward in its fight to tackle climate change.

SLDC's Cabinet members will be asked next week (Wednesday March 18) to recommend to the council a policy which would commit the authority to achieving net carbon neutrality by 2030.

The council would also support a Cumbria-wide target of carbon neutrality by 2037.

Councillor Dyan Jones, Portfolio Holder for Climate Emergency and Localism, said: "There are many challenges ahead of us if we are to meet these targets, and play our part in tackling climate change, but time is running out and we all need to act now.

"South Lakeland District Council has consistently shown itself to be a trailblazer locally on action to address climate change and this is the natural next step.”

"We are confident we can achieve the 2030 target to make SLDC as an organisation net carbon neutral. This is the right thing to do and will influence others in supporting the Cumbria-wide target."

In March last year, the council, along with all other Cumbrian authorities and the National Parks, adopted the Cumbria Public Health Strategy. The strategy includes a key aim of becoming a "carbon neutral" county and mitigating the likely impact of existing climate change.

Cumbria's Director of Public Health, Dr Colin Cox, convened a Climate Change Working Group, made up of all Cumbrian local authorities and National Park Authorities, representatives of the business community, environmental groups and statutory bodies, which commissioned Smallworld Consulting, a Lancaster University based consultancy led by climate change expert Mike Berners-Lee, to prepare a study identifying the county’s current carbon footprint and recommending appropriate targets.

Leader of South Lakeland District Council, Cllr Giles Archibald, said: "These targets strike the right balance between tackling the problem, being deliverable and driving the necessary immediate action. Many major changes will be required by all of us if we are to be successful in meeting the county-wide target.

“This is a worldwide issue - the most serious global challenge we face - and it will only be addressed if we all take ownership locally and instigate meaningful action. By acting collaboratively across all tiers of local government we have a chance to tackle this issue, build resolve and influence others."

SLDC declared a Climate Emergency in February last year and also adopted a Climate Change policy setting out a strategic approach to reducing the carbon footprint both of the district council and of the district as a whole.

An Action Plan has been prepared, informed by Climate Conversations around the district, containing a series of measures to guide implementation of the policy.

SLDC's new Council Plan, adopted in December, also includes actions such as promoting environmental technologies and the green economy, promoting sustainable and active transport including cycling and walking, and working with partners to develop energy saving and energy efficiency initiatives.