Agenda item

Cumbria Climate Change Group & Carbon Management

To consider a report by the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed).



Members received a report providing an update on the work of the Cumbria Climate Change Group, zero carbon Cumbria and the successful Carbon Action Fund Lottery Bid.  The report outlined the current Carbon Management activity and proposed next steps.


The Assistant Director – Economy and Environment (the officer) outlined the background to the development of the Carbon Management Strategy and the joint working that was taking place to ensure the aim of becoming a carbon neutral County and to mitigate the likely impact of existing climate change was reached.  The Cumbria Climate Change Group, that had been established in June 2019, had six key aims and were now focussing work around mapping out specific programmes and action across transport, energy, business and industry, housing, waste and agriculture. 


The officer gave a brief outline on the work the Council had commenced to support its response to the Climate Change agenda.  This had included introducing a strengthening of the Senior Manager role to include a clear “Sustainability” element.  Members noted other activities taking place within the Council and joint working with other organisation such as Cumbria LEP, within the Borderlands project and Cumbria Strategic Waste Partnership.   


To conclude the officer outlined carbon management activities linked with waste reduction and public health priorities.


A number of issues were raised by members.  The Senior Policy and Scrutiny Project Officer explained the programme of Carbon Literacy that was in development to increase understanding of the climate change challenge and the role of the council.  It was the intention for this to be rolled out to members and employees later in the year. 


Discussion took place around the nuclear industry and utilising the “run off” from this, involvement of scrutiny members in the development of plans, support for a circular economy and the positon of carbon management if unitary authorities were introduced.  The discussion led on to tree planting, electric bus towns, electric transport charging points, battery storage of electricity and new power sourcing for housing developments.  Cllr N Hughes expressed an interest in being part of the Climate Change group.


The officer highlighted the scale of change in transport that would be needed, a 70% reduction from normal levels similar to lockdown level.  A decision was awaited from the DfT on the bid for funding for electric bus towns and work had been undertaken with the District Councils in 2016 for electric charge points in the county but it was acknowledged that more work could be done on this issue. 


The Carbon Baseline assessment and associated action plan addressed the issue of land management and tree planting with opportunities for Cumbria to restore fivefold peatland and tree planting across the county.  The Senior Policy and Scrutiny Project Officer explained the multi benefits of this work as it would also help to alleviate flooding.  A member spoke in support of the Nature Recovery Strategy.  The Waste Operational Manager gave an update on the work of the Local Nature Recovery pilot at the meeting.


Following a question on the selling off of Council properties therefore just offsetting the building’s carbon emission, the officer advised on the Council’s Property Asset Strategy, the continuation of asset transfers and explained the work being undertaken with other organisations on the One Public Estate programme.


To conclude, members thanked the officers for their very detailed report.


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