The Board considered the report of the Portfolio Holder for Energy, Environment and Democratic Services recommending the adoption of the 2028 Carbon Neutral Action Plan. After declaring a Climate and Ecological emergency in January 2020 consultation with the public and partners took place. Despite the Covid-19 crisis there have been over 1000 responses from the public, partners and stakeholders and the plan has been revised. During discussion, the following points were highlighted:
(a) Following the consultation the scope of the report has been shifted focus from offsetting Carbon emissions to removing them. This reflects the desire to remove carbon emissions from the city rather than simply offsetting them from elsewhere;
(b) There will be a greater emphasis on tackling the climate and ecological emergency, with a whole new section of the plan dedicated to biodiversity. Following input from Street Scene teams and local environmental groups there will be work around supporting vulnerable native species and increasing pollinators through a city with increased tree cover;
(c) Some elements planned may need to be reassessed given the impact of Covid-19 and the additional expenditure the Council has had to find;
(d) Parks and open spaces within the city have become hugely important as the city responds to the Covi-19 outbreak. Use of parks has increased and as part of the Council plan there are plans to plant many thousands of trees throughout the city. Parks are working hard to increase biodiversity;
(e) Developers are being asked to look at ensuring energy efficiency in homes and incorporating green schemes within builds. Council properties have embraced energy saving technology where possible and a programme of retrofitting of energy inefficient homes has been implemented;
(f) The Plan is a culmination of many years work on sustainability. Nottingham has a reputation for its outstanding work in this field. The bus fleet in Nottingham is one of the cleanest in the country;
(1) Adopt the revised Action Plan to make Nottingham Carbon Neutral by 2028 along with the proposed governance structure and management arrangements; and
(2) Endorse a review of the above arrangements in 12 months time (July 2021) to ensure they continue to effectively deliver the overall commitment.
Reason for the decision
The City has a long history of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, with a reduction of 41% between 2005 and 2017. Adopting the plan will build on this reputation and will enhance the work already being done to improve air quality, biodiversity and energy efficiency. The consultation and its wide ranging response showed the Council that there is support for the plan and for action to reduce carbon emissions.
Following a commitment in 2019 to become Carbon neutral by 2028 this now forms part of the Council Plan 2019-2023 and is a priority.
Other options considered
The other option considered was to do nothing. This option was rejected as it would leave the Council in contradiction to its declaration, and commitments made, under the Climate and Ecological emergency. The Council would not be able to deliver against the Carbon neutral target and doing nothing would leave the Council unable to meet other legal requirements for Local Authorities relating to climate change.