Bridgend County Borough Council is leading the way in its response to the challenges of climate change and achieving a position of net zero carbon as a public body by 2030.
The local authority has been working with the Carbon Trust to understand its carbon footprint and see where it can cut emissions.
Welsh Government declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and has since committed to achieving a carbon neutral public sector by 2030. Carbon neutral or net-zero carbon is the balancing of carbon emissions against carbon removal, often with carbon offsetting, with the net result being neutral.
At a scrutiny meeting on Monday 19 July, councillors were provided with an update on the progress being made.
Cllr Richard Young, Chairman of the Bridgend 2030 Decarbonisation Programme Board, said: “In developing a position of net-zero carbon for council operations, we are seeking to undertake an innovative and radical decarbonisation programme across the local authority and in so doing, develop accurate, scientific and robust technical support to enable the delivery and achievement of this ambition.
“With Welsh Government guidance having only recently been published, we understand that we are the first local authority in Wales to be fully reviewing its carbon footprint and developing a decarbonisation strategy in line with the protocol.
“Bridgend county borough is really leading the way in terms of the Decarbonisation 2030 agenda. We are one of only two local authorities with plans for a District Heat Network and we are one of only two places in the UK in the running for a hydrogen and electrification fuelling model for our fleet.
“There is a lot of action taking place now, and planned for the future, with members support.
“The next stages involve the completion of the Carbon Trust’s assessment on our usage of greenhouse gases, the establishment of a citizen’s assembly in the county borough to help feed into the process, and a consultation on the draft decarbonisation strategy. This will then come back to Cabinet and Council to approve the strategy and action plan.”
Below are some of the projects currently underway in the county borough:
- The Bridgend District Heat Network. Phase 1 will serve some of the public sector buildings in the town with future phases having the potential to serve residential, hospital and school buildings
- The Re:fit programme. The local authority is due to start soon on retrofitting around 18 public sector buildings with energy conservation measures such as LED lighting replacement and solar PV systems
- Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEV). Electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the county borough will be improved following the award of a £500,000 grant from Welsh Government
- ULEV council fleet. Work is ongoing into the use of greener vehicles for the council’s fleet with the potential for solar panels on the roof of the Bryncethin depot to generate the power required
- ULEV taxis. Six ULEV taxis are being made available in the county borough for trial use by taxi operators as part of a Cardiff Capital Region project
- Tree planting. This autumn, 15,000 trees will be planted in six different parts of the county borough on council-owned land. As part of the initiative a special Green Day event is being planned with partner organisations where the community and schools will be invited to join in to help plant the trees and learn more about the wider wellbeing aspects associated with nature and biodiversity.