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Stevenage Borough Council approves new measures to get to net zero by 2030

Residents, visitors and businesses in Stevenage can look forward to a greener future after Stevenage Borough Council’s (SBC) executive agreed to a range of new measures to support its climate change journey to the goal of becoming a net zero emissions town by 2030.

Stevenage Borough Council recognised the seriousness of climate change when it declared a climate emergency in June 2019. The goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2030 is based on an annual 350 kiloton reduction in carbon based on 2018 levels; equivalent to 350,000 return flights from London to New York City, or 1.2 billion miles driven in a diesel car. The issues driving this decision were, and remain, some of the most challenging ever faced by humanity, with our climate changing on a scale and pace that threatens our way of life and that of future generations.

Councillor John Gardner, Executive member for Environment and Regeneration, said: "Working towards Stevenage’s target to become carbon neutral by 2030 is an ambitious target and it is essential that we take the lead as the town’s local authority.

This is just the beginning of our work to get to net zero; we will take the lead in climate action but we will need the full and vigorous support of local people, businesses and funding from central government to get to net zero. We must act now to mitigate the worst consequences of climate change on our world.”

The new steps agreed include:

  • Plans to migrate the council and waste vehicle fleet to low or zero carbon from 2028. Before this date, SBC will commit to switching fuel supplies to low or zero carbon alternatives, subject to a detailed business case.
  • To develop proposals and a business plan to reduce energy use, reduce our physical and carbon footprint of our council buildings prior to the council’s move to the new low carbon hub in 2026 as part of the SG1 Phase 2 project.
  • Continuing the low carbon ways of working staff practiced during the pandemic in to current and future ways of working.
  • Supporting residents and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint by illustrating a range of measures they can take, including an education and publicity campaign, through a communication and collaboration plan.
  • Provide a total of £8,000 to offer grants to local businesses to help transition their business to cut carbon and to supplement bids for low carbon investments (subject to budgeting for 2022/2023).

Council officers will also write a submission for the council’s executive to the Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change in Westminster, making the urgent case for central government to undertake a series of further measures.

These include developing a comprehensive funding plan for the retro-fitting social housing with energy saving measures and to support Stevenage Borough Council’s multi-million bid to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. In addition, it will also make the case for developing a carbon emissions pricing scheme that protects and supports our local businesses and developing and funding a public transport system to offer people a genuine alternative to car ownership alongside an electric vehicle strategy and infrastructure.

Whilst Stevenage Borough Council has the power to reduce up to 30 per cent of the town’s overall emissions, there are simple steps we can all do now to have an impact on reducing our carbon footprint. Residents can make a difference by walking or cycling to local destinations, even if it is just a few times a week. You can also save energy and reduce emissions by replacing your lighting with low energy LED light bulbs which last far longer than older style bulbs.

For more ideas to cut your carbon footprint, visit our You and Climate Change page.