Ahead of next week's Executive Meeting, several new project proposals have been announced to further reduce the council's carbon emissions. The proposals set out funding for more solar panels on council buildings, new electric council vehicles, providing the charging infrastructure in the depot for the council's switch to electric vehicles as well as increasing tree planting.
Commenting on the proposals Mayor Dave Hodgson said "It is so important that we continue to make progress against our climate goals. Last month's report showed that we are on course to hit our carbon neutral target, but this will still require hard work and investment across the Borough. We are committed to changing the council's fleet of vehicles to electric and other more sustainable fuels and this is the vital first stage of getting the depot ready to charge the new electric fleet. These proposals are the important next step in our journey to net zero."
The proposals set out plans to install solar panels on the roofs of council buildings such as multi-storey car parks, the crematorium office and day centres. It is estimated that such work will generate 191,000 kWh and reduce CO2 emissions by 50 tonnes per year. The council will provide electric vehicles for staff to use when on council business in place of petrol or diesel vehicles. The council's tree maintenance vehicle will also be replaced with a more sustainable, electric alternative. This investment will include providing charging equipment in the council vehicle depots, to add to the region-leading numbers of EV charging points across the Borough. A further £50,000 will be provided for additional tree planting, as part of the 10,000 trees that will be planted across the Borough this year.
A timeline of Bedford Borough Council carbon reduction strategy:
2009 - Mayor Dave Hodgson's Climate Change Fund set up to provide 50% match funding for improvements that reduce carbon emissions and energy costs of community buildings within Bedford Borough.
2011 - Adopted the Carbon Management Plan to set out a programme to achieve a 40% reduction in carbon emissions.
2018 - The council exceeded this target, achieving a 62% carbon reduction.
2019 - The council declared a Climate Emergency and pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030.
2021 - Annual Greenhouse Gas Report shows council carbon emissions have reduced by a further 15%.
2021 - The next stage of investment begins with proposals for solar panels, electric vehicles and more trees.
Mayor Dave continued "Whilst the national government lacks ambition and investment, this council is stepping up to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change. It is clear that it should be local government that receives more funding and powers so that we can continue our positive work."
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