Grocery delivery robots, an e-scooter trial and mass tree planting are just three of the ways that the causes and effects of climate change in Northamptonshire have been addressed this year - despite the huge challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought.
In June 2019, Northamptonshire County Council declared a Climate Emergency and committed to a target of making Northamptonshire ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030, and to work in partnership with others to achieve this.
As an update – the Full Council meeting of Northamptonshire County Council on 18 February will consider a report which outlines these key achievements in recent months.
The county council will also recommend that the good work that has already started will be continued by the two new unitary authorities after Vesting Day on 1 April so Northamptonshire will be on track for its 2030 target.
Already the executive committees of the two shadow authorities have resolved to establish a framework and set of recommendations so they can lead the way in tackling environment and climate change through their decision-making and service delivery.
Cllr Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said:
“While the Covid 19 pandemic is obviously presenting us all with some very big challenges at the moment, the perils of climate change have not gone away, and nor will they unless we all continue to work together to confront this issue.
“While Covid 19 led to many staff being redeployed to tackle the pandemic a great deal of work continued on projects to reduce carbon emissions and reduce pollution, which is a considerable achievement.
“I’m delighted that this work will now continue in the new unitary authorities post Vesting Day.”
Other successes this year include the county council securing £1.68m of funding from the Department for Transport to help support a number of active travel schemes throughout the county. This includes a number of measures to encourage more cycling and walking.
Additionally, and as another strand of the Smart Move Northamptonshire initiative, Northamptonshire County Council has secured funding to deliver an e-bike trial. This scheme will enable local businesses to sign-up and offer their employees an alternative way of travelling to work.
And the Northamptonshire Climate Change Officers Group (NCCOG) has continued to meet quarterly to help collaborate and identify opportunities for projects and bids that could support climate change action.