Tackling climate change is the most important issue facing humanity. It requires action on a global, national, local and personal level.
All of us have a role to play in reducing our impact on the environment and making our planet a more sustainable place to live for ourselves and future generations. We understand this at Wychavon, and that is why we have been taking action to tackle climate change for more than ten years.
The result of our early work on carbon reduction led to our first Intelligently Green Plan in 2012. Why do we call it intelligently green? Because saving the planet doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Yes, it means change and adaptation, but it also means opportunity. It is a chance to grow a new sector of our economy, and this means new jobs and money saved in your pocket too.
Our first plan contained more than 40 actions and included ambitious schemes such as investing in a hydroelectric plant to help power Pershore Leisure Centre, improving the energy efficiency of households and installing electric car charging points, long before we were expected to do so.
This latest version of our Intelligently Green Plan will take us up to 2030 and is even more ambitious than the first one. It sets out how we will contribute to the climate emergency by cutting the carbon emissions of our own council operations by 75% by 2030 and how we will lead the district to cut its own emissions by at least 50% by 2030.
These targets are in line with the national targets and the Worcestershire Energy Strategy. If the technology and funding is available to go further than that target during this decade, then we will. All of us want to see Wychavon district, our country, and our planet, get to carbon neutral status as quickly as possible.
The plan focuses on the things we can directly influence or control. We know there are other challenges out there that need tackling – for example, reducing emissions from flying or changes to agricultural practices. We will be part of the debate on those issues, but we do not have the power to change them.
Even achieving what we have set out won’t be an easy task. We will have to introduce new technology to run our waste and recycling collection vehicles and find new ways of powering our leisure centres. We will need to cut the amount of waste we produce, particularly food waste, improve the energy efficiency of our homes, encourage the growth of ultra-low emission vehicles and renewable energy.
We need to encourage and support people to walk and cycle more too. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us we can do things differently and positive change is possible.
We are also joining ambitious leaders from other, mainly rural, councils by signing up to the Countryside Climate Network and the UK100 pledge. This sets an ambition to make sure Wychavon’s towns and villages are powered by 100% clean energy by 2050.
The Government has already signalled its intention to make the recovery from the pandemic a ‘green’ one. We support that and the opportunities it will provide as we begin to build back better.
We cannot do all this alone. We will need the support of our partners, government and most importantly, all of you.
Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of the Council
Cllr Emma Stokes, Executive Board Member for Environment