Carbon, Environment and Biodiversity Plan adopted by Torridge

North Devon Gazette

Torridge councillors have taken another significant step forward to realising their ambition for the authority to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 by approving and publishing the council’s inaugural Carbon, Environment and Biodiversity Plan.

The plan’s drafting was delayed by the Covid pandemic but builds on the “Climate Emergency” Torridge councillors declared in July 2019.

The declaration was a recognition of the impact that climate change is having on our environment, population and communities and TDC’s commitment and resolve to assisting in the response to that threat.

Ahead of the plans publication this week Torridge had already implemented significant investment in carbon reducing technology such as solar panels, heat recovery plant and electric charging point at appropriate council owned buildings.

A first electric fleet vehicle has been purchased and the council’s construction schemes at Caddsdown and Tamar have won multiple sustainability awards.

There have also been wider infrastructure projects such as the rolling out of solar powered parking machines and electric charging points in car parks.

In addition to all of this, sustainability and biodiversity implications, are now a standard consideration in all new council project proposals and committee reports.

As well as contributing towards the council’s carbon reduction goals the projected savings from the measures already implemented are over £300,000, through reduced energy consumption and improving energy performance ratings.

The new plan outlines the opportunities for further reductions, how these will be measured, and how our rich biodiversity and natural environment, if managed sustainably, also opens up economic possibilities for the region.

There are also sections on aligning Torridge’s plan with those announced by Devon County Council, other neighbouring councils, and joint working with environmental groups such as the North Devon Biosphere Reserve.

The report also breaks down priorities and plans across several key headings: Energy, Transport, Planning, Biodiversity, Waste and Recycling, Council and Community initiatives highlighting the diversity of the task ahead.

To facilitate greater joint working and the council's commitment to net zero carbon a Climate and Sustainability Officer has been appointed jointly with North Devon Council, from June 1 this year, to expand on these opportunities across the rest of Northern Devon.

Torridge District councillor Peter Hames and lead member for Climate Change said: “Torridge was one of the early councils to declare a climate emergency and the progress we have made, despite the pandemic, is delivering both carbon reductions and monetary savings.

“Our ambition is for a sustainable reduction in carbon output to safeguard the future of our planet as well as developing the green economy and opportunities in the area.

“I’m excited to be working with our partners and newly appointed joint officer and look forward to delivering and reporting on our progress towards these goals.”