County council pledges to make Devon carbon neutral by 2050, to meet UN target

Exhaust emissions. Picture: Getty Images

Exhaust emissions. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It will work with other organisations to reduce emissions, use more renewable energy, and promote sustainable transport, in a bid to slow global warming

A ‘climate emergency’ has been declared by Devon county council after the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of the devastation a 2°C rise in global temperatures could cause.

Following a cabinet meeting on January 9, the council has stated its intention to make the county carbon neutral by 2050 and announced that it will work with strategic partners across the county to ensure that it meets the IPCC carbon reduction recommendations.

Some key areas include working with vulnerable people to improve the efficiency of their homes, and providing superfast broadband across the county to reduce the need to travel for work.

The council will support renewable energy initiatives that help communities generate their own energy, and promote sustainable transport projects.

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Increasing the use of local renewable energy will help reduce carbon emissions and energy costs.

The council will work with Exeter City Council, Exeter University, Exeter Community Energy and Swanbarton Limited on The Local Energy Market in Devon and Exeter (LEMDEx) to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG).

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Councillor Roger Croad said: “There is a climate emergency, and climate change will affect the environment, people, businesses and our prosperity.

“That’s why we will be working with strategic partners to develop a plan to ensure that Devon is on the right trajectory to meet the IPCC’s carbon reduction recommendations.”

Through the council’s environmental performance programmes, it has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 36% since 2012/13 and is on track to meet its target of 50% by 2030.

The authority achieved these results through the fitting of LED lighting, replacing less efficient boilers and swapping desktop computers for more efficient laptops. It converted over 25,000 street lights, which accounted for a significant amount of its carbon emissions, to low-energy LED technology and part-night operation.

Improvements in the council’s vehicle fleet efficiency, and technology such as Skype reducing the need to travel for work, have also contributed to the reduction of emissions.

DCC hopes these efforts will contribute towards its aim to ensure Devon is carbon neutral by 2050.

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