Published on 11th February 2022

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A new climate emergency action plan will create a pathway to Cheltenham becoming a net zero borough by 2030.

The council is committed to taking a leading role, as well as playing its part in working with individuals, communities, businesses, and other partners to achieve its ambitious net zero goal.

The plan - and a supporting investment strategy ‘Cheltenham’s Green Deal’ worth up to £10million - will go to full council for review and approval on 21 February 2022.

The news comes after Cheltenham Borough Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and pledged to work in partnership with others to make the town carbon neutral by 2030.

The action plan highlights the extent of the challenge Cheltenham faces on the journey to net zero, and identifies short- and medium-term actions needed to reach the goal.

The authority acknowledges its role in adapting to an already changed and changing climate and the fundamental leadership role the council has in ensuring Cheltenham is fit for the future. It recognises that global and national system change will be needed to support effective local change; net zero 2030 it is not something the council or its partners can achieve alone.   

Cllr Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for climate emergency, said: “We are already feeling the consequences of the climate emergency.  Taking the necessary action outlined in this plan will go beyond mitigating the impacts of climate change.  More plentiful clean energy supplies and energy efficient homes will reduce fuel poverty.  Promoting and protecting nature will help to create a more beautiful world. Switching short car journeys for walking and cycling or onto clean buses will result in healthier lifestyles and improved air quality – and urban areas will become more social places too. But Cheltenham Borough Council cannot do this alone – we’ll be working with other public sector organisations, local businesses and communities too. Everyone has a stake in creating a better future and we will all need to play a part.”

While the council has rightly been focused on supporting residents, communities and businesses through the Covid-19 Pandemic, it has still been able to progress a number of important actions as part of its climate response so far, including:

  • The creation, together with Vision 21, of the Chelt Zero partnership, with over 60 Cheltenham businesses and community organisations having signed up to the shared ambition to reduce carbon emission – to find out more and sign up visit
  • Securing significant grant funding to the tune of £50,000 for a variety of community climate projects, as well £380,000 to install electricity and gas sub-meters across council properties including the Pump Room and Leisure at Cheltenham.
  • Developing new planning rules to get a better deal for climate and nature
  • Securing funding to upgrade the energy efficiency of council houses.
  • Approving the use of HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) fuel for the Ubico refuse fleet to reduce emissions by up to 90%
  • Securing planning permission at 320 Swindon Road for 24 highly energy efficient new council homes.
  • Secured funding totalling £840k* to improve fuel efficiency in 61 homes as part of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. *£840k of BEIS funding (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy)

During the first phase of the programme, the council will continue to work with stakeholders to fully evaluate the options and the associated benefits, impacts, risks and barriers for each of the actions outlined in the pathway. It will also quickly begin a delivery programme to accelerate the planning and delivery of priority projects.

Cheltenham’s Green Deal

The pathway sets out the need for many initiatives to support both the council and the borough to become net zero, but to achieve the aims will require a significant and sustained commitment of funding and investment. The accompanying investment strategy sets the framework to guide investment decisions, manage risk and ensure value for the taxpayer, but most importantly it will provide a vital tool in support of the wider #CheltenhamZero objective for a clean and green borough.

Read the full council report and supporting documents (agenda item 15).

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