THERE’S still time for people to have their say on the next phase in Leicester’s aim to become a net zero and climate-ready city.
Leicester City Council’s new draft Climate Emergency Action Plan sets out an ambitious five-year action plan to help the city further reduce carbon emissions and adapt to a changing climate.
The draft plan was launched for public consultation in November 2023, and people have until Sunday 28 January to have their say.
The draft plan restates the ambition to reduce Leicester’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, or as quickly as possible after that, with government support.
It also sets out how the city needs to adapt to climate change to protect people, buildings, critical infrastructure and the natural environment against the impact of floods, storms, heatwaves and prolonged periods of low rainfall.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on climate, economy and culture, said: “When we launched Leicester’s first Climate Emergency Action Plan in 2020, we were under no illusion about the scale of the challenge we had set ourselves as a city.
“We’ve achieved a great deal since then, building on Leicester’s already strong record on carbon reduction, but we know we still have a huge amount do as a city.
“Our ambitious new action plan will aim to build on that momentum of the last three years. As a council, we will continue to lead by example and do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint to net zero. We also want to continue to encourage and help others to reduce their own impact.
“The council can’t achieve the goal of a net zero city on its own. To meet this ambition will require significant and ongoing support from the Government and from local stakeholders.
“We all have a role a play. That’s why we’re really interested to hear people’s views on what we’re proposing in our new draft action plan and what we can do to encourage more local action.”
Among the proposed areas of focus that will guide actions over the next five years are: further decarbonisation of council buildings, business units and vehicles; improving the energy efficiency of council homes; promoting access to grants for low carbon improvements for owner-occupied homes; and, helping more local small and medium-sized businesses save energy and reduce their carbon emissions.
Work to encourage more sustainable methods of transports will continue. Plans include more investment for safe routes for walking, wheeling and cycling; further improvements to the city’s bus services, with more electric buses to come; support for freight operators to reduce their emissions; and, increasing the availability of charge-points for electric vehicles across the city.
The new plan also sets out a renewed focus on the city’s need to adapt to a changing climate. This includes ensuring the council’s own construction projects create low carbon, climate-ready buildings and infrastructure; making sure the council’s existing buildings and infrastructure are resilient to climate change; managing council-owned land to reduce flood risk, help tackle heatwaves and support biodiversity; creating new schemes to help prevent flooding; and, ensuring that new development is low carbon, climate-ready and enhances local biodiversity.
Other proposed areas of focus include: improving recycling services; buying low-carbon, sustainable goods and services for the council; supporting people in fuel poverty with information, advice and signposting to grants; helping to ensure that private rented homes meet at least minimum levels of energy efficiency; continued environmental education in schools; and, supporting National Grid to improve the local electricity grid to cope with anticipated increases in demand.
People can have their say on the council’s proposed priorities, including what would make it easier for them to do their bit as part of city-wide efforts, by completing an online survey at www.leicester.gov.uk/consultations