In April 2019 the Council supported a Climate Emergency motion, setting a target that the Council will become carbon neutral by 2030. Since then a working group of councillors and staff has worked to establish what the carbon footprint of our organisation is, identify opportunities to reduce our carbon emissions, and prepare an action plan to reach a zero carbon target by 2030.
Today Councillors unanimously endorsed the commitment to move towards a zero carbon future through the preparation of a plan, including a reworking of the existing climate change strategy, and the identification of funding solutions.
The single biggest source of carbon emissions for the council is electricity use. The Council will therefore be switching to a 100% renewable electricity tariff as soon as possible. The Council will also look for other ways of reducing carbon emissions through an eco-pledge and a travel plan.
One aspect of the Climate Emergency motion is to work with partners to reduce carbon emissions. The Council will therefore be hosting a forum this winter, inviting businesses and organisations that operate on Scilly to join us in a zero carbon vision.
Smart Islands has produced a new vision of self-sufficiency and resilience, coinciding with this Climate Emergency work. The revised vision is focussed on meeting 100% of the islands’ electricity needs through renewables, providing energy efficient housing, reducing waste, and delivering low carbon transport on and between islands and the mainland.
Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Smith, commented “This piece of work is a major step forward for the Council in local climate leadership. Frankly it’s time that we really walked the talk, and I am delighted that we have taken good first steps on this zero carbon journey. 2019 has been a watershed year for the world waking up to the unfolding climate emergency. Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg have stolen the headlines, but let’s not forget the millions of ordinary people also pressurising their politicians, businesses they buy from, friends and family to take action to urgently cut carbon emissions. Not least our own school children on Scilly reminding us that we need to take action at a local level, and fully engaging in the democratic process. I’m looking forward to help drive forward positive action from the Council, as well as engaging with people and organisations on what everyone can do to reduce their environmental impacts.”