Adopting a Climate Change Action Plan, which would commit Gateshead Council to a series of measures aimed to drastically reduce its carbon emissions, will be discussed by Cabinet members next week.
If adopted, the plan will ensure that all of the council’s strategic decisions, its budgets and its approaches to planning decisions will be considered in line with the council’s determination to shift to zero carbon use by 2030.
The action plan contains proposals to:
- Increase the development of solar energy and heat from ground and mine water heat pumps.
- Expand the use of digital technology to reduce the need for staff to travel and to minimise proper use.
- Increase the use of electric and other low carbon vehicles within the council’s fleet.
The plan will also mean that councillors and chief officers embed the Climate Change Action Plan in all areas of the council’s work and take responsibility for rapidly reducing the carbon emissions resulting from the council’s activities.
The Climate Change Action Plan is expected to directly contribute towards the council’s Thrive agenda by putting local people and families first, tackling inequality, investing in Gateshead’s economy and developing new opportunities for employment, innovation and growth.
Also, the plan will address some of Gateshead Council’s existing priority issues, such as the climate emergency, air quality and nature recovery.
Commenting, Leader of Gateshead Council, Councillor Martin Gannon said: “I don’t believe that adapting the way we work to a greener low carbon future is a matter of choice. All the evidence shows that it’s absolutely essential that we do so and I believe it’s not something that we should be afraid of.
“As well as reversing climate change, with all the catastrophic problems that might bring, adapting to a green future will make a critical contribution to a more prosperous and equitable future for Gateshead.
“I’m looking forward to a future with warmer homes for people who are currently shivering in old and energy inefficient housing, where local businesses are at the forefront of work to develop new, green technologies to a Gateshead where everyone can genuinely thrive.
"There is already a huge amount going on, from expanding the use of digital technology to enable staff to work from home and reduce the number of work journeys by car, by developing new technologies to extract heat from the mine water that is flowing under Gateshead, and by working with Northern Gas Networks on the development of hydrogen as a heat source in people’s homes.
“There is a great deal more to do, but plans such as this will help us to know the way we need to travel. We’ll be looking to others to join us on that journey and help us to create a zero carbon future in Gateshead.”
Gateshead Council declared a climate emergency in May 2019 and this committed the council to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, as well as achieving 100% clean energy across the council’s full range of functions.
Last year, the council became one of the first local authorities in the region to appoint independent consultants to carry out an in-depth audit of the council’s carbon and environmental impact.
The findings of this audit have formed the basis of the council’s Climate Change Action Plan to reduce its carbon footprint and deliver on the commitments made in the council’s climate emergency declaration.
If approved by the council’s Cabinet, the Climate Change Action Plan will be referred to the next available full council meeting for approval.