Leicester City Council have outlined what they need to do to achieve their ambitions of net zero carbon emissions by 2030, thanks an independent report.
The report set out the actions and investment that the council will need to implement if they are to achieve their net zero goal in the next eight years, with it identifying a response similar to that that came thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report did, however, say that the council is “the vanguard of local authorities that are aspiring to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050, having set the ambition for the city to become carbon neutral by 2030.”
Buildings, transport, and energy are the three places where the report suggested that a significant effort would need to be made, despite the completion of the UK’s first net zero bus station a matter of months ago.
The council has also led on a series of initiatives to help them along with their goal, as well as securing outside funding opportunities. With £120 million of investment since the original launch of the first Leicester Climate Emergency Action Plan, the initiatives include:
- Over £14 million worth of investment in the UK’s first net zero bus station
- Development on an £80 million programme of investment backing sustainable transport, assisted by £40 million from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund
- £25 million worth of investment in low carbon, energy efficient improvements to over 90 council buildings that include schools, leisure centres, libraries, and community centres
- Successfully bidding for £19 million in government funding towards an investment in increasing the city’s fleet of electric buses to over 100, worth £19 million. This was backed by local bus operators
- The launch of a programme of work on over 400 homes that will see them with external insulation fitted at a cost of £8 million
- Securing £19 million from the Levelling Up Fund for new low carbon workspaces in the city.
Councillor Adam Clarke, Deputy city mayor who leads on transport, clean air, and climate emergency, said:
“When we declared a local climate emergency back in 2019 and launched our first Climate Emergency Strategy and action plan the following year, we were under no illusion about the scale of the challenge we had set ourselves as a city.
“The conclusions in this report are a stark but valuable reminder that we can’t be complacent in Leicester’s collective responsibility to tackle the climate crisis. The report will play an important role in showing us where we need to focus our efforts as we develop our second climate action plan.
“Although we have a huge amount to do as a city, we have a good record don carbon reduction which we can continue to build on. The first Leicester Climate Emergency Action Plan in 2020 signalled a shaft in our ambitions and we made a huge investment in excitement and ambitious projects that will further reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
“It is important that the city council leads by example and does all it can to reduce its own carbon footprint to net zero, as well as encouraging and supporting other to reduce their own impact – something we are all increasingly eager to do. We know we need to do more but we can’t do this alone. To meet our ambitions as a city will require significant and ongoing support from the government and local stakeholders. We all have a role to play.”
The independent report will be considered by Leicester City Council’s Economic Development, Transport, and Climate Emergency Scrutiny Commission at a meeting on Wednesday 31st August.