Council outlines bid to become carbon neutral

Essex County Council (ECC) has revealed the terms of reference in its bid to become a net zero carbon authority.

Over the two-year life of a new commission it has set up to reach its goal, ECC says that ultimately it needs in year one to identify ways in which it can mitigate the effects of climate change, improve air quality, reduce waste across Essex and increase the amount of green infrastructure and biodiversity in the county by drawing on in-house expertise, commissioning research and forming new external partnerships

In year two it wants to explore how it can attract investment in natural capital and low carbon growth

The task for the council is significant – in 2017/18 the authority was responsible for the production of 206,000 tonnes of CO2.

The commission is to produce an interim report to cabinet half way through the first year of inception, and make a further report to Cabinet, complete with a set of recommendations at the end of the first year on a net zero action plan for Essex.

In the second year, the commission will monitor the implementation of the recommendations in year one and provide further advice and guidance on an investment plan for Essex as it moves to a sustainable, net zero economy.

The creation of the commission was announced last year when ECC agreed the earmarking of £5million to drive the council climate change obligations.

The Climate Change Commission will be made up of council members, academics and other experts in the field, and supports environmental-focussed initiatives that will reduce the county’s CO2 footprint and waste, promote sustainable transport and build community and individual action on a local level.

A statement as part of a package of papers to be discussed at an ECC place services committee said: “The commission may want to encourage other organisations, both within and outside the county of Essex, to implement change.

“The cabinet will consider all the commission’s recommendations and make a decision, having regard to the costs and benefits of implementing them.”


Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter