Southend and Thurrock recognised for green achievements

Southend and Thurrock councils have been recognised for their efforts to become more environmentally friendly in a new survey.

Energy saving company Migrate examined which councils rank among the greenest in the country and put Southend at number 28 out of the top 30.

Meanwhile, Thurrock Council failed to make it into the top achievers list but did come in at number 12 on the most improved list.

It comes as Southend is poised to declare a climate emergency which would include a commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2030 – 20 years ahead of the national target of 2050 announced by the Government in June.

Southend councillor, Carole Mulroney, who oversees the environment, said: “We’re very pleased to be placed 28 out of the top 30 council’s in the UK for CO2 emissions per head of population, especially because the list includes so many areas with much more green space than we have.

“Southend Council was one of the first local authorities in the UK to have a stand-alone low carbon energy and sustainability strategy, which outlines the ways in which we are working hard to lower emissions, whilst identifying ways to lower this even further in the future.”

The council has also confirmed plans to significantly boost electric car infrastructure, with the number of charge points increasing from 14 to 101 by March 2020.

The councillor who oversees environment in Thurrock, Cllr Aaron Watkins, said being ranked as twelfth most improved local authority was “great news” but did not say whether the council would follow other authorities in Essex and declare a climate emergency.

He said: “We will work with the Government to follow their 2050 plans. The plans to continue to reduce the council and Thurrock’s carbon footprint are present in ongoing work, strategies and campaigns, including but not limited to Air Quality Strategy, Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Transport Strategy, Cycle Strategy, renewable energy investments including wind turbines and solar energy, Local Plan, recycling campaign, investment in local transport including improved railways stations, supporting marshland around Thames Wildlife park and waste disposal agreements.

“By working together in partnership with our residents and business to make changes, such as using electric vehicles, walking, cycling, recycling and using renewable energy, we are committed to ensuring Thurrock continues to reduce its carbon footprint, making the borough a place where people of all ages are proud to work and play, live and stay.”

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter