At a full council meeting on Tuesday 7 December, Huntingdonshire District Council adopted the aspiration of a net carbon zero Huntingdonshire by 2040, as well as the cross-party developed OxCam Arc environmental principles.

The ambitions were recommended to the District Council’s full council meeting by Cabinet back in October. It has been agreed that these environmental principles and the adoption of the aspiration of a net carbon zero Huntingdonshire by 2040 will form the basis upon which the District Council will renew the Environment and Climate Strategy, centred on achieving an environmentally-friendly recovery and future for the district.

The environmental principles adopted by the District Council are:

  • to target net-zero carbon at a district level by 2040

  • to protect, enhance and restore existing nature areas (green spaces) and create new ones (where it is viable to do so)

  • to pursue the ambitions of 'A Green Future: Our 25-year Plan to Improve the Environment' and that new development should be designed with a view to minimising and mitigating the effects of climate change

  • to ensure existing and new communities see real benefits in their well-being from living in Huntingdonshire

  • to use natural resources wisely.

Executive Leader of the Council, Councillor Ryan Fuller, said: "The council has a duty to ensure we promote an environmentally positive recovery in Huntingdonshire following the impacts of COVID-19 and to limit the negative impacts of climate change. We also have a duty to deliver sustainable placemaking. This will be achieved through strong economic growth with strong environmental principles, good design of our homes and infrastructure, and health and biodiversity net gain at the core to ensure our residents thrive now, and in the future.

"Clear environmental principles that we have now adopted will support the council to renew its Strategy for the Environment and its role in an environmentally positive recovery for Huntingdonshire as we move beyond the Covid crisis.

"We have direct control of only a tiny proportion of all the carbon emissions within Huntingdonshire, but we can adopt a key role to influence the district, demonstrating good practice whilst setting policies and strategies to influence businesses and communities to tackle climate change whilst enabling sustainable living and growth."

Following the support that Huntingdonshire District Council has given to local communities and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 will see the Environment Strategy renewed to focus on a green recovery in Huntingdonshire balanced against the need for good homes, good jobs and good health. The upcoming refresh of the strategy and coordinated plan in 2022 will aim to minimise the impact of the District Council’s operations and to maximise the positive impact on the local environment and influence our partners, businesses and communities to do more.