Huntingdonshire District Council will look to adopt the aspiration of a net carbon zero Huntingdonshire by 2040 at the next full council meeting, alongside the adoption of the OxCam Arc environmental principles, which have been developed on a cross-party basis by councils across the OxCam Arc geography.
At the cabinet meeting on Thursday 14 October, it was agreed that these principles should form the basis upon which to inform the renewal of the District Council’s own Environment and Climate Strategy, centred on achieving an environmentally friendly recovery. Additionally, the locally-led OxCam Arc environmental principles and adoption of the aspiration of a net carbon zero Huntingdonshire by 2040 will come before full council in December.
The environmental principles proposed for the district council and its activities 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
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
ensuring existing and new communities see real benefits in their well-being from living in Huntingdonshire
using natural resources wisely.
Executive Leader of the Council, Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: "Huntingdonshire District Council has a longstanding record of delivering a sustainable approach in response to the environmental challenges that we all face, by focusing on tangible actions, enabling Huntingdonshire to be a good place to live and work, with a good start in life and a place to enjoy good health. The District Council first produced an overarching Environment and Climate strategy back in 2007 and has been working on these issues ever since.
"Pride of Place was established in 2018 as a key council priority and as the guardian of 3,790 acres of green space, 106 acres of woodlands and a managed tree canopy of nearly 1,000 acres we protect and manage our natural environment every day. We have successfully planted pictorial wildflower meadows with an equivalent footprint of five and a half Wembley stadiums, helping to double nature and increase biodiversity. We have also already assigned over £2.5 million of investment in our green spaces and delivered a brand new park in St Ives.
"Since 2018 carbon dioxide emission savings have increased to over 600 tons per annum through innovative investment in our buildings, with a further 440 tonnes per annum projected to be saved by March 2022 thanks to a £3.8 million government-funded investment in decarbonisation.
"Our waste services are in the top quartile in the country, with a very high recycling rate of 60% - which has been achieved through education, communication and direct intervention when required.
"We are already committed to doing more with clear funding assigned to baseline our carbon impact and biodiversity again and establish even more actions to minimise the impact of our own operations, maximise our positive impact on the environment and influence our partners, businesses and communities to do more.
"Following our adoption of the agreed environmental principles, 2022 will see our Environment and Climate Strategy renewed as we focus on a green recovery in Huntingdonshire balanced against the need for good homes, good jobs and good health."
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.