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July 2022

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Published on 19 July 2022

Carbon Action Plan sets out Council's ambitions to tackle climate change

bubbles with CO written in them above a town view

Against the backdrop of the past week’s soaring temperatures, councillors will be asked next week to adopt the first part of an action plan that sets out how Teignbridge will reduce its carbon footprint in a bid to tackle climate change. 

Reducing carbon emissions is essential to combat the impact of climate change which is increasing the frequency of the extreme weather conditions we have experienced over recent years and which has been hitting Europe and the UK over the past few days, resulting in the first ever Red Weather alert to be issued by the Met Office. 

Publication of the 80-page plan 80-page Plan comes three years after the Council declared a climate emergency and committed to doing everything it could to become carbon neutral. 

Since then, it has measured its organisational carbon footprint establishing a baseline for reducing emissions, secured £3.1 million of grant funding to tackle carbon emissions, implemented a package of decarbonisation works covering four of its top five carbon emitting buildings, appointed a specialist climate change officer and collaborated with Action on Climate in Teignbridge. 

The Plan, which will be considered at next week’s Full Council meeting (26 July), sets out the actions that must be taken to work towards achieving net zero targets for buildings and supply chains. 

As part of the Plan, a separate Depot Master Planning and Fleet Decarbonisation Strategy will be developed to identify how and when the Council will work towards a net zero vehicle fleet. At present waste and recycling vehicles make up 75% of its fleet carbon footprint and the expectation is that we will begin to replace diesel fuelled vehicles with low-carbon equivalents, subject to market availability and technological change such as hydrogen fuelled vehicles. 

The Carbon Action Plan is intended to complement the Devon Carbon Plan which is expected to be published this summer by setting out Teignbridge’s role in planning, enabling and assisting the delivery of the net zero vision both in relation to its organisational and district wide carbon footprints. 

Executive Member for Climate Change Cllr Jackie Hook welcomed publication of the plan and urged councillors to vote to adopt it. “This is a major step forward in identifying the pipeline of essential activity that will significantly reduce our carbon footprint. 

“These actions will phase out the supply of natural gas, increase the supply of renewable energy, boost recycling rates, support tenants to install energy efficiency measures, promote cycling, walking and the use of e-bikes and e-scooters and much more. 

“By focusing on the activities which we can control we hope to quickly reduce our own carbon emissions before publishing part 2 of the plan which will focus on reducing carbon emissions across the wider district.” 

Part 1 of the plan published today covers what Teignbridge owns, purchases, funds and supplies/sells.  It details policies which set out the standards for phasing out fossil fuel consumption in the council’s buildings, sets net zero and low carbon standards in new housing and commercial buildings that it constructs; and sets standards for quantifying and reducing embodied carbon (ie emissions arising from extracting transporting, manufacturing and installing building materials) in new building projects. 

To deliver this the council will focus on switching fossil fuel heating systems with electrified equivalents including replacing gas-fired heating with a combination of energy efficiency measures and low carbon heating including air and ground source heat pumps. 

The second part of the plan - expected to be published before the new year - will cover carbon emissions associated with the wider district of Teignbridge including transport, housing, businesses, land use, energy and infrastructure.