If you are reading this page using a screenreader, we support ARIA landmarks for quick navigation too

Agenda item

Update on Council's response to the climate emergency

Report of the Chief Executive



Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Climate Change, MCI, Economic Development, Heritage, Arts, Tourism and Health & Wellbeing presented a report which provided an update on progress and actions taken in response to the climate emergency.


The Leader explained that the council has made significant progress in responding to the climate emergency. Delivery plans have been published setting out how the Council will deliver its objectives as detailed in the Carbon Neutral Council Plan 2022-2024 and Climate Strategy Delivery Plan for Wiltshire 2022-2024. He commented in detail on the seven delivery themes for Transport, Housing and the Built Environment, Natural Environment, Energy, Green Economy, Waste and Carbon Neutral Council.


Cllr Mayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills noted the incredible progress being made and asked about the Council influence on other organisations not under the responsibility of the Council. The Head of Climate Programme highlighted how the Council is reaching out and working with partners including Town and Parish Councils.


Cllr Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, Leisure, Libraries, Facilities Management and Operational Assets highlighted the work being undertaken at Five Rivers Leisure Centre to install air source heat pumps and solar panels.


Cllr Alford, Cabinet Member for Housing, Strategic Assets and Asset Transfer reported that the Housing Energy Efficiency Programme has undertaken a large number of retrofit assessments with the aim of the project to reduce the amount of CO2 produced by 15,000 tonnes across the council housing stock.


Cllr Ian Thorn welcomed the report and commented on the fantastic progress made. He indicated that it was important for the council to engage with other organisations to deliver positive outcomes for the county as a whole. Cllr Thorn raised the following issues:


·       The opportunity to improve the performance of waste and recycling through public information campaigns and engaging with communities. In response, the Leader and Cllr Dr McClelland agreed that there were opportunities to increase recycling rates and to continue targeting marketing campaigns in this area.

·       Judging success, reaching targets and identify progress. The Leader noted that the council is making good progress to achieve targets by 2030.

·       The impact on the County as a whole. The Leader noted that it would be very difficult to decarbonise the County by 2030, as this would be reliant on policies set by the Government.

·       Some concern with the direction of travel of the current Government.

·       Huge opportunity to include policies in the Local Plan as it develops on about the amount of carbon being produced to build the home and then how the home is run by the owners. The Leader reminder Councillors that the Local plan needed to be compliant with national planning framework and the consideration of the inspector. The Local Plan would be as green and sustainable within these limits.

·       To oppose fracking in the County. The Leader confirmed that there were no licences for fracking in Wiltshire. The Corporate Director Place confirmed that he would provide additional information to clarify this issue after the meeting.

·       The allocation of £1m a year between 2021-2025 to support activity on the high street. The Leader confirmed that work was progressing well and provided meaningful and transformational support to grow businesses, support employment and transform Wiltshire’s high streets to meet the needs of the local community.

·       Engaging with suppliers and communicating the council’s requirements in relation to the climate emergency. The Leader referred to paragraphs 90-93 of the report for examples of current work with suppliers in this area.


Cllr Graham Wright, Chairman of the Climate Emergency Task Group reported that the Task Group welcomed the council’s commitment to give an update every six months on progress toward tackling climate change. He spoke about the progress being made, the need for continued focus on the issues, discussions about the various delivery themes by the Task Group, welcome the opportunity to review the next report in May 2023 prior to consideration by Cabinet. He also recognised and appreciated the amount of work to the point, particularly by the Climate Team, and others across the whole council.


Cllr Chris Williams informed the Cabinet that as the Military and Civilian Integration representative for the Council, he had recently visited a military camp in Wiltshire and heard about their plans to become carbon neutral, the outcomes of which would be extended to other military camps in Wiltshire.  


Cllr Caroline Thomas commented on the funding of the electric vehicle infrastructure and in particular EV charging points currently not working in certain locations around the county. In response, the Leader explained that national grid capacity was the largest issue to contend with and others forms of green energy could well be available in the future.


Cllr Gordon King welcomed the report and asked about the outcomes if the Council were to achieve carbon neutrality. The Leader expressed confidence in achieving carbon neutrality in the county by 2030 for those areas under the responsibility of the Council, especially with the changes in technology. However, he did remind everyone that the journey was not simple and the measures outside of council control may be delivered by 2045.



That the actions taken in response to the climate emergency following the last update in February 2022 be noted.


Reason for Decision:


To provide Cabinet with an update on actions taken in response to the climate emergency.


Supporting documents:




This website