ECO-MINDED council chiefs in Warwickshire have reiterated their commitment to fighting climate change in the wake of recent record temperatures in the county.
Warwickshire was within the UK’s first ever red warning for extreme heat issued by the Met Office last week, which saw thermometers hit the high 30s centigrade across the county.
Climate experts predict such extreme heatwaves are likely to become a regular feature of British life – possibly occurring around every three years – further emphasising the urgent need to tackle the climate emergency facing the planet.
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) is one of over 100 other councils which are members of UK100 – the UK’s only network of local authorities committed to Net Zero and clean air.
UK 100 this month published a series of Local Net Zero Delivery reports to assess local government progress against the UK’s Net Zero targets.
The individual reports look at transport, energy, heat and buildings, finance, powers, clean air, nature and waste.
They found more than half of UK100 members interviewed raised funding, capacity and regulation/policy issues as the biggest barriers to realising Net Zero ambitions.
The reports argue that, over the last year, the Government had made significant progress in setting Net Zero targets, but without any sense of how local authorities should deliver them.
WCC climate change spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “Climate change means that we can expect more of the extreme weather we saw two weeks ago.
“This is happening when temperatures are just over one degree centigrade above pre-industrial levels. Even if the commitments from the COP26 conference last year are met, we will be up to 2.4 degrees higher.
“We have been very clear about our ambition to meet our Net Zero targets in Warwickshire and our continued commitment to work collaboratively with our public sector colleagues who share our ambition and commitment across the county and region.
“Work is underway, but it remains a significant challenge for us all. Later this year WCC will publish our Sustainable Futures Strategy, which will set out the way that we plan to reach our Net Zero targets locally, but we can’t do it alone.
“Last week was a timely reminder that we all have a part to play in reducing carbon emissions and every action we take, no matter how small, can make a difference.”
WCC Green Party councillor Will Roberts said there was no time to waste in taking action.
He added: “We need to adapt now. For instance, higher building standards in schools and new houses would keep rooms cooler in summer, warmer in winter and reduce energy bills.”
One of the ways in which Warwickshire County Council plan to reduce carbon emissions in the county is through the Green Shoots Community Fund, where local voluntary and community groups can apply for up to £25,000 in funding to support local climate projects.
Applications are now open and more details can be found at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/greenshootsfund
And given the production of plastic is already responsible for five per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for warming the planet and causing more extreme weather, Warwickshire residents are also being asked to think about ways to reduce their use of single-use plastic through a local campaign for Plastic Free July. Warwickshire County Council are sharing 31 tips, one for each day of the month, at www.instagram.com/bestwarwickshire
For the latest on Warwickshire climate action and ongoing projects, visit www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk