WARWICKSHIRE County Council is looking green.
The council has been rated among the top local authorities for sustainability by the West Midland’s Local Authority Sustainability Benchmark.
Published on behalf of the Environment Agency, the Benchmark looks at actions taken in detail across the sustainability agenda. Overall, WCC was awarded a score of 67.1 per cent, which is an increase of 5.2 per cent on the previous year and placed it seventh of the 21 regional authorities that took part.
WCC gained high rankings in a number of key areas including ‘Resource Efficiency’ where it was ranked second, ‘Natural Environment’ where it was ranked forth and ‘Social Equity & Health’ where it was ranked fifth.
Under the ‘Resource Efficiency’ category, Sustainability West Midlands used WCC as its case study, showcasing its approach to waste management under the Slim Your Bin Campaign.
The report noted: “The council has put in place facilities for recycling throughout its buildings. Most buildings can recycle the following: paper, card, tins and cans, glass jars and bottles and most plastics. Some of the council’s larger offices have in-vessel composters providing the option to recycle food waste. Staff are also encouraged to use the waste hierarchy to minimise the amount of waste they produce, to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. They also help to reduce wasted resources and increase the efficiency of delivered services.”
WCC environment spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “I’m delighted that the work we are doing to manage environmental risks and reduce our carbon emissions continues to be recognised on a regional level.
“There is ongoing work taking place at WCC to assess and target reductions in carbon emissions from our estate, across buildings, streetlighting and vehicle fleets. We’ve been replacing gas boilers with efficient electric systems, installing solar PV systems, improving building insulation, increasing the use of electric vehicles and using alternative fuels where appropriate. Our tree planting programme is also ongoing, as part of our commitment to plant a tree for every Warwickshire resident and is now supported by the Warwickshire Tree Nursery, which recently planted its first 20,000 acorns.”
Alongside the actions that WCC is taking across its own organisation, it also has various projects in place to support Warwickshire residents, businesses and community groups.
Over the last two years, WCC awarded close to £1 million to Warwickshire community and voluntary groups as part of the Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund.
This enables Warwickshire communities to design and deliver their own sustainable projects to reduce carbon emissions. To date, 109 projects have been supported by the WCC Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund.
Progress towards the county being net zero by 2050 also continues at pace and forms one of the key pillars of the draft Sustainable Futures Strategy which recently went out for public engagement.