To consider the 2021 report of the Climate Emergency Task and Finish Group.
The Committee considered the 2021 report of the Climate Emergency Task and Finish Group, as set out at Agenda pages 125 to 166.
The Task and Finish Group had focussed on transport, homes, renewable energy and behaviour change. The Group’s proposed 2021 recommendations to the Council’s Executive were:
i) Ensure that the transport hierarchy set out in the Group’s report is embedded into all highways and development planning and decisions. This includes ensuring that the Local Transport Plan (LTP4) and all subsequent iterations of the LTP are consistent with the CEAP and reflect the proposed transport hierarchy. Different highways teams must work collaboratively on this basis.
ii) Review the road building proposals and measures for tackling congestion in the Medium Term Financial Plan (2021-24) to ensure that they are consistent with the CEAP and the transport hierarchy set out in the report and do not generate induced demand.
iii) Undertake a Borough-wide Journey Needs Assessment, including consultation with key stakeholders, and use it to assess the viability of “green” transport options. In addition to walking, cycling and public transport, options should include electric bikes and scooters, autonomous guided pods (similar to the Heathrow Pod system), electric taxis and electric “last mile” delivery fulfilment.
iv) Review and adjust the CEAP targets to reflect the Government’s announcement that the sale of new petrol/diesel cars and vans will end in 2030. Alongside this, develop a communication campaign and series of events to normalise the use of electric vehicles (EVs), linking with the strategy to provide the necessary EV charging infrastructure (this will include working with vendors).
v) Ensure that the Bus Service Improvement Plan reflects the Group’s recommended transport hierarchy, identifies barriers to increased bus usage (including affordability) and addresses the following issues:
· Improving access to bus services through additional/enhanced routes;
· Increasing public awareness through improved advertising, enhanced bus shelters with digital displays and greater connectivity with train services;
· Pilot schemes for subsidised fares on specific routes to generate data on impact, cost and customer satisfaction.
vi) Review the approved plans for the South Wokingham Distributor Road and ensure that this and future road schemes (including schemes currently in the design phase) provide safe cycle routes, segregated from both road traffic and pedestrians, in line with the recommendations in LTN1/20.
vii) Use planning powers and funding opportunities to encourage the maximum roll-out of home, workplace, community-based (e.g. supermarkets) and on-street EV charging points across the Borough.
viii) Explore the potential for introducing clean air zones at Twyford crossroads and Wokingham town centre in order to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
i) Following the scrapping of the Government’s Green Home Grant scheme and the Council’s Green Bank scheme, urgently consider any new measures to address the additional carbon and funding gap that this creates for the CEAP.
ii) Introduce a Supplementary Planning Document linked to the current Local Plan to ensure that, whilst we wait for the new Local Plan Update to be completed, any new homes are built as close to carbon neutral as possible.
iii) Engage proactively and work together with housing developers, planning to build in the Borough, to clarify the Council’s position on Climate Emergency and explain the planning and building control requirements arising out of the CEAP.
iv) Develop a Retrofit Strategy for the Borough. Consider a pilot Energiesprong (or similar) retrofit scheme in order to assess deliverability, generate performance data and customer satisfaction feedback.
v) Recognise the barriers to “greener” homes and tackle the skills gap by developing a skilled workforce in liaison with colleges/universities and other partners. This will include use of the WBC housing companies to “pump-prime” training opportunities and skills development for local workers and businesses.
vi) Use the Council’s housing companies to showcase the highest standards of energy efficiency in any future developments. These standards may surpass standards set in the new Local Plan.
i) Confirm that net WBC income generated from solar farms and other renewable energy schemes will be reinvested in the Borough via the CEAP.
ii) Recognise the importance of decentralised power generation (on individual properties) and dual use sites (such as car parks) and work with partners to develop a strategy which enables the uptake of renewable energy opportunities across the Borough for all domestic and private properties.
iii) Work with partners to deliver a Borough-wide campaign to improve energy efficiency knowledge and behaviour in every household and business.
iv) Confirm that renewable initiatives will fully consider the impact on biodiversity.
i) Adopt behaviour change science as a golden thread throughout the whole CEAP, rather than a stand-alone action, to ensure that for every action, consideration is given as to how we will help enable people to adapt.
ii) Recognise that lack of familiarity with new technology is a significant barrier to take-up and tackle this through short-term displays in empty shops (or pop-up facilities) in town centres and community locations. The displays to include workshops and demonstrations. Recruit, develop and support community champions to engage with local communities.
iii) Submit the findings of the evaluation of potential deliberative processes to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee for evaluation and scrutiny prior to implementation. Publish updates and incorporate findings from the chosen deliberative process into the annual CEAP update.
i) Provide regular training for Members, staff and partners to enable them to support the targets in the CEAP. Ensure integration between departments and that Climate Emergency awareness is embedded into every service and key decision.
ii) As part of the annual service/budget planning process, carry out reviews to ensure that policy, spending and functions align with the CEAP, identify any contradictions, then implement mitigation plans.
iii) Develop project and financial appraisal systems that include CO2 emissions and climate impacts.
iv) Review the following CEAP projections and targets:
· the projected future reduction in CO2 from national initiatives (currently based on carrying forward historic rates of CO2 reduction) to reflect projections from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS);
· the CO2 savings associated with CEAP target 17 (20% of all homes to be retrofitted by 2030) as the funding for this work is uncertain;
· the relationship between CEAP targets 2, 3 and 4 – reduction in private car and van use (targets 3 and 4) will require far more than the proposed doubling of public transport use (target 2).
The Committee considered the recommendations and agreed the following changes:
Transport – recommendation vi) be amended to read:
“Review plans for future road schemes (including schemes currently in the design phase) to ensure the provision of safe cycle routes in line with the recommendations in LTN1/20”.
Note: Sarah Kerr requested that her opposition to this amendment be recorded in the Minutes.
The Task and Finish Group report state that the “initial” Climate Emergency Action Plan was published in January 2020.
1) the Climate Emergency Task and Finish Group report, as amended, be submitted to the Council’s Executive for consideration;
2) the evaluation report on deliberative processes be submitted to the July 2021 meeting of the Management Committee, prior to consideration by the Executive;
3) the Committee monitor the implementation of the Task and Finish Group’s recommendations during 2021/22.