Nottinghamshire County Council Media Release:
Declaring a climate emergency and putting the environment at the heart of Nottinghamshire County Council strategic plans has been unanimously voted through by councillors at the first Full Council meeting of the new administration on Thursday 27 May.
Proposed by Councillor Ben Bradley MP, the motion was one of his first actions as Leader of the Council, and set out the intention of the new administration to formally declare a ‘Climate Emergency’, to solidify its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, and to begin to change the perception of the County Council when it comes to these issues.
Councillor Bradley said: “We will be on the front foot, and we will make this a priority and build on this progress already made by putting sustainability at the heart of what we do.
“This includes ensuring that where we are investing in infrastructure or supporting development, that it incorporates environmental measures to protect habitats, to encourage pollination and to offset our carbon footprint.”.
The new Transport and Environment Committee, chaired by Councillor Neil Clarke, will be responsible and oversee measures to deliver against the council’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in all its activities by 2030.
Councillor Bradley said: “It’s important to recognise that Nottinghamshire has taken many positive steps on carbon reduction and green initiatives and has been picking up the pace on this agenda for many years. There are countless examples and many projects that are ongoing.
“In saving £300 million over the past ten years, this authority has shifted away from old-fashioned energy and resource-intensive ways of working towards modern, often ICT-driven methods.
“Even before the COVID pandemic, we were increasing opportunities for remote-working, reducing the amount of travelling required of our employees, and thereby reducing our need to house large numbers of staff in big, often energy inefficient buildings.
“We also secured funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to help fund new green infrastructure, which for example has seen almost £1million invested in new electric buses now operating in the county.”
The County Council has expanded its own pool of electric cars and vans and offers advice to help other organisations to introduce low-emission vehicles into their fleets.
More than £14m investment has been secured for LED Street Lighting across the county and the rollout of 70,000 LED streetlights across Notts has saved over 70 thousand tonnes of carbon, reducing electricity consumption by over 80 million kWh since 2014.
Councillor Bradley also referred to working with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, and identifying sites where changes to managing highway verges helps promote wildflowers, attract wildlife and improve the local environment.
And the new Gedling Access Road (GAR) has included strong environmental principles: the landscape design included planting 6 hectares of new woodland, for example, and a substantial programme of ecology measures and habitat enhancement.
Councillor Bradley concluded: “In the last few weeks we’ve received news of a £76m investment in Mansfield to support more sustainable drainage and flood relief solutions, which will include more green spaces, tree planting, and improving drainage by breaking up the concrete – going from grey to green – through a programme of 15,000 interventions that we hope will provide a great deal of learning that we can apply around the county.”
Regular updates on environmental issues will be brought to Full Council throughout 2021 and beyond.