Residents and businesses to be asked for views on how Worcester tackles climate emergency

A strategy for how Worcester can become a carbon-neutral city is set to be considered by councillors – with the city's residents, businesses and charities also expected to be asked to give their views.

Worcester City Council declared a climate emergency in July last year and committed itself to taking action to help the city become carbon neutral by 2030.

A draft strategy for achieving this aim has now been prepared and will be considered by the Council's Environment Committee on January 28 as a basis for a public consultation.

Councillor Joy Squires, Chair of the Environment Committee, said: "The City Council declared a climate emergency last year because we recognise the urgency of the situation and that action needs to be taken by both ourselves and everyone across Worcester.

"Our vision is for Worcester to be a carbon neutral city, with a transformation in how we use our resources. We want our city to be resilient to the impact of the changing climate and to have low levels of air pollution alongside high levels of biodiversity.

"Achieving this will be challenging and the City Council cannot do what's needed on its own. This draft strategy is just a starting point. We will be encouraging everyone from residents to businesses, the charitable sector and local groups to get involved and help us shape the developing strategy for Worcester becoming a carbon-neutral city."

The draft Environmental Sustainability Strategy sets out proposed policies in six areas:

  • Making the work of Worcester City Council carbon neutral
  • Reducing carbon emissions in the city so that Worcester can become a carbon-neutral city by 2030
  • Developing the city's low carbon economy and ensuring sustainability becomes embedded in the practices of businesses
  • Protecting Worcester's natural environment and enhancing its biodiversity
  • Ensuring the city is prepared for and able to cope with the effects and impacts of the changing climate
  • Reducing Worcester's consumption of resources.

The draft strategy has been drawn up with input from Conservative, Labour and Green members of the Council, along with local stakeholders. The actions and policies of similar local councils across the country have also been drawn on.

The Environment Committee will be asked to agree to the launch of a consultation to develop the strategy further, before a final version is prepared for May this year.

The recommendation is that a public consultation is launched on the Council's website and a forum event is organised to give stakeholders the opportunity to debate and discuss the draft strategy and the actions that the Council and its partners could take.

The Committee will also be asked to consider agreeing to a budget of £100,000 for 2020/21 to be set aside to put the strategy into practice once it has been agreed. The report to the committee notes that further investment will be needed in subsequent years if the aim of achieving carbon neutrality is to be achieved. 

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