To consider a report of the Director of Culture, Communities and Business Services with an update on climate change and energy programmes.
The Panel received a report of the Director of Culture, Communities and Business Services on progress in relation to energy and carbon reduction programmes in the context of the declaration of a climate emergency by the County Council in 2019.
Members discussed some residents’ concerns that the switching off of street lighting, whilst beneficial for the environment, had raised perceived concerns about crime and disorder and perceptions of public safety. Some Panel Members had received feedback from members of the public who did not feel safe when street lighting had been turned off, particularly in the early morning. It was agreed that officers would discuss this with the Economy, Transport and Environment department to relay feedback and seek clarity on any further extensions of the programme. It was noted that a further phase of LED lamp conversion was planned on principal routes which continue the successful progress of energy and carbon emissions reduction.
Members also discussed the impact of the ‘new normal’, working in different ways during the pandemic, the potential to reduce office accommodation and how this could impact positively on carbon reduction in the future.
That the Panel agreed to:
i. Note progress on the energy and carbon reduction programmes.
ii. Note the further reduction in the County Councils carbon emissions to 2020 in relation to corporate buildings, street lighting and officer travel of 3.4% contributing to a total reduction since 2010 of 46.7%. This is well on track to meet the target of 50% by 2025 previously approved by the Executive Member.
iii. Note the new context in which the carbon and energy programmes now sit and support the research into measuring the wider carbon emissions of the built estate. Proposals for future programmes of work will be brought back to this panel for consideration in due course.
iv. Support the early work to define the challenge of achieving net zero carbon by 2050 in relation to the built estate in support of the County Councils commitments and in line with the Climate Change Strategy approved by Cabinet in September 2020.
v. Ask that officers enter discussions with ETE colleagues regarding street lighting reductions, timings for street lighting to be switched off and the impact of this upon public safety with a view to making further savings where possible.