Climate Emergency – Cornwall Council’s Climate Change Action Plan - PKF Francis Clark
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Climate Emergency – Cornwall Council’s Climate Change Action Plan

With the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) recently marching through the streets of Truro, I thought it timely to have a look at Cornwall Council’s Climate Change Action Plan.

Background to plan

In Cornwall Council’s own plans -“On 22 January 2019 Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency. The Council committed to preparing a report within 6 months, outlining how to reduce carbon emissions and work toward becoming carbon neutral by 2030. As part of the process we spoke to thousands of residents across Cornwall and on 24 July 2019 the Cabinet unanimously approved the ambitious plan.”

The plan

A pdf of the 63 page document can be found here.  It is an interesting read, if not that ‘user friendly’…  I have done my best to pick out some highlights from the plan below, but there is a lot I have not covered, so for those who are interested, I would suggest a read of the full document.

Extracts from the plan

Breakdown of emissions by sector.

Some of main strands of the programme to see Cornwall Council and CORSERV operations become carbon neutral by 2030, with some examples of their actions to be taken, are set out below:

Area Action points
Delivering a carbon neutral estate by 2030 · Further deployment of renewables across our estate, increasing our installed capacity of renewable energy from approximately 8MW to over 20 MW
Accelerating the transition of Cornwall Council/ CORMAC’s fleet to ultra-low emissions vehicles by 2030 · Develop electric vehicle charging for CORMAC’s van fleet and local electric buses and biomethane refuelling hubs for CORMAC heavy vehicles and buses
We will generate carbon neutral fuel source through both the development of initially bio-methane and in time hydrogen fuelling · Bio-methane will be generated locally from CORMAC grass cuttings, Council Farms, and Cornwall Airport Newquay as well as working with private sector partners
We will make our transport infrastructure and transport offer increasingly sustainable · Replacing Council owned diesel buses servicing the Truro Park and Rides with zero emission buses

· Electric buses could be recharged by electricity generated on site with solar ports and battery backup at Langarth Park & Ride

Reduce the carbon impact of Cornwall Airport Newquay by 2030 · Anaerobic digestion to process the grass cutting from Cornwall Airport Newquay

· Switching to LED airfield lighting

A carbon neutral Council Farms Estate (as exemplars in low carbon and regenerative agriculture) · Delivering a pilot of anaerobic digestion on six pilot farms which will demonstrate how we can develop bio-methane supply chain using Council Farms.

· Considering options for expanding the programme to install anaerobic digestion deployment on up to the full 58 dairy farms on the Council Farm estate.

Making Cornwall a place where it is easier and more affordable for the public to avoid the need for car journeys · Integration Cornish ferry services into the One Public Transport integrated transport system to enable seamless public transport travel and increase the uptake on the network.

· Reduce emissions further by switching to a zero emission bus fleet by 2030 and investigate options for zero emission trains.

Enabling residents and businesses to switch to ultra-low emission vehicles · Working with partners to use EU funding to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points by a minimum of 66 over the next three years

· Building a sustainable bio-methane supply chain: local derived fuel generated by farmer and land managers across Cornwall helping us transition towards carbon neutrality with our farmers generating their own fuel on-farm to replace the red-diesel used in their farm machinery and vehicles

· We will explore opportunities to work with existing anaerobic digestion operators who are processing food waste when Cornwall Council provide food waste collections.

· We will also explore opportunities to develop Cornwall’s first commercial scale bio-methane refuelling station could fuel 50 heavy vehicles  (CORMAC, buses and trucks) per day

Supporting householders and landlords to reduce emissions from homes and community buildings ·  Exploring opportunities for encouraging solar panels installations on suitable roofs in combination with energy storage solutions:

Council supported collective buying scheme for solar. This could be modelled on the ‘Solar Together’ schemes operated by local authorities elsewhere. A Cornwall based ‘Solar Together’ scheme could build on the 43 work of the successes of the ‘Cornwall Together’ collective switching campaign.

Community energy financing loans for renewables building on our ‘community energy revolving financial vehicle’ and/ or a ‘carbon neutral community grant competition’ targeted at supporting community carbon neutral projects/ buildings.

· Exploring opportunities for delivering a whole house retrofit programme:

What does this mean for business?

The plan sets out a clear direction of travel (no pun intended) of Cornwall Council which has implications for businesses operating in the county; specifically those engaging direct with the Council i.e., part of their supply chain.  Also, I can see plenty of opportunities for businesses to come forward with innovative solutions to issues that Cornwall Council are facing in terms of carbon reduction – in the knowledge that Cornwall Council are a potential customer and will hopefully stimulate a (continued) culture of low carbon innovation and renewable energy deployment in the county?

I have shared this blog post with our Energy & Infrastructure team.  I suspect they are already aware, but just in case, as there may be opportunities for their clients and contacts.  For example, I know that one of my Truro based Corporate Finance colleagues is working on a number of mandates involving anaerobic digestion (mentioned above).

Be part of the conversation?

The plan states that “we intend to facilitate a long-term programme of ‘Cornwall Climate Conversations’ that will allow us to capture the voice of Cornwall on an issue that impacts on us all. This will build on the stakeholder and resident engagement…”  I am hoping businesses will be offered plenty of opportunity to contribute to the conversation and the plan suggests they will.  I will speak to my colleague who organises our non-Family Business Connect business breakfasts and see if he is interested in putting on a breakfast event on the Cornwall Council’s Climate Change Action Plan – keep an eye on the events page on our website if you would be interested in attending such a breakfast.

By Andrew James 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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