AN ANNUAL report considered by councillors last week shows that carbon emissions from Cambridge City Council’s buildings, vehicles and services have fallen by just over 25% since 2014-15.

The annual climate change report outlines the work that the council has been doing to reduce its own carbon emissions and to work with residents, businesses and visitors to reduce their emissions.

The 25% fall in the council’s emissions means that the council’s target of a 15% reduction in carbon emissions by 2021 has been reached with two years to go.

The emissions have reduced partly due to energy-saving projects introduced by the council, and partly due to a shift from coal-fired power stations to renewable energy sources nationally, which has reduced the carbon emissions from the electricity used by the council.

The report highlights a number of recent council projects which will help further reduce its emissions, including:

  • Installing solar PV arrays on eight large council buildings  (Guildhall, Mandela House, Parkside Pool, Abbey Leisure Complex, King’s Hedges Pool, Waterbeach depot and Whitefriars Court sheltered housing scheme) to provide renewable energy (see attached picture of Guildhall solar PV array);
  • Energy efficiency improvement to the Guildhall and Mandela House, including installing low-energy LED lighting at both sites, and improvements to the heating and hot water system in the Guildhall, including a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system and a new building energy management system.

The report also sets out the steps the council has taken in the past year through its Climate Change Strategy to support residents, businesses and visitors to reduce their carbon emissions. A number of actions to reduce transport emissions were progressed, including:

  • Installing electric vehicle charge points for taxis across the city. Six charge points out of a total of 21 have been installed to date, with the remainder to be installed by 2021.
  • Developing an Electric Vehicle and Infrastructure Strategy in order to encourage Cambridge residents to shift to electric vehicle ownership. As part of this, options are being explored for increasing the number of electric vehicle charging points in council car parks, and planning policies are being developed which would require new housing and commercial developments to include charging points.
  • Encouraging cycling by installing 55 new cycle parking stands in the city centre and, through our partnership in the Greater Cambridge Partnership, delivering improvements to key cycle routes on Hills Road, Arbury Road, Green End Road, Fulbourn Road and in Fen Ditton.

The report also highlights progress with a number of actions by the council to help reduce home energy usage, reduce plastic use and promote recycling, including:

  • Improving the energy efficiency of existing council homes through installing loft, cavity wall and external wall insulation.
  • Ensuring that new housing in the city is built to high sustainability standards, including new council and private homes.
  • Installing a new public water tap on Parker’s Piece and promoting the Refill app, which shows over 100 sites across the city where free drinking water is available.
  • Introducing measures to reduce plastic consumption at Cambridge Folk Festival and The Big Weekend.
  • Supporting a series of environmental workshops and events delivered by voluntary and community groups, including a Sustainable Fashion Festival, composting workshops and workshops for businesses on sustainable food and reducing plastic waste.

Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “Working to reduce carbon emissions and limit the effects of climate change is of vital importance for the city and indeed for the planet, as the recent global climate strike made very clear.

“Our annual report shows that the council’s carbon emissions have reduced by more than 25% in the past four years. However, it is essential that residents, businesses and other large organisations work together with us to make Cambridge net zero carbon as soon as possible.

“We would like to thank residents, businesses and other organisations in Cambridge for all their efforts to reduce their own carbon emissions. We would also urge everyone in the city to think about how to go further in cutting emissions, including by consuming less heat, less meat, and less fossil-fuelled transport.”