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North East Lincolnshire Council members have pledged to continue their work to combat climate change as they met to discuss future solutions.

Representatives from across the political spectrum attended a workshop at Grimsby Town Hall to better understand climate change and confirm their commitment to the environment. The council has adopted a policy of ensuring all people in North East Lincolnshire benefit from sustainable communities. Plans for future development of the climate strategy and response to the climate emergency will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on 11 March.

A climate emergency was declared in North East Lincolnshire in September 2019, when the Council confirmed its ambition to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The declaration is voluntary and does not bind the Council to national legislation, but is a way for the authority to show it takes climate change seriously and take action to prepare for future events.

Councillors have also pledged to consider the environmental effects of all future decisions, to help make North East Lincolnshire a low carbon borough and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Speaking after the cross-party meeting of members, Councillor John Fenty said: “Every action by every person counts, and it’s vitally important we give the community the information they need to make a difference. Record temperatures and frequent flooding are just two of the ways climate change is reshaping our world and North East Lincolnshire is no exception.

“Our coastline is potentially at risk from climate change much sooner than previously thought. Floods, droughts and heatwaves could cost the local economy millions of pounds by 2050. Without intervention, not just from ourselves but from everyone, the effects of climate change will have irreversible consequences for everyone.”

Members came up with a range of ideas for reducing energy use, including for transport, lighting and building works. They also agreed the council should prepared for and adapt to the impacts of climate change. There was particular focus on which powers could be used to improve the standards of house design. North East Lincolnshire Council’s partner, ENGIE, also joined in the discussions, and are also committed to help the council reduce its carbon emissions and monitor progress. 

Included as some of the recommendations in the report to Cabinet on March 11 are steps to assess the Council’s assets and operations to see how it can be become carbon neutral by 2050 or before. 

So far, the council and ENGIE have replaced all street lamps with energy efficient LED lighting, installed solar panels on public buildings, and invested £3 million in energy conservation efforts. Twenty-five electric vans have also been added to the council’s fleet, replacing diesel vehicles and saving more than £1,000 a year in running costs.

NELC also plans to launch the Pedal and Stride to Economic Growth project, to encourage and enable people make more sustainable journeys around the borough. Pedal and Stride aims to reduce the number of single occupancy car journeys, which in turn will have a positive impact on local air quality and the impact of climate change. UK carbon emissions need to be drastically cut for the country to meet the terms of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, as well as national targets set out in the Climate Change Act.