Target to cut carbon emissions in North Somerset by half over next two decades agreed

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 07:22 13 February 2018

Plans for rubbish, traffic jams and council offices form part of North Somerset's long-term strategy.

Plans for rubbish, traffic jams and council offices form part of North Somerset's long-term strategy.

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North Somerset Council will aim to cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent in the next two decades – but any activity which may cost money will have to ‘take its place in the queue’.

The authority’s executive has agreed to adopt a target to cut emissions by half by 2035.

A report shows the council has saved hundreds of thousands of pounds through its carbon activities and by encouraging recycling.

But council leader Nigel Ashton said although he was happy to endorse the proposal to cut carbon, he would not commit to any activities without seeing a business case for it.

He said: “When we are actively looking at reducing carbon, there is a danger it will cost us money. We have saved money up to now.

“We are cutting things [in the budget] we shouldn’t be cutting because we have no alternative.

“If we cannot afford to do it, it has to take its place in the queue.”

MORE: Greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by half over next two decades, says council.

He said he was ‘disappointed’ to see a report which would ‘clearly take investment’ without any clarity over how much it would cost the authority.

The strategy includes improving greener transport, so people decide to cycle, walk or catch a bus rather than drive alone.

There is also an emphasis on reducing household waste, more efficient street lights and reducing energy consumption at the council’s offices.

Cllr Don Davies said: “We are worrying about the cost for next year, when 2050’s children will not thank us for not doing what we need to to keep the planet sustainable.”

The authority is part of a North Somerset Climate Coalition, set up in 2016, with the aim of taking action on carbon.

Between 2005 and 2015, carbon emissions in North Somerset were reduced by 28.5 per cent.

Deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees, who presented the report, said future house-building could lead to a significant increase in carbon emissions.

He said the authority would look at whether solar panels could become a planning condition for developments in the future.

Cllr Tom Leimdorfer said the council may have missed opportunities when developing new school buildings by not including solar panels.

In 2014, greenhouse gas emissions in the district were measured as equivalent to 5.8 tonnes per person.

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