Climate Change Strategy in Council Spotlight
An annual report on South Tyneside Council's carbon-cutting activities will be presented next week.
Members will receive an update on how the council is delivering against its ambitious climate change targets set out in the Sustainable South Tyneside strategy in support of its drive towards carbon neutrality by 2030.
The council is on course to meet its interim three-year target of reducing emissions by 4,825 tonnes by next March - with 2,816 tonnes already cut.
Some innovations, such as LED upgrades to street lighting, are already having a significant impact, with 1171 tonnes of carbon emissions removed between 2018/19 to 2021/22.
Other major schemes, such as the borough's three pioneering renewable energy networks, a new on-site recycling facility at Middlefields, and a raft of decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures installed in public sector buildings, are set to collectively cut carbon by more than 6,000 tonnes a year.
Over the past year the council has continued to implement measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and to promote a carbon neutral borough. In line with the UN COP26, the Council delivered a Climate Summit Week in November 2021, consisting of around 40 awareness-raising events and activities aimed at businesses, schools and residents. It has developed a schools' climate change toolkit and launched a competition to promote active travel.
Cllr Margaret Meling, Lead Member for Economic Growth, Skills and Climate Change, said: "The Sustainable South Tyneside strategy is a shared vision for a low carbon and resilient future.
"We're championing a carbon neutral borough and are keen to involve residents in our activities.
"Working with schools is fundamental. Children are the future and it's important we empower and educate young people to make a change."
She added: "While the impact of Covid has distorted figures and made it difficult to evaluate true progress, we are two thirds of the way towards our three-year target.
"We are bringing forward highly-innovative schemes such as the renewable energy networks in each of our towns, which once operational, have the potential to deliver a 35 per cent reduction in emissions against our baseline.
"The scientific evidence is overwhelming that if we do not act now then the impact on our planet may be irreversible; our climate change strategy is now embedded in everything we do so that future generations can look forward to a cleaner, greener South Tyneside."
The council has continued to expand its network of electric charging posts, with a further 18 points installed in 2021/22, including three revolutionary 'vehicle to grid' points. Another 13 electric vehicles were also added to the council's fleet.
Exceeding its target of planting 3,000 trees per year, in 2021/22, 3,000 whips and 830 large standard trees were planted throughout the borough, and North East Community Forest was also successfully launched.