Council on Target with Carbon Cutting
South Tyneside Council is on track to meet its three-year carbon reduction target.
The council has pledged to cut its emissions by 4,285 tonnes by March 2023 and is already two thirds of the way towards achieving that figure.
An annual update about the council's climate change strategy - Sustainable South Tyneside - will be given at next week's full council meeting.
In July 2019 the Council declared a climate emergency, pledging to take all necessary steps to become carbon neutral by 2030. To achieve this, carbon emissions must be reduced by 17,140 tonnes.
Its five-year strategy is based around 11 key themes where the council is focusing its efforts in moving towards the goal of carbon neutrality.
Some schemes are already operational and delivering carbon savings, such as the replacement of sodium streetlights with LEDs, switching to a fully-renewable electricity supply, and a newly-built on-site recycling facility at Middlefields which will reduce emissions by 400 tonnes.
Other highly-innovative projects, which are currently in the construction phase, such as the UK-first Viking Energy Network, are set to collectively cut carbon by thousands of tonnes per year.
Tree planting is also an integral part of the council's approach, by using nature to store carbon emissions from the atmosphere. In 2018/19 5,332 trees were planted, and in 2019/20 a further 3,961 - significantly more than the council's target of 3,000 annually. Every school in the Borough has also been offered a fruit tree to plant.
George Mansbridge, Corporate Director, Regeneration and Environment, said: "We have set ourselves ambitious targets and our climate change strategy is now embedded in everything we do, from how we procure goods and services, to installing solar panels on schools or developing an ever-growing network of electric vehicle charging points.
"We're delivering renewable energy schemes that have attracted funding due to their highly innovative approach.
"We're championing a carbon neutral future for the borough and are keen to involve residents in our activities. For example, we are creating an urban forest webmap, which will show the borough's trees and the ecosystem they are providing - how much air pollution they are removing, how much storm water is being diverted and how much carbon is being stored.
"All this activity not only helps the council move towards its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030, but also to deliver on one of its key priorities of investing in the natural and built environment."
The council also recognises the fundamental role played by schools in helping to minimise the effects of climate change, and in response has developed a school toolkit, which identifies opportunities to drive down carbon emissions while enhancing the school's natural environment.