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Sustainable South Tyneside - Moving Towards a Carbon Neutral Future

South Tyneside Council is taking action on climate change, striving to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The Council has published its proposed climate change strategy and five-year action plan 'Sustainable South Tyneside - Moving Towards a Carbon Neutral Future'which covers 11 key themes to bring about carbon neutrality for the Council.

South Tyneside Council's commitment toward climate change is strong and focused; implementing strategies that bring about real change, significantly reducing the amount of carbon being emitted whilst increasing its renewable capabilities moving to a cleaner, greener resource for energy supplies.

Cllr Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, with responsibility for Climate Change said: "The threat of climate change is real; it is now affecting every country on every continent.  It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives.  Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history.

"The only solution is rapid, ambitious, transformative action by all - Governments, regions, cities, businesses and civil society must all work together towards a common goal of carbon neutrality."

Detailed analysis of existing data in relation to carbon emissions has been scrutinised to help establish key areas of Council operations responsible for the largest emissions. Emissions from civic buildings, leisure facilities and street lighting account for 71 per cent of the Council's total emissions so this is an area that the Council is prioritising.

Interim targets are proposed to help achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.  These aim to reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent over the next three years and 50 per cent over the next five years. The targets are subject to successful planned project delivery and continued capital investment.

South Tyneside Council has already taken action to significantly reduce the Council's overall carbon footprint by delivering innovative energy solutions, replacing old and inefficient buildings with modern, centralised hubs, while increasing our on-site electricity generation.

As alternative solutions and technological advancements progress across the climate change agenda it is important that the Council is well positioned to ensure opportunities to deliver new projects or areas of work are maximised.

Although the Council's carbon neutral target is focussed on its own operations there is a significant opportunity for the Council through its existing partnership, influencing, and advocacy roles to drive Borough wide carbon emission reductions and behavioural change which will be encouraged throughout the organisation.

Carbon emissions for the entire Borough will also be monitored every two years in line with publication of Government data to gauge overall progress and consider the impact of the Councils influencing and championing role.

Cllr Atkinson added: "We stand at a critical stage in our actions towards climate change, by the end of the coming decade we will be on one of two paths.

"One in which we cross the point of no return, resulting in devastating impacts across the world or one of resolve implementing sustainable solutions that limit global temperatures beyond 1.5C by the end of the century."

The strategy has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders including the voluntary and community sector.

If approved by Cabinet the Council's Climate Change Strategy will be presented to Borough Council for approval and adoption on 19 March 2020.

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