Council report shows positive progress to tackle climate change, but much more must be done
The annual review of Mendip District Council's Carbon Management Plan shows positive progress has been made to tackle climate change, but it also highlights the need for collective action by all, including government, to make a real difference.
In August 2021, the Council adopted its Carbon Management Plan, listing a number of targets to achieve its climate and ecological commitments by 2030. The Council pledged to report on its progress, against targets, annually.
The latest report show positive progress has been made, including increased recycling rates (over 52% of Somerset's household waste was recycled in 2019/20), county-wide car mileage has decreased by 22%, and tree canopy cover in Mendip has increased by an estimated 1.53% since 2019. Plus, Mendip have begun installing electric vehicle charging points in selected Council-owned car parks across the district's five major settlements.
Other initiatives launched by the District Council include a £50,000 Climate and Ecological Emergency Fund which has supported 16 local projects, as well as hosting sustainable land management webinars, in partnership with The Farm Carbon Toolkit, throughout July and August 2022.
However, the Plan highlights areas for improvement, including acknowledging the slow take-up of renewable energy, for example, the target for onshore wind generation is 77.3MW by 2030, currently the district has 3.636MW installed.
The report shows that only 885 Mendip households have adopted retrofitting measures to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. More support is needed from government-funded grant schemes for the Council to reach its 2030 target of 15,400 retrofitted properties.
The Plan also recognises that without national government assistance, Mendip can only reduce its district emissions against the 2017 baseline, by a maximum of 37.5%.
Cllr Tom Ronan, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, said: "The report highlights some of the excellent work the Council has carried out and the impact it's making towards the targets we've set ourselves.
"However, there is still much more to be done and we need everyone's help to meet this huge challenge. We've highlighted before that we require national government assistance to achieve net zero and this update report reconfirms this. One example is the government`s 2015 onshore wind turbine legislation that completely discourages any investment in one of the most cost effective renewable energy sources. These regulations, and many others, need to be changed to support Mendip District Council and all other councils in their fight to reduce climate altering CO2 emissions."
For more information on the Council's climate change work, visit: Climate Change
Read the Carbon Management Plan here: Carbon Pathway Emissions Strategy