Climate emergency

On 22 January 2019 Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency. The Council committed to preparing a report within 6 months, outlining how to reduce carbon emissions and work toward becoming carbon neutral by 2030. As part of the process we spoke to thousands of residents across Cornwall and on 24 July 2019 the Cabinet unanimously approved the ambitious plan.

“It will not be easy; as the report makes clear, 2030 will be extremely challenging and may well prove impossible; but that does not mean that we should back away from the challenge or ambition to start this journey now, being passive and waiting for others. If other parts of the world chose not to act, that is not a consideration that should define what we do. We are going to lead.”

Edwina Hannaford
Cabinet portfolio holder for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change.

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The plan provides a roadmap for carbon neutrality a full twenty years ahead of the Government’s target of 2050 and includes a number of proposals including:

  • A Forest for Cornwall - planting 32 square miles or about two per cent of Cornwall’s land mass with trees to absorb carbon
  • Powering all new homes with alternative energy
  • Making energy efficiency improvements to existing Council owned housing

Download the full Climate Change Action Plan

As a Council we have a leading role to play in the climate emergency, but we cannot deliver these ambitious outcomes alone, we will need support from all of our residents – from our communities, businesses, schools, public sector partners, the voluntary sector and many more. You have an important role to play in making change happen, not just as residents but in your working lives too. This is just the start of the journey; please join us in tackling the climate emergency.

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, warn there is only twelve years for global heating to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. There is now scientific consensus on the fact that carbon impacts are causing global heating and the Committee on Climate Change, among many others, warn against the idea of complacency - it is this belief that caused the Council to act now.

Cornwall Council has already shown leadership in tackling climate change through the nationally renowned Green Cornwall Programme. The programme launched England’s first community energy revolving loan fund and delivered energy efficiency improvements in over 3,000 homes through Glow Cornwall and contributed to the development of the Winter Wellbeing Programme.

Cornwall Council was also the first local authority to develop its own solar farm and it’s Environmental Growth Strategy (adopted in 2016) to make Cornwall’s environment more diverse. This led to the Making Space for Nature programme which has transformed 40 hectares of urban areas into wildlife-rich green spaces.

The Council also spearheaded the Local Transport Plan – Connecting Cornwall which has supported substantial transport service improvements in Cornwall since 2011 including the One Public Transport Scheme for Cornwall which aims to provide a joined up public transport system across rail, bus and ferry services.

The introduction of 92 new lower-emission buses, supported by the Cornwall Devolution Deal, has seen the number of bus journeys in Cornwall go up from 10.6m to 11.7m over the last year, at a time when public transport use has dropped nationally.

The Council’s existing number of electric charge points in public carparks and other locations across Devon and Cornwall are being increased and the Council was recently awarded over £90K for five new charge points across Cornwall specifically for use by taxis to charge electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. 

The climate emergency declaration also called on Westminster to provide the powers and resources necessary for the required change.