What is Cornwall Council doing?
Tackling the gap between carbon emissions and our planet's ability to absorb carbon requires us to make significant changes to how we live today, using our resources in a way that supports everyone, including future generations.
For example, energy production is a huge contributor of carbon emissions, but it is also an area we can do something about. Reducing these emissions will require business and households to change the way we produce energy - using renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal - but also the way we use energy - by cutting down our overall power usage.
We must be clear from the start that Cornwall Council cannot do this on its own, we need everyone in Cornwall to act now and consider what they can do to reduce their impact on the planet. We all need to rise to the challenge, and take action at home, in the workplace, and across Cornwall as a whole.
This photo shows volunteers from Cornwall Council, Cormac, the Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust, members of the local community and local schools, taken at the Forest for Cornwall launch in Saltash, demonstrating how communities, schools, charities and business can work together to help reduce or absorb carbon.
The Council is well placed to work with others to make the most of our collective potential and create solutions together. It will require major investments, changes to systems of how we use and interact with energy and changes to how we live our lives and define success. It will also redefine how we manage and interact with our environment. Above all, it will involve collective leadership and shared ambition to meet this challenge head on.
What will you see across Cornwall?
Around 3,000 residents have already had their say in prioritising the first projects they would like the Council to focus on.
The Council is now starting to deliver on the priorities identified during the consultation, these include the following projects:
Planting 32 square miles of new woodland across Cornwall as part of the Forest for Cornwall programme, drawing down carbon from the atmosphere and increasing public access to outdoor space. To put it in context that's over 11,500 football pitches, or over 30 times the size of Cardinham Woods on Bodmin Moor.
Increasing the amount of renewable energy generated and used in Cornwall. Since 2009 we have increased our generating capacity from 90 megawatts to over 800 megawatts, which means that 37% of Cornwall's electricity demand can be provided through renewable sources.
Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall's cabinet member for climate change and neighbourhoods talks about a new wind turbine being constructed near Carland Cross on the A30 which will supply green energy to the equivalent of 1,100 Cornish homes. Due to start producing energy Summer 2020.
Promoting more public usage of low carbon transport options by making them more accessible. This includes using a £23 million subsidy from national government to reduce the cost of bus journeys, improving park and ride facilities and walking and cycling routes. We will also be increasing the number of charging points for electric vehicles.
How will Cornwall Council be changing?
Cornwall Council is committed to reducing its own carbon impact to zero through changing the way we work, including:
- Reducing the resources we use such as paper and water
- Cutting down on emissions through reducing journeys and switching Cornwall Council's fleet to ultra low emission and electric vehicles. Looking into bio-methane refuelling stations for trucks and buses.
- Ensuring that our suppliers have the lowest carbon impact possible
- Increasing renewable energy production and decreasing energy usage in Council owned buildings
- Switching Cornwall's 54,000 street lights to low energy LED smart street lights, reducing energy bills by around £1 million a year.
- We will reduce waste and increase recycling through weekly food waste collections and fortnightly recycling collections to promote higher rates of recycling throughout Cornwall.
- Develop anaerobic digestion facilities which will enable food waste and grass cuttings to be turned into compost and gasses which can generate clean energy
These actions are just the start, and new ideas and opportunities are being explored all the time.
For a full breakdown of Cornwall Counci's plans to become carbon neutral by 2030 read our Action Plan.
What Cornwall Council aims to influence
There are many more improvements that can be made to decrease or offset carbon emissions over which Cornwall Council does not have direct control. We intend to use our influence in these areas, to work with others to help Cornwall meet its 2030 targets.
We will support the improvement of the electricity grid to allow for more renewable energy and storage. The Cornwall Local Energy Market have a video which explains more about how this could work, in a pioneering trial in Cornwall.
We will encourage the development of innovative renewable energy sources such as geothermal and floating wind, as well as renewable energy buying schemes, to incentivise businesses and residents to invest in existing technologies.
We will encourage individuals to cut down on energy usage at home and at work.
- We will work with partners to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points from 153 to over 200 in the next three years.
- Support the development of more integrated public transports timetables across buses, trains and ferries, to provide easier and more affordable ways for everyone to avoid car journeys.
- We will encourage individuals to cut down on car journeys and consider car sharing and the use of community cars schemes and consider making trips on foot or by bike.
- We will encourage individuals to cut down on flights and consider using public transport for holidays. At work we will promote virtual meetings rather than travelling, where appropriate.
The way we farm and the crops we grow has an effect on the emissions we create, but there is growing potential for ways to better manage the land and help reduce and capture our emissions.
- We will work with the farming community to help reduce and draw down carbon from agriculture whilst building resilience and increasing productivity.
- We will promote land use that absorbs more carbon such as seaweed farming and wetland restoration.
- We will encourage individuals to plant wildflowers and maintain environments which encourage pollinators, such as bees, to thrive.
- We will encourage individuals to look at the impact of their diet and consider reducing their meat consumption, and increase the proportion of in-season, locally grown food eaten across Cornwall.
- We will encourage businesses to become more efficient in their use of natural resources and minimise their waste. We will promote a circular economy through innovative projects like the Tevi project and Energy Independent Farming.
- Support the development of a network of Repair Cafes throughout Cornwall.
- We will encourage individuals to cut down on food waste through meal planning and freezing leftovers.
- We will encourage individuals to embrace the idea of consuming and buying less overall - including clothes and items that could be fixed or repaired.