Ahead of COP26 (the UN Climate Change Conference) in Glasgow, Spelthorne Borough Council is taking the lead in local change and advising residents of ways they can contribute to making a difference and help bring about a cleaner, greener Spelthorne for generations to come.
The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UK government has stated it is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire climate action ahead of COP26. 1
In 2020, Spelthorne declared a climate emergency and is working to develop an action plan to deliver our target of carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest. We have already taken significant steps, such as installing solar panels on a number of our buildings, and our upcoming local plan will establish a range of climate change policies.
Cllr Ian Beardsmore, Chairman of the Environment Committee, said: “COP 26 is a key conference which will see governments and countries work towards ensuring an environmentally friendly future. Spelthorne has already taken many steps to ensure it is a cleaner, greener Council. Importantly We will be actively seeking to build on this base and improve our contribution by establishing a range of climate change policies in our upcoming local plan. We are constantly searching for ways to reduce our carbon emissions, even by taking small steps such as eliminating plastic cups in the Knowle Green offices. We do, however, need to do this in partnership with you if we want to achieve our carbon neutral ambitions.”
This is what the Council has already done:
- installed solar panels at The Depot, which will save 5.7 tonnes of carbon emissions a year
- had solar panels installed on our community centres and the West Wing of the community centres
- introduced new electric pool vehicles and bicycles for council staff travelling between sites
- installed of additional electric vehicle charging points across the Borough
- planted of over 1,000 new trees in the Borough
- allocated of £1.2million in grants to make homes more energy efficient
- installed low energy lighting at all Council premises
- provided a more efficient use of our offices with the conversion of the West Wing
- agreed to build a new ‘Passivhaus’ ultra-low-energy leisure centre, which will use 60-70% less energy than modern leisure centres 2
- worked on the adoption of a sustainable housing strategy 3
- improved management of parks and open spaces to encourage biodiversity
- moved to paperless meetings
- scrapped single use plastics
- used more virtual technology to minimise unnecessary journeys for staff
- encouraged people not to drop litter through our #NoRubbishExcuses campaign4
- stepped up the fight against people leaving their engines on idle with our #EnginesOff campaign5
This is how residents and businesses can help us:
- recycling your food waste rather than putting it in your rubbish bin- this will save money because it costs less than half to recycle food waste than it does to dispose of it.
- did you know that transport is said to account for 26% of all greenhouse gases emitted in the UK? If you can leave your car keys at home in 2021 try and rely on walking, or cycling, if taking shorter journeys.
- use the litter bins when out and about in the Borough instead of littering
- an easy way to help protect the environment is to plan and prepare in advance a weekly menu which will minimise food waste.
- a typical bath holds around 164 litres of water, meanwhile a ten-minute shower uses as much water as a 113 litre bath.
- save carbon emissions and plant your own fruit and vegetables – even a small window box can be productive.
- working from home, if feasible, one day a week would reduce your travel and if we all do it, CO2 emissions will decrease.
- did you know that a poorly insulated home costs you money and wastes precious resources for everyone? Action Surrey has lots of useful information and grants available for residents. Visit www.actionsurrey.org or call 0800 783 2503
- turn your engines off when stationary
- fruit or veg is best eaten fresh and when in season. Learn what grows best, and when, here in the UK.
- more than half the carbon emissions that food creates, come from meat so switching away from beef and lamb can make a big difference
- if you are looking to purchase a new car, consider getting an electric or hybrid to help protect the environment
- prevent waste by eating your food within dates.
- ensure all your light bulbs are energy efficient and switch them off when not needed
- switch your central heating thermostat down a couple of degrees and wear an extra layer.
- never leave computers, TVs or other devices on standby. The Energy Savings Trust believe you can save up to £80 a year if you turn things off
- when using the washing machine, reducing the temperature from 40⁰C to 30⁰C could cut energy consumption by 46%, and give clothes an extra spin before putting them in the dryer.
Small changes really can make a difference, you can find further information at www.spelthorne.gov.uk/goinggreen