The council’s eight year ‘Environmental Strategy’, and its accompanying two year ‘Delivery Plan’ have been approved by Cabinet (13 March)...
These will help bring about a net zero carbon town by 2030 or earlier – 20 whole years ahead of the Government’s national legal target.
The strategy and delivery plan – known fully as ‘Watford’s Environmental Strategy: Addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency’ – focuses on making Watford a low carbon, nature positive, environmentally sustainable borough, and sets out the journey to achieve this. It follows the council’s consultation on the draft strategy, which showed 81% of people were in general agreement, with 59% of respondents 'satisfied' or 'happy' and 22% ‘neutral’.
It covers six themes including: leading by example, people power, achieving net zero, nature and ecological restoration, responsible resource use and adapting to change. It also features a section on governance, demonstrating how sustainability is being integrated into the council, how it will be reported, and the importance of it.
66 potential actions are included with the delivery plan and 55 targets are identified within the strategy, and they focus on improved biodiversity, more recycling, cleaner greener travel, reduced water usage and improved energy efficiency. Over 20 projects are already being progressed by the council, following the approval of first two years of the delivery plan, and some key targets include:
Key targets are:
- Net zero carbon for Council emissions (CO2equivalen) by the end of 2030
- Council’s own waste reduced to near zero by 2030
- 30% by area of our green spaces managed to support nature by 2030
- Do everything in our power to achieve Net zero carbon emissions (CO2e) for the borough by the end of 2030
- Do everything in our power to reduce borough waste by 50% by 2030, with recycling making up at least 60% of the waste
Both documents recognise the council's unique position to deliver, enable and influence change - from delivering on its own climate change ambitions and enabling the community and businesses to embrace a low carbon future via council funding, policies and procurement, to influencing partners and government to support the council's work.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “The global climate emergency is affecting communities across the world and in the future will have huge impacts on our local economy, local families and wildlife here in Watford. It’s so important to address the issues now and protect the future for our younger generations.
“Our plan sets out the solutions we need to help us reach our net zero carbon goals and what outside support we need from others to make our targets a reality. Taking action on the environment will help us to create a Watford where everyone benefits from cleaner air, better health, protected green spaces, and warmer homes."
Photos from a range of sustainability projects undertaken by the council, including waste and recycling, River Colne restoration, tree planting, wildflowers and electric vehicles.
Cllr Ian Stotesbury, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability, said: “Since 2019, Watford’s tree canopy has increased, a new bike share scheme was introduced and the 10-year River Colne regeneration project has started. The borough also currently has more Green Flag parks than any other part of Hertfordshire due to the council’s continued investment and management.
“The strategy will only add to what the town has achieved so far, so it’s great that it’s been approved and we can continue to make Watford a cleaner, greener, healthier town for all.”
The strategy builds on the work being done across the council following the declaration of a climate and ecological emergency in 2019 and aligns with the Elected Mayor’s manifesto commitment. You can read the full document at https://watfordsustainabilitystrategy.commonplace.is/