Watford’s elected councillors have voted in favour of declaring a climate emergency and have pledged to do everything in their power to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030.
This follows on from similar declarations by 115 councils across the UK who are calling on the Government to be more ambitious than their current commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
Over the coming months a newly created Sustainability Forum consisting of council officers and elected councillors will develop a plan for how this will be achieved. It will address the following key areas:
- Integrating climate change into planning policy and the Local Plan for Watford with a focus on greener homes and buildings
- Delivering against the current sustainable transport plan that includes creation of a sustainable transport app, a new cross town on demand bus service, a new bike hire scheme and improved cycleways across the town, more electric vehicle charging points
- Developing a climate change action badge for Watford that unites people and businesses in adopting greener behaviours
- Taking account of climate impacts within existing council decision making processes
- Delivering appropriate training for members and officers to promote carbon neutral polices
The council will also refresh its approach to sustainability, building on past success to ensure the strategy is ambitious in reducing the Council’s own emissions. The objective is that the Council becomes carbon neutral by 2030.
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor will write to the Secretary of State for Defra (Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) asking for more powers and resources to make this pledge possible.
He said ‘We’ve been committed to reducing our carbon footprint for several years now, with successful recycling and home insulation schemes in place, good access to public transport and several award winning urban green spaces that promote biodiversity and reduced carbon emissions but we need to do more – this declaration will accelerate and broaden our range of activities so we can achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 – key for our community and our planet.’