West Suffolk Council urged to declare climate emergency

Sarah Broughton at the West Suffolk Council-owned Toggam solar farm in Lakenheath Picture: WEST SUFF

Sarah Broughton at the West Suffolk Council-owned Toggam solar farm in Lakenheath Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL - Credit: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

West Suffolk Council will be asked to declare a climate emergency in a bid to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The council's environment and climate change taskforce met for the first time on August 12 since being established straight after the formation of the council earlier this year.

At the council's meeting on September 19 it will recommend the authority declares climate emergency status.

The task force will help address this through various proposals from practical solutions, use of investment and looking what actions the council would have to take to be net-zero carbon by 2030.

West Suffolk already has one of the biggest council-owned solar farms and is a national leader in helping businesses reduce their impact by installing solar panels on their roofs.

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Taskforce chair Robin Millar said: "I am delighted that we have made a quick and productive start - focusing on the things and activities that only West Suffolk Council can do and encouraging residents, businesses and communities to do the same themselves.

"Even small changes add up to make a real difference. A key driver for this initiative is the fact that change affects us all."

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The taskforce is charged with making initial evidence-based recommendations to Cabinet in November in order to shape the direction of the Local Plan and Strategic Framework.

The 12.4MW solar farm at Toggam Farm in Lakenheath marks its third anniversary this month and with it comes its best performance raising £1.5million of income - around £100,000 more than anticipated.

It also brings the total income it has raised since it was plugged in back in August 2016, to more than £4 million.

It generated 12,631MWh of electricity over the last 12 months against a target of 11,591MWh.

The council said that electricity sold on and into the National Grid is enough to power around 3,300 homes and offset the carbon dioxide emissions from 1,500 cars. It has also helped West Suffolk Council towards becoming carbon neutral.

Sarah Broughton, cabinet member for performance and resources at West Suffolk Council, said: "This is just one of the many ways the Council is not only successfully reducing our impact on the climate but also creating an income stream to support services and other ambitions."

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