Lancashire’s leaders attend COP26

Source: Lancashire County Council 11 November 2021

County council leaders are taking part in COP26 as part of plans to secure a greener future for Lancashire.

Shaun Turner, cabinet member for Environment and Climate Change and Stephen Young, executive director for Growth, Environment, Transport and Community Services, are at the crucial climate change conference, the biggest summit ever hosted in the UK.

The visit comes as the county council prepares the next stage of its environment and climate change programme, which aims to help nature recover and Lancashire become a net zero carbon county.

The programme will focus on four key areas: reducing carbon emissions, improving resilience to climate change, tackling environment issues and nature recovery, and looking at ways to strengthen the use of renewable energy.

County Councillor Turner said: “Climate change is an international emergency and one of the biggest challenges we all face.

“We’ve all seen its effects right here in Lancashire with increased flooding and major moorland fires in recent years. The time to act is now and at COP26 nations across the world are working together on ambitious targets that will reduce global warming.

“The county council has a vital role in the local response to this emergency. We’re working with partner organisations on a new framework to ensure everyone plays their part in creating the cleaner, healthier, future we need to sustain ourselves and our environment.

“This will map out a pathway to achieving Net Zero carbon, as well as the actions we need to take to make our economy more resilient to the impacts of climate change, strengthen our use of renewables and help nature to recover from the effects of climate change.”

The council’s new framework will build on the green measures the county council has already put in place including:

• Replacing 150,000 old-fashioned streetlights with LED lights. This has reduced carbon emissions by more than 86,400 tonnes and saved almost £40m in energy costs since 2009.
• Planting over 149,000 trees, capturing over 37,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the last decade.
• Changing the way highways repairs are carried out to recycle materials on site. This has saved more than 1,139 tonnes in carbon dioxide since the new procedures were introduced in 2020.
• Reducing energy usage in county council buildings. This led to a 17% reduction in carbon emissions from 2017/18 to 2018/19 and a further reduction of 6.5% from 2018/19 to 2019/20.

Stephen Young said: “We’ve made some great progress so far through steps such as installing electronic charging points, making our buildings more energy-efficient and upgrading our streetlights with LEDs. Local people have also played their part, helping us to recycle thousands of tonnes of waste each year.

“However, there are so many more opportunities for us to reduce climate change. We’re currently working on plans to restore peatlands, which have the potential to capture even more carbon compared to trees. We’re also working with businesses on carbon reduction measures.

“COP26 is a huge and very important opportunity for us all. We’ll make the most of this and ensure Lancashire plays its part in ensuring a greener future for our planet.”

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