High Peak council outlines plan to help residents and businesses respond to climate crisis

Hot on the heels of the COP26 UN climate change conference, High Peak Borough Council has published plans for how it intends to help communities reduce their emissions and prepare for the impact of global heating.

The council has committed to become carbon neutral in its own operations and services by 2030, and earlier this year published part one of its action plan to achieve that.

But the national Climate Change Committee estimate that local authorities have powers or influence over roughly a third of emissions in their area. Recognising its responsibility to support a wider transition, the council has now published a draft of part two of the plan setting out how it hopes to do that.

Councillor Jean Todd, who leads on climate policy, said: “This is another important step in addressing climate change at a local level, which we know residents are concerned about.

Buxton Town Hall could become a beacon of green activity in the coming years.

“It’s only by working together that we will see the sort of change we need to have an impact so we’re encouraging and supporting residents, businesses and other organisations to reduce their carbon footprints and making it easier, where we can, for those changes to happen.”

A recent survey of residents found that 80 per cent are concerned about the impact of climate change and 72 per cent said it is likely they will take action to address it. But turning those concerns and intentions into effective change involves significant technical, financial and behavioural challenges.

The new plan outlines priorities such as energy efficiency in buildings, shifting to active travel and electric vehicles, and promoting renewable energy and recycling. It also identifies a need to protect and extending natural aids such as tree cover, and to address flood risks.

Many specific projects, budgets and timelines are still to be determined but the council’s climate change working group will bring the draft plan before the council’s executive next month.

Coun Todd said: “The plan, our actions and approach will evolve over time with help from the community, and local and national green networks, but this is a framework for responding to changes in legislation and funding opportunities so we can meet the climate challenge.”

For full details of the plan, see https://bit.ly/3DZl5lZ.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together.” – Louise Cooper, editor.