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A 15% reduction in district's carbon footprint is 'important milestone'

Cabinet councillors have welcomed a 15% reduction in the carbon footprint of Lewes district since 2018 and heralded the raft of actions implemented by the council as 'significant progress' in reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change.

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The report to Lewes District Council's Cabinet committee today (November 10) provided a detailed analysis of all the work being carried out as part of the council's climate change and sustainability strategy.

Councillor Matthew Bird (pictured), Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said: "In the week of the international climate change conference, COP27 in Egypt, it is timely that we're noting the significant progress we have made in partnership with our communities and others in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change in Lewes district.

"I think the depth and breadth of our sustainability actions and the emphasis we've placed on engaging with our communities will help to make us more resilient to a changing climate and the challenges that brings."  

Actions to date include the installation of 161 solar panels as part of the Solar Together scheme, allocation of cost of living crisis fund monies for green energy initiatives, procurement of a supplier for electric vehicle charge points, vehicle anti-idling campaigns at local schools, approval for a fleet decarbonisation pathway approved - use of renewable diesel will reduce fleet diesel emissions by up to 90% - wildflower planting, natural flood management schemes through the Sussex Flow Initiative and a project to decarbonise the council's housing stock in partnership with Brighton University, coastal defence works and supporting the Ouse Valley Climate Action Partnership.

Councillor Bird said: "Looking ahead, our plans for 2023/24 are very exciting and include a big focus on the installation of electric vehicle charging points across the district. We've proposed £100,000 to support the timely rollout of EV charging and in tandem with this work, another £50,000 to help set up two car clubs in Seaford and Newhaven."

With soaring utility costs putting already stretched council budgets under even greater strain, Cabinet also earmarked funding that will allow detailed energy surveys of council buildings to take place, including leisure centres, identifying the measures needed to make them more efficient.

Councillor Bird added: "Many council premises are relatively old so we need a precise understanding of the energy use of each building and how it can be reduced. 

"We will develop bespoke plans for each site that will show how we can reduce carbon emissions and utility costs.  With this detailed analysis in place, we hope to be able to apply for grants from the public sector decarbonisation scheme so new plant, renewable energy adaptations and fabric improvements can be made."

Cabinet councillors also supported £100,000 for the continuance of a Climate Resilience Fund that was set up in 2019 to support carbon reduction projects as they arise and are deemed to fulfil the requirements of the Climate Change and Sustainability Action Plan.

LDC Climate Change and Sustainability update - November 2022 (PDF) [2MB]

First published: 29 November 2022