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Businesses urged to get involved as Wiltshire Council tops table of most climate-friendly local authorites in England

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Wiltshire CouncilWiltshire CouncilWiltshire Council will be looking for the support of businesses as it works to make the county carbon neutral by 2030.

This week (Thursday) the council topped the table of the most climate-friendly areas in England and Wales according to new research released by Friends of the Earth.

Friends of the Earth assessed councils in different categories including renewable energy, public transport, lift-sharing, energy efficiency at home, waste recycling, and tree cover to find an overall winner. Research was conducted in September this year using publicly-available data.

Wiltshire Council scored 92 percent. Swindon Council found itself in the bottom 50 of 408 local authorities, with a score of 60 percent.

“All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing. We know we are facing a climate and ecological emergency that threatens our existence and the natural world. If we want to change things for the better, let's start at home, said Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett.

“Doing things right now about climate change isn’t just good news for future generations and people most vulnerable to an erratic climate, it’s good for everyone.

"Creating cleaner and greener places to live means healthier, happier lives. It’s why local authorities need to take the lead by adopting ambitious local climate action plans, and who better to help them than communities.”

In February this year, Wiltshire Council became one of the first in the UK to declare a climate emergency, and in June the authority pledged to make make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030.

A council spokesperson said: "We're absolutely delighted to have been named as the most climate-friendly area in England and Wales by Friends of the Earth. Transport and housing are the two biggest producers of carbon, and we’re looking to technology as a way to see us reduce carbon levels.

"To meet our commitments we've been looking at a major increase in renewable energy generation on council buildings. We will also review our fleet to establish which vehicles can be electric when they are replaced.

"Business and community support and involvement will be vital and we are looking at ways we can ensure to play an active role in helping to achieve the carbon neutral target."

Wiltshire Council's environment select committee has also established a task group of councillors to look at some of the main issues.

The cabinet is being supported by the global warming and climate emergency task group, chaired by councillor Graham Wright and made up of eight councillors. The areas they will be exploring are:

  • Renewable energy generation, energy use and efficiency
  • Planning
  • Transport and air quality
  • Waste
  • Land use
  • Business and industry

The council will be looking to see if more can be done at its main hubs and other buildings to ensure the organisation is leading the way locally in tackling the global problem.

Friends of the Earth are channelling concern around climate breakdown into tangible solutions by helping people form Climate Action Groups in their area. This research empowers groups to work with councils to adopt a local Climate Action Plan.