East Suffolk Council has reinforced its commitment to protecting the environment by setting out the guiding principles of its response to the climate emergency.
A comprehensive Climate Action Framework has been published to chart our response to date, while helping to guide further meaningful progress towards a more sustainable future.
The document aims to further uphold these commitments by gauging efforts to reduce our own carbon footprint, outlining wider partnership programmes, and looking forward to the next period of action.
Caring for our environment was made a key principle of the East Suffolk Council Strategic Plan when it was approved in 2020 with an agreement to launch an ambitious programme of more than 110 projects related to climate change and the environment, overseen by group of officers and monitored by a cross-party task group of elected members.
The Strategic Plan’s commitment to 'put the environment at the heart of everything we do' had been reinforced by the declaration of a climate emergency in 2019 and a commitment to reach net zero by 2030.
Since then, work to deliver the programme has included decarbonising our HGV fleet and updating policies to incorporate national guidance on responding to climate change through procedures such as sustainable construction and transport.
Investments such as energy efficiency upgrades across our buildings and assets have contributed to a reduction in emissions of more than 35%, while an ongoing major project to decarbonise our leisure centres will further reduce our footprint and ensure these important facilities remain accessible.
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk Council cabinet member for the environment, said:
“We are committed to doing everything we can to respond to the climate emergency and enabling everyone in East Suffolk to also play their part. Every one of us has the power to make small actions add up to big change.
“Not only are we committed to reaching net zero CO2e emissions by 2030, but we are also working with other councils and partners to help Suffolk, as a county, reach the same target.
“Our Climate Action Framework demonstrates the many consequent benefits of that work, from improving air quality, to boosting wellbeing, lowering energy costs and creating jobs.”
Beyond decarbonising our energy production and transport, the Climate Action Framework encompasses numerous other key factors in addressing climate change – from reducing our use of resources to restoring our natural eco-systems.
The East Suffolk Climate Action Framework will be a working document, updated every quarter, with new sections added as information emerges, and other actions removed when completed in line with the East Suffolk Council core environment programme.
The core environment programme’s priorities include reducing our footprint to deliver net zero, delivering low carbon energy projects and low energy homes, boosting biodiversity and restoring natural habitats, supporting low carbon transport and reducing use of resources.
The Suffolk Climate Emergency Plan sets out a commitment by Suffolk’s public sector leaders to pursue net zero strategies that respond to local, national and international evidence.