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Wiltshire Council failing to get to grips with climate change

June 15, 2010 3:15 PM

Wiltshire Council is failing to achieve its targets on dealing with climate change, and whilst demonstrating an excellent ability to sign up to pledges and commitments on the subject the council hasn't yet realised that action is also required, according to the Liberal Democrats.

A report going to the council's cabinet next Tuesday (June 22nd) sets out what the council should be doing about climate change.

"Wiltshire council emits 59,117 tonnes of CO2 (2008/9 figure) and the bills for transport and energy amount to £14million, so there's plenty of scope for improvement," said shadow environment spokesman Trevor Carbin.

Between 2005 and 2007, emissions reduced by 3.9% nationally. In the South West, emissions went down by 5% but in Wiltshire by only 2.5%. Wiltshire is therefore lagging behind the rest of the country in cutting its carbon emissions.

In the field of renewable energy Wiltshire is also falling well below its 2010 target of 65 to 86 KW installed capacity. The scale of the challenge for renewable energy is huge. The 2010 target is the equivalent of what would be generated by 30 wind turbines or approximately 300,000 individual solar photovoltaic units.

"The overall message of the report is that Wiltshire lacks the political commitment to make any real progress in combating climate change, and that the consequences of this could be expensive for taxpayers if government subsidies are missed and financial penalties are invoked," said Lib Dem group leader Jon Hubbard.

The council sees the armed forces in the county as an ally in the fight against climate change. The report to cabinet says it wants "To encourage healthy and active lifestyles within the Armed Forces ... through the promotion of exercise, sustainable transport and locally grown produce."

"Conservative councillors will presumably be visiting the barracks to tell the soldiers to exercise more, work out a tank-sharing rota and eat local cabbages. We look forward to the subsequent by-elections," said Cllr Carbin.