Mansfield Council pledges to 'lead by example' tackling climate change

Mansfield Council has pledged to lead by example in cutting emissions after declaring a climate emergency

By Patrick Jack
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 8:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 8:37 am

The Government has announced a range of new policies as part of its aim to significantly cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

Its long-awaited net zero strategy, outlining plans to meet legal targets to end its contribution to climate change by 2050, has been published to tie in with the UN Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow this month.

Among the key policies are an expansion of the electric vehicle network and new measures to encourage renewable heating in homes.

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The future looks green for Mansfield.

Electric vehicles

The Government's net zero strategy included an announcement of £620 million for electric vehicle grants to support the rollout of charging infrastructure nationally.

Figures show Mansfield is behind many parts of Britain with the pace of its EV charging point rollout.

Department for Transport figures show there were 27 public charging points in the area at the start of October – up from 18 a year before.

Coun Andy Burgin, Mansfield Council portfolio holder for environment and leisure

But at a rate of 25 per 100,000 people, this is well below the UK average, of 39.

Coun Andy Burgin, Mansfield Council portfolio holder for environment and leisure, said: “Electric charging points are provided in two of our car parks and we are looking to increase that where our car parks are suitable for this type of installation. We are also reviewing potential for on-street charging provision across the district with the Nottinghamshire Council.

Renewable heating

Households will also be able to benefit from £5,000 government grants to install low-carbon heating systems as part of plans to cut emissions from homes.

The £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme – which opens from April next year – will help homeowners to swap their gas boiler for a more efficient air source heat pump.

It will launch at the same time as a similar programme, the Renewable Heat Incentive, closes to new applicants.

People who join the domestic version of the RHI receive quarterly payments for the amount of clean, green renewable heat it is estimated their system produces.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy data shows 94,000 renewable heating systems had been installed across Britain through RHI by the end of September – 15 per cent more than September 2020.

Of these, 146 have been installed in Mansfield, helping to pay for 4,561 megawatts per hour of energy.

That is an increase of 13 per cent on the 129 systems installed by September last year, meaning Mansfield is moving at a slower pace than the national average.

An extension to the Energy Company Obligation scheme, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and help people at risk of fuel poverty by making energy firms install heat-saving measures, has also been announced.

BEIS data shows 2.3 million homes across Great Britain had been fitted with ECO measures by the end of June – with 4,140 of these in Mansfield.

Coun Burgin said: “Encouraging people to switch to cleaner and greener forms of heating is something which the government has responsibility for and is leading on.

“The council amplifies these campaigns where requested in its own communications.

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Coun Burgin said: “The council takes its response to climate change seriously after declaring a climate emergency in 2019, with an aspiration to reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and make Mansfield carbon neutral by 2040.

“It is up to the council to lead by example in promoting sustainable practices across our operations, estates and vehicles.

“As an authority we now try to embed climate considerations in our decision making and document how climate change is considered across the whole council.

“We know there are considerable financial challenges associated with reaching our carbon neutral target by 2040, but this is something we simply cannot afford to ignore and, over time, the benefits will significantly outweigh the costs, and will include, for instance, reduced congestion, improved air quality, reduced waste and improved health and economic growth.”

Council achievements so far include:

Kerbside glass collection for recycling;

Green Rewards scheme in collaboration with other Nottinghamshire authorities;

Green Homes Grants, co-ordinating a government scheme to encourage exterior insulation which has seen 51 properties in Mansfield improved in first phase with more due to be improved in the next phase in Pleasley and Ladybrook;

First Passivhaus scheme in the district for four council homes in Saundby Avenue;

Development of 99 council homes built to Future Homes Standards;

Working with the Sherwood Forest Trust at several identified sites on their tree planting project;

Bee Kind campaign which saw a shift away from annual bedding displays in the town centre to wildflower planters to encourage bees;

70-size half allotment plots cleared ready for leasing since March 2020;

100 fruit trees planted in early 2021 at Berry Hill Park Community Orchard;

Electric horticultural machinery has been rolled out across some MDC facilities to replace older petrol powered kit; Increase in the number of wildflower meadows to further encourage biodiversity;

Four electric vans purchased as the first stage of the transition away from a diesel-powered vehicle fleet.

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