Joint Cambridgeshire local plan to target zero carbon emissions by 2050

Two Cambridgeshire councils have committed to cutting their local carbon emissions to zero by 2050 through their future joint local plan.

South Cambridgeshire Council: zero carbon pledge
South Cambridgeshire Council: zero carbon pledge

At a full council meeting last week, members of all parties at South Cambridgeshire District Council unanimously backed a motion proposing that "South Cambs shows responsible climate leadership by supporting the transition to zero carbon by 2050 in the next local plan".

A statement from the council said that, as a result, South Cambridgeshire’s next local plan "will consider how new homes, jobs and services will support that commitment to making South Cambridgeshire Carbon-neutral by 2050".

The plan will be produced in partnership with Cambridge City Council, which is aiming to make Cambridge zero carbon by the same date.

South Cambridgeshire District Council said it "can press for a carbon-free area through the design of homes and other buildings, land use including open space, transport links, energy supplies and waste and recycling services".

The motion said that the move "would enable planners, developers, businesses and residents to maximize the opportunities of green technology whilst decoupling emissions from our rapid growth agenda".

The council’s new pledge is more ambitious than the government’s national target of an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, as set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act.

The motion was put forward by the chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, councillor Pippa Heylings.

She said: "There is no doubt about it – we are facing a climate emergency and have limited time to act.

"Planning has a significant role to play here, not just through how homes and buildings are designed and constructed, but also by ensuring new development is in places where it is or can be well served by low carbon transport links like public transport, cycling and walking.

"Planning can also help ensure we make the best use of the many natural assets the area has to offer. We live in one of the fastest growing areas of the UK and so must find ways to reduce carbon emissions associated with new development."

Local plans for South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge were adopted earlier this year following a joint examination which took four and a half years.

A planning inspector found that both plans were sound, subject to minor modifications, at the beginning of August, .

Main modifications to the plans included a commitment by both councils to carry out an early review of their plans through the preparation of a joint local plan starting next year.

The mayor of London's environment strategy includes a committment to make London zero carbon by 2050. 

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