The Corporate Director – Communities presented a report, the purpose of which, was to detail the process of developing a “Bridgend 2030” Decarbonisation Strategy. This would further respond to the Councils Climate Emergency Response Programme and present a pathway to a Carbon Neutral (also known as Net-Zero) Bridgend by 2030, working with the Public Service Board, communities and business.
She explained that, Welsh Government (WG) declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019 and set out its priorities to address change for Wales to build resilience. Following this, the Welsh Government has now committed to achieving a carbon-neutral public sector by 2030. Bridgend supports this approach and has proposed its adoption into the updated 2021-22 BCBC Corporate Plan.
The areas of focus for decarbonisation were energy, transport, buildings and open spaces.
She proceeded by stating that Carbon emissions were measurable on what the Council own and buy for communities, for example, how energy is purchased and used, buildings heated and powered, transport contracts or fleet purchased. All public bodies needed to address becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030, based on tackling the different scope emissions, as shown in paragraph 3.5 of the report.
The Corporate Director – Communities continued by stating that, to propose areas of priority and focus resources, BCBC required a carbon audit to fully understand the carbon footprint relating to each in-scope emission category, as shown in paragraph 3.5 (of the report).
In terms of where BCBC were now, the Council had developed its Smart Energy Plan in 2019 comprising of a series of projects to tackle decarbonising heat, which Cabinet approved on 19th February 2019.This included District Heat Networks in Bridgend and Caerau, (their specific progress is subject to separate reports to Cabinet,) smart metering and gaining electrification of heat.
To meet the carbon-neutral/ net-zero carbon objective by 2030, the progress of and projects within the Smart Energy Plan needed to be, expanded and accelerated and its governance strengthened. Table 1 in the report, set out the progress that has been achieved to date within the four WG prioritised areas of focus for 2030.
The Corporate Director – Communities advised, that a newly realigned 2030 Programme Board would be responsible for all projects (and agreeing additional projects), their scope, viability and overseeing the financial and risk profiles. The Programme Board will communicate the benefits of the programme to the wider community and also provide clarity of the Council’s role for each.
The report concluded, by outlining some proposed key outcomes, in the form of aims and objectives of the Strategy.
The Cabinet Member – Communities welcomed what was an innovative and outward looking report, with some challenging targets contained therein. He welcomed the Strategy, which would be introduced as a result of a directive from Welsh Government. The ambitions of the Strategy when realised, would assist in the reduction of carbon emissions in our buildings and facilities, amongst others. The Strategy he was pleased to see, would also be supported by an Action Plan.
The Cabinet Member - Wellbeing and Future Generations was happy with the report, which was key to supporting the Council’s ever increasingly robust Environmental agenda.
The Leader also welcomed the report and the targets contained therein, which were both challenging and ambitious.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet :-
• Approved the development of a draft “Bridgend 2030” decarbonisation strategy and action plan for public consultation in the summer of 2021 and note that this draft strategy and action plan shall be reported to a future cabinet meeting prior to public consultation.
• Approved and delegates authority to the Corporate Director, Communities engaging with the Bridgend Public Services Board on the draft “Bridgend 2030” decarbonisation strategy and agree a shared narrative and methodology with the Public Services Board for the decarbonisation agenda for the Borough.
• Approved the development of a realigned Programme Governance structure and the appointment of the Cabinet Member for Communities as the Chair of the 2030 Programme Board as set out in section 4.10 of the report.