The Corporate Director Communities reported on an update on work to develop the Bridgend 2030 – Net Zero Carbon Strategy and requested approval to carry out a formal public consultation on the draft Bridgend 2030 – Net Zero Carbon Strategy.
She reported that the Welsh Government declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019 and committed to achieving a carbon neutral public sector by 2030. Local authorities in Wales had been set a net-zero target which must be met by 2030 and in pursuance of this target, the Council had commissioned the Carbon Trust to guide on the route to Net Zero.
She informed Cabinet that the draft Bridgend 2030 – Net Zero Carbon Strategy has been developed following an in-depth review of data and extensive engagement with internal and external stakeholders. She stated that this Strategy would not be the only driver for net zero and it would also be a part of the Council’s Corporate Plan, whilst policies, strategies and ongoing plans will all need to reflect the commitment to net zero. Formal public consultation on the draft Bridgend 2030 – Net Zero Carbon Strategy would be carried out over 12 weeks and following which, it was likely that it would require amendment as a result of comments received through the consultation.
The Corporate Director Communities highlighted the percentage of the Council’s emissions are in which area of Scope, which had been defined by the Welsh Public Sector Net Zero Carbon Reporting Guide. She stated that it would not be practical or possible for the Council to stop all carbon emissions entirely from its operations, but it must strive to reduce its emission as far as possible before using offsetting measures as the final step to Net Zero. The Corporate Director Communities highlighted the proposed strategic commitments that were set out in the draft Bridgend – Net Zero carbon Strategy, together with a series of proposed initiatives in relation to the themed areas.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that governance and engagement are essential to successfully deliver the Programme and the Board will oversee and track progress to Net Zero Carbon by 2030. The Programme Board will be chaired by the Cabinet Member for Communities and led by the Corporate Director Communities.
The Corporate Director Communities also reported that Bridgend had been selected by the Japanese Consortium Marubeni, a global specialist in renewables and hydrogen projects, as their chosen location to develop a New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) Investment Project. She stated that this would provide a significant opportunity for the Council to look to possibly decarbonise its corporate fleet and to look further at Hydrogen Energy applications. It could also provide potential benefits for other Local Authorities in the region, and to public sector partners such as the South Wales Police and Welsh Ambulance Service. She informed Cabinet that to move the development of the possible investment project forward, the Council needed to work alongside the Marubeni Corporation to both design and develop the project, which would also outline the precise components of the project, whether it be power or heat.
The Cabinet Member Communities stated that this is an essential as a corporate strategy and he was pleased to see how Directorates had bought into it. He thanked his predecessor in his role, Councillor Richard Young for being an advocate of the strategy and for his pioneering work. He stated that the Marubeni Corporation are innovators in the field, and it puts the Council at centre stage. The Leader stated that this was another strategy where the Council will deliver and where the Council has already commenced a programme of tree planting throughout the County Borough.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
Delegated authority to the Corporate Director of Communities, in consultation with the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change and Chief Officer - Legal, HR and Regulatory Services, to work with the Marubeni Corporation to design and develop the Hydrogen Demonstrator Project, to commission specialist legal advice utilising resources that will be made available from the Communities Directorate Earmarked Reserve (EMR) 2020-21 for implementing Bridgend 2030 Decarbonisation Strategy at an initial anticipated value of £30,000, from the Communities Directorate budget as required and to reports back to Cabinet on the full project proposal.