Scarborough Council's climate change plan 'crucial' for future to reduce carbon footprint

Switching to electric vehicles, reducing staff journeys and moving to traffic-free seafronts will all be considered by Scarborough Council as it looks to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 4:58 pm

The borough authority declared a Climate Emergency in January 2019 committing the council to doing all it can to meet its target to reduce its carbon footprint.

Today, a climate change task group made up of councillors presented its findings and recommendations to the council’s Places and Futures Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The task group found that the biggest contributing factor to the council’s carbon footprint was its fleet of vehicles, including its bin lorries, and that the authority should look to switch as many as possible to being electric vehicles (EV) or hydrogen powered.

Today, a climate change task group made up of councillors presented its findings and recommendations to the council. (Photo: Getty/Peter Macdiarmid/Sean Gallup)
Today, a climate change task group made up of councillors presented its findings and recommendations to the council. (Photo: Getty/Peter Macdiarmid/Sean Gallup)

The report noted: “The largest contributor to the council’s carbon footprint is the fuel we burn in our fleet vehicles and equipment at 1,209 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).

“The council has over 140 fleet vehicles, the majority of which are diesel fuel, and several petrol powered pieces of equipment such as leaf blowers.

“Over 500tCO2e is emitted from the gas boilers that heat many council buildings.

“While electricity use and supply losses are associated with over 730tCO2e, the council procures electricity on a 100 per cent renewable energy tariff and so can report net zero emissions from electricity.

“Staff travelled over 240,000 miles for business travel in private cars in 2019/20, which resulted in the emission of over 65tCO2e.”

'Lack of electric vehicles'

The nature of the terrain of the borough of Scarborough means it will be difficult to replace the vehicles, especially the Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) which contribute half of the emissions from vehicles.

The task group’s report added: “The council is aware that there is a current lack of electric HGVs and larger commercial vans that have the capability to perform on the necessary long and hilly routes across the borough.

“This approach must therefore be long-term in its understanding of innovations in the EV market and the developing hydrogen vehicle market as costs change.”

'Council must decarbonise'

The task group has come up with five strategic objectives for the council to meet its climate change commitment.

These are to decarbonise the council’s fleet and equipment through a planned electric and hydrogen transition, decarbonise the council estate through energy efficiency measures and utilising green energy, promote zero emission transport in staff business travel and commuting, minimise emissions embedded in the procurement and consumption of goods and services and embed net zero thinking into every aspect of the council’s culture.

To do this the task group wants the council to explore by 2023 the possibility of having traffic-free seafronts and bringing e-bike and e-scooter schemes in urban areas.

Tree planting initiatives will also be encouraged. The report also notes that the council will use its position to encourage local businesses and residents to try to reduce their own carbon footprint.

'Climate change plan 'crucial' for future'

Cllr Phil Trumper, the chairman of the Climate Change task group, said: “This is probably one of the most important projects I have worked on as a borough councillor.

“Getting it right is going to be crucial to meeting our target of net zero by 2030 and also crucial for all of our futures. It is that important.”

The strategy will go before the council’s cabinet next month for approval after it was endorsed by the members of the scrutiny committee.