Cornwall Council has been marking the first anniversary of declaring a ‘climate emergency’, highlighting its key achievements in helping Cornwall cut its carbon emissions over the past 12 months.

On 22 January 2019, Cornwall Council was among the country’s first local authorities to make the climate emergency declaration which included a call to Westminster to provide the powers and resources necessary to achieve the target for Cornwall to strive towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Since then the Council has produced a “climate change action plan” with more than 120 aims; planted the first trees of its flagship climate emergency project the Forest for Cornwall; engaged 3,000 residents on what they think should be the Council’s climate change priorities and adopted a new decision-making framework to ensure environmental factors and social benefits are considered in planning all major projects across the Council.

Yesterday, (Jan 21) Cornwall Council Leader Councillor Julian German summarised the main achievements of its Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme to date in his Leader’s Announcements speech at full council.

He said: “Having heard last week that the last decade was the hottest on record, it is timely that last January, here in the Council Chamber, we declared a climate emergency and only six months later Cabinet unanimously approved our own ambitious Climate Change Action Plan, with over 120 key actions. It’s been a busy year with many achievements and there are more planned for the coming year.

“Our work on progressing this agenda at pace and our achievements have placed us as a leading local authority on climate change and many other councils and partners have approached us about our action plan and our decision-making wheel.

“I hope you agree with me that we have made great progress in a year; and there is a lot more work planned for us to do ourselves and with others next year and beyond, to unlock Cornwall’s potential to become carbon neutral.”

Cllr German highlighted the Council’s three key asks of Government to support the Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme, including the financial and training requirements needed to undertake the mass housing retrofit of all Cornwall’s housing stock; a faster transition towards the Future Homes building regulations standard; and strategic investment in the south west’s grid to ensure vital electricity grid upgrades.