Community working together on climate change challenge

Braintree District Council has announced its draft strategy to help the district tackle the climate change challenge. 

The strategy, which will go out to public consultation in May 2021, is designed to be one that not only applies to the council but to the district as well.  

After a Climate Emergency was declared in July 2019, the council brought together a working group represented by councillors, businesses, residents and community organisations across the district. The group’s research has led to the creation of the draft strategy which looks to make council activities, as far as practical, carbon neutral by 2030. This ambition has been extended to support the district as a whole to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and to support communities so they can adapt to the impacts of climate change.  

The Council has confirmed that, prior to declaring the climate emergency, it has reduced its use of single use plastics and its carbon emissions. It had installed solar panels on its buildings, electric charging points on its land and has installed other environmentally friendly measures. Since 2015, the council has saved 600 tonnes of CO2 through the reduction of electricity use and 1,252 tonnes of CO2 through the reduction of gas consumption.  

The council has also been working on the creation of flood alleviation, habitat Improvements to increase biodiversity in woodlands and local nature reserves across the district as well as tree, bulb and hedge planting and other environmentally friendly schemes. An action plan will be created later this year with future initiatives to support the strategy.   

Last month Braintree District Council announced it has earmarked half a million pounds for climate change initiatives in its budget for 2021/22.  

A special meeting of Full Council on March 15 will be asked to agree to a six-week stakeholder engagement on the draft climate change strategy ahead of the final Climate Change Strategy being presented to Council in July 2021.  

The Climate Change Strategy attempts to complement national and regional plans such as the Environment Bill 2020 and Essex Climate Change Strategy.   

Cllr Wendy Schmitt, Cabinet Member for Environment and Place said: “The climate crisis is the most significant issues we all face. We cannot achieve the district’s climate change aims and objectives on our own, so I am so pleased the working group has made such an impact and that we already have ideas from business and residents. Many activities which we will carry out over the next decade will make our district a more pleasant place to live by reducing waste, improving air quality and providing public spaces which are more people-focused, greener and biodiverse.”  

Full Council will also be asked to approve a six-week stakeholder engagement on a draft Cycling Strategy. Braintree District Council is working with Essex County Council to identify how cycling infrastructure can be improved in the district to make active travel a realistic alternative for more people. The council’s ultimate goal is for district wide connectivity for safer and greener travel which feeds into the draft Climate Change Strategy.

The draft strategy can be read within Full Council papers here.

Watch Full Council here:

Published: 9th March 2021