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Council Declares 'Climate Emergency'

Authority says we can all play a part in becoming more energy efficient

Swansea Council is setting out to become one of the most energy-efficient local authorities in Wales.

Over the last decade the council has slashed its carbon footprint by 30%, but has plans to go even further over the coming years.

And a notice of motion agreed by Full Council (June 27) aimed at declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ calls on the city as a whole to play its part in tackling the challenges of climate change.

The council has set an example with recent initiatives including creating the biggest electric vehicle fleet of any local authority in Wales, spending more than £6m introducing LED street lighting and retro-fitting hundreds of council homes with energy-efficient boilers and kitchens.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “Swansea Council has always been strongly committed to doing all it can to protect and enhance our local environment.

“On top of that we see ourselves as a leading voice in encouraging others to follow suit. That’s one of the reasons why we invest heavily in encouraging residents to recycle their waste.

“It is also why we are calling on councillors and the wider public to support the notice of motion and take steps to deal with the climate emergency that poses a threat to our children and their children’s futures.”

He said: “For example, we work with local groups and organisations on green initiatives to encourage residents, groups and local organisations to play their part in protecting their local environments.

“We are supporting tree-planting initiatives across the city which will see at least 4,000 new trees being planted in our communities in the next few years. As well as that environmental improvements are at the forefront of the City Deal projects on Kingsway and the new digital arena.

“When completed there will be twice the number of trees in the city centre than there were before work started.”

Councillor Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy, said the council’s energy strategy targets ongoing reductions in energy use in day-to-day activities.

She said: “In addition to this the council is shortly embarking on a further ‘invest to save’ programme allowing investment in more efficient boilers and lighting controls with the cost paid back from savings produced.

“This ReFit programme is due to start in the next few months and will be focussed on millions of pounds of energy-efficiency improvements at council-owned buildings.”

The council is also leading the way in developing a new generation of council housing which meet a ‘Swansea Standard’ energy efficiency rating much higher than current regulations demand and help tenants to keep energy bills down.

Cllr Stewart said: “The climate emergency that we face is real and if we do nothing it will get worse. We need to recognise it by reducing the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere.

“Everyone can be part of it. A greener, environment friendly council will help us reduce our costs over time. Residents who use less energy, invest in electric cars or do their bit to recycle can also make their mark in tackling the climate emergency.

“I hope this demonstrates our continued commitment to this crucial agenda. But all of us need to play our part.”

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