Turning thought into action; the Combined Authority Board votes on ambitions for net-zero strategy
Action plans to support sustainable, green growth in the region have been recommended for approval by members at the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Board meeting on the 30th of March. As a direct response to the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate (the Commission) 58 recommendations published last year, the Combined Authority has established a Climate Action Plan focused on identifying and supporting strategic priorities and collaborative action. If approved, the actions agreed in the plan will be implemented between 2022 to 2025 with a regular review of the process to monitor its progress and update actions.
To drive action into policy, the Combined Authority was recommended by the Commission to create: a Climate Cabinet, a green investment team and a Climate Action Plan. Since then, the Combined Authority has instituted and set in motion a Climate Working Group, chaired by the mayor Dr Nik Johnson. Local leaders from the Combined Authority, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Business Board, Cambridge and Peterborough City Councils, Cambridgeshire County Council, transport service providers, universities, businesses, and the Commission make up the group and together produced the Climate Action Plan.
Rooted in the Combined Authority’s sustainable growth ambitions, the Climate Action Plan implements measurable targets to set the region on a pathway to net-zero emissions whilst also acknowledging the need for adaptation to environmental changes. Types of actions have been developed in line with themes within the Commission’s report identified as:
- Building block projects – things that need to happen to enable adaptation and mitigation, such as electric vehicle charging points
- Finance model – making sure there are ways to invest in climate change actions
- Community action – helping communities take action themselves
- Direct Emissions reductions – actions that directly themselves reduce the emission of greenhouse gases
- Nature-based solutions – using our natural environment to take climate action
The plan acknowledges that individuals and businesses are, in many cases, already doing what they can to make climate-conscious choices. The Combined Authority is keen to work collaboratively with partners and local authorities to support climate projects that enable people to keep making those choices, and where they can, go bigger. For instance, alongside the Greater South East Energy Hub, the Action Plan looks to financially assist people in making energy-efficient improvements to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions sons butt also, energy costs in the home. As for businesses, there are projects funded within the action plan to build capacity in new green markets which will reduce costs over time and develop green skills.
Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough said:
I am enormously proud of the work that the Climate Working Group have put into developing a detailed action plan. If approved, the Combined Authority will, for the first time, have a concrete ‘greenprint’ to ensure that we make the most of every opportunity to support the region in reaching our net-zero goals.
Since 2005, carbon emissions in the region have decreased by twenty-four per cent. It is so important that we continue to accelerate this change to meet the carbon reduction pathway recommended by the Independent Commission. The Climate Action Plan takes into consideration the significant interventions and behaviour changes to be made to reach our net-zero goals and puts steps in place to support the community in doing so.
There will be many hundreds, if not thousands of decisions to be made over the next few years that will determine how successfully we are to fully mitigate and adapt to climate change. The key to making the most impactful decisions is cooperation. This Climate Action Plan has been a result of forward-thinking collaboration between leaders in the region and I am looking forward to working together to actualise this strategy.”