This summer’s heat wave was a stark reminder that the climate emergency real. We have to everything we can to help reduce climate change and ensure that our city is prepared to tackle the consequences. In partnership with other anchor institutions, the city council has unveiled an ambitious plan to make Newcastle net zero by 2030. This is 20 years ahead of UK government targets. Net zero means that the amount of carbon dioxide – one of the main greenhouse gases the city produces is the same that residents absorb.
It’s vital that these emissions are lowered. This can be achieved by switching to renewable energy and greener transport.
What needs to be done and progress so far
The climate emergency can be partly tackled by measures such as planting trees and using new technology like carbon capture. Newcastle council is making good progress. A £27m bid was successful from the government’s public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to install low carbon heating and energy efficiencies in public buildings. For instance, Kenton school has gone green with £633k of works to install solar PV panels on the school roof helping to reduce electricity use. This will save £51k in yearly energy bills. These measures are expected to deliver a reduction in the school’s carbon footprint of 41 tonnes.
of carbon dioxide a year.
North East Community Forest
The council has teamed up with five other regional local authorities to set up the North East Community Forest, a 30-year, multi-million-pound tree planting project while some Kenton schools have been designated as ‘Forest schools’ with the aim of making pupils environmentally conscious.
The council has declared a bio-diversity emergency and is signed up to implement actions that include:
- Using planning powers to improve biodiversity
- Phasing out the use of weedkillers within five years by working with local communities to develop alternative management systems for local neighbourhoods
- Protecting and restoring the city’s parks and green spaces
- Exploring ways of integrating planting into highways developments and
- Setting up a natural burial ground.