Under the current Liberal Democrat administration, St Albans City & District Council has exceeded its annual carbon savings target, according to a report presented at last week’s meeting of the Climate Advisory Group that was set up in 2019 to help tackle the climate emergency.
The report calculates that, for the year 2020/21, St Albans district council emitted 2,679 tonnes of carbon equivalents across all its operations and services – a 40% reduction from the previous year.
Key to achieving the savings has been the move to green electricity supplier Ecotricity, reducing electricity usage in corporate buildings, and more efficient operations by council contractors providing services such as waste and recycling, leisure and grounds maintenance.
Through its Sustainability and Climate Crisis strategy, St Albans district council aspires to achieve an 80% reduction in emissions across all its activities by 2026/27, compared to the 2008 baseline of 7,168 tonnes. Achieving this goal will require annual carbon savings of at least 348 tonnes. The most recent figure represents a 63% saving over the 2008/09 baseline, demonstrating positive long-term progress.
Jamie Day, Liberal Democrat councillor for Colney Heath ward and chair of the Climate Advisory Group, said: “Last year’s carbon savings figure is a tremendous achievement. While the latest saving was undoubtedly aided by reduced activity during periods of lockdown, I am reassured that the longer trend is downwards. However, we must not be complacent - achieving the 348 tonnes annual saving goal will get harder every year.”
It was also confirmed during the Climate Advisory Group meeting that St Albans district council plans to double tree planting on its own land to 3,000 new trees in the 2021/22 planting season, as well as facilitating greater tree planting across the district through the planning system.