Tackling climate change remains a priority of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council as it continues its commitment to become a ‘Carbon-Free Council’ by 2050. 

The Council’s Cabinet agreed recommendations in response to Net Zero, the committee on climate change. 

The Council has already cut its carbon omissions by almost 40 per cent over the past five years and latest figures show its carbon footprint has fallen by 12,725 tonnes since 2014. 

County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council said: “Over the past few months there has been strong pressure placed on international, national, regional and local government to declare a climate emergency. 

“As a Council, we already recognise the urgency to respond to the evidence of climate change and the Council has signed up to the UK100 Clean Energy Commitment. 

“We have already taken action, showing this Council’s commitment to reducing the impact it has on the environment. But, there is still much we can do, and we need to widen our role to see how, by working with our City Region local authorities and working with Welsh Government, we can reduce the amount of carbon fuels used in our residents’ everyday life. 

“The next step is to get a good understanding of our current baseline, and to commit to a targeted approach which will have the greatest impact in achieving the target of Net Zero greenhouse gases by 2050.” 

We acknowledge there is still a lot of work to be done but we are looking to build proposals into our new Corporate Plan in order to achieve our ultimate goal of becoming Net Zero by 2050. These are not just words - we need actions if we are to reach this target.” 

In 2018, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council signed up to the UK100 initiative, committing the Council to be carbon-free by 2050.

The Council has already undertaken a number of steps in order to reduce its carbon footprint, such as the use of LED lighting and working with partners on renewable energy projects across the County Borough. 

Good practice by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to date includes: 

  • Upgrading all street lights to efficient LED units and turning off street lights in specific localities 
  • Investing in solar panels, LED lighting, wall and roof insulation, energy-efficient gas boilers and combined heat and power units in many schools, leisure centres and Council buildings 
  • The installation of electric cooking equipment in all new kitchens, benefitting from renewable energy 
  • Significantly reduced the amount of waste disposed of by landfill or through energy for waste 
  • Invested heavily in the Healthy Hillsides project, in conjunction with Welsh Government and Fire Service, with benefits for carbon reduction, biodiversity and air quality 
  • Through planning agreements with wind farm developers, hundreds of hectares of peat and associated habitats have been targeted for restoration, and their carbon and water storage increased 
  • Invested in 20 micro generation Hydrogen Fuel Cells for its highest energy users such as care homes, large schools and leisure centres, with the ambition to expand further 

But it is also recognised that despite all the above e good work carried out by the Council to date, there are opportunities to do more. 

With the Council’s Corporate Plan due to expire in 2020, Cabinet agreed that there is opportunity to reflect on environmental considerations in setting future priorities. 

Cabinet also agreed the recommendations set out in the Net Zero report.

Posted on Wednesday 24th July 2019

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