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Staffordshire's green changes contribute to bigger picture

Posted on Friday 11th November 2022
Rugeley Air Cadets 1 (Tom Grocott)

Rugeley Air Cadets has been helped enormously by obtaining a grant for solar-powered lighting, says Tom Grocott, pictured.

As world leaders discuss the challenge of global warming, Staffordshire communities are urged to keep making changes on their doorsteps.

Since declaring a climate emergency in 2019, Staffordshire County Council’s carbon emissions have fallen by 43 per cent as the authority pursues its goal of being net zero by 2050.

Despite that fall, and the carbon reduction projects being planned, the public sector is only estimated to be responsible for around two per cent of the 5.8 million tonnes of carbon currently emitted annually within Staffordshire.

Simon Tagg, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Change, said:

While what we do makes a difference, it’s clear that our position at the centre of our communities puts us in a position where our example, influence and ability to connect individuals, groups and businesses with support, grants and innovation means we have the potential to encourage change on a far wider scale.”

Earlier this year, the County Council and Staffordshire’s eight district and borough councils formed the Staffordshire Sustainability Board to develop and deliver joint carbon reductions initiatives uniformly across the county.

And the authority is still supporting the Staffordshire Business and Environment Network (sben) where 350 members ranging from multi-national hi-tech exporters to country pubs receive help to reduce energy consumption, to access grants and support wherever possible, to become more sustainable and save money in the process.

Simon Tagg said:

Investing in local physical and digital infrastructure to support the economy is essential for our future prosperity, while the work of sben means businesses of all shapes and sizes can access the latest ideas and technology to become more sustainable.

At the same time, we are installing heat pumps, better insultation and other energy-saving measures in eligible homes and making small grants to community organisations across Staffordshire that make a difference.”

Examples of work from Climate Action Fund grants, include:

  • Rugeley Air Cadets installing solar-powered floodlights enabling them to do activities outside all year and save money;
  • Biddulph Town Council distributing low-energy LED lights to members of the community;
  • Upgrading the lighting in the sports hall at Rugeley Community Centre, which not only reduces energy consumption and saves money, but the improvement means the hall can be used safely for a wide range of events.

Simon Tagg added:

Small changes and single schemes can add together to make more substantial improvement and help, grants and advice are readily available for households and businesses to do something worthwhile.”

The annual report on Staffordshire County Council’s work to become carbon neutral will be considered at Cabinet on 16th November, alongside the action plan for the next three years.

*See the difference the Climate Action Grant made for Rugeley Air Cadets.

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