Members from across Swansea Council’s political spectrum have become the first signatories of the council’s Charter on Climate Action.
Other people and organisations around the city will have the chance to sign the charter online from early this year.
It is a visible public reminder that the council aims to become net zero carbon by 2030 – and aims to make the city net zero by 2050.
The first people to sign the charter in a socially distance ceremony at the Guildhall were:
- Rob Stewart, council leader
- Andrea Lewis, joint deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, energy and service transformation
- David Hopkins, joint deputy leader and cabinet member for delivery and operations
- Peter Jones, councillor champion for natural environment and biodiversity
- Louise Gibbard, cabinet member for supporting communities
- Chris Holley, leader of the Lib-Dem and Independents group
- Lyndon Jones, leader of the Conservative group
- Peter May, leader of the Uplands group
All cabinet members are set to sign soon.
Cllr Stewart said: “The charter demonstrates this council’s commitment to do all we can to help fix the problems of climate change that recent generations have created.
“As a council we’ve been very successful in cutting our carbon footprint year after year with almost 24,000 tonnes saved per year compared to 2009 emissions – a reduction of over 55%.
“We’ve been on an ambitious path of carbon reduction since 2012, and are now leading Wales in so many areas of climate change, carbon reduction, sustainability and biodiversity, but we intend to do much more.”
Swansea has the largest electric fleet of council vehicles of any local authority in Wales. It is enabling schools to go net zero carbon by generating solar power on their roofs and has already fitted the next generation of energy-efficient lights to the city’s network of street lighting.
The council’s pension fund is the most advanced in actively divesting from energy-rich businesses of any comparable fund in the UK and is investing in energy-efficiency projects around the world, while protecting the pensions of its members.
The council remains committed to supporting the Dragon Island project which would be one of the biggest integrated green energy projects in the world. The council is supporting the creation of solar farms across Swansea and is advancing the creation of a green Swansea Bay Metro integrated transport system with Welsh Government.
Cllr Stewart added: “As a council we know there’s always more we can do and that’s why we’re setting ambitious targets for ourselves and the whole city. Working together we can create a better future planet for our children.”
Cllr Lewis said: “We’re building some of the most energy efficient council houses in Wales and retro-fitting others. We’re expanding our network of electric vehicle charge-points to encourage residents and visitors to invest in electric cars.
“There are many other measures we’ve taken in recent years and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved – but also excited about what we’ll do in the future to become net zero by 2030.
“The charter is a significant and inspiring indicator of our aspirations and I thank Martin Nicholls, the council’s director of place, for being such a driving force behind it.”
The charter – published online for viewing purposes now and to be followed by a version that supporters can sign digitally – follows on from a Notice of Motion agreed by Council in June, 2019, to declare a Climate Emergency.
The council is also developing an action plan to engage local businesses and organisations to join the effort to create a green, net zero carbon city by 2050.
Swansea Council’s Charter on Climate Action
We, the Signatories to Swansea Council Charter on Climate Action, affirm our commitment on behalf of our company/organisation to work towards becoming net zero carbon by 2030 and in doing so commit to the following:
WHAT WE AIM TO DO
- Within 1 year of signing, review our organisations current strategies and action plans for addressing climate change and Identify any further policy changes or actions which we could undertake, within the scope of our powers and resources, to meet the challenge of climate emergency.
- Fully align our actions with our wellbeing and biodiversity obligations to ensure our actions and commitments meet the requirements of our future generations and the need to halt and reverse the decline in biodiversity.
- Provide constructive challenge and proposals to Welsh and UK Governments and seek the relevant powers and resources to deliver against our action plan and Commitments
- Facilitate and partner with experts, businesses, investors, environmental advocates and other stakeholders to develop and implement a decarbonisation strategy for the region, including by developing a work programme, tools and resources necessary to achieve the agreed emission reduction targets;
- Maximise the use of renewals, and the reduction of energy use and loss both within our own energy consumption and in relation to utilising our assets for renewable energy generation
- Review our procurement methodologies and criteria to align with our emerging principle of what constitutes “value for money” to ensure appropriate inclusion of climate change and biodiversity is an appropriate part of any award criteria
HOW WE AIM TO DO IT
- Working collaboratively with others through seeking the help of local partners including public, private and voluntary sectors to, produce our own response to share with the community, explaining work already underway and achievements already made, as well as targets for the future.
MONITORING PROGRESS & KEEPING ALL PARTIES INFORMED
- Utilise our formal reporting mechanisms to place in the public domain how we are performing against our committed actions
- Fully engage with children and young people in line with the core principles of the UNCRC
- Quantify, track and publicly report our carbon emissions, consistent with standards and best practices of measurement and transparency
GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS
- Above all communicate a shared vision and understanding through the development of a common strategy and messaging, including by championing climate action within our sectors through an enhanced and trust-building dialogue with relevant stakeholders.