How does the council propose to act on tackling climate change, or how it has already acted since the start of 2020, in the following areas?
The council publishes its inventory of emissions annually, you can find it here.
We have installed electric charging points across the district and are actively looking at installing further charge points for those without access to charging at home. We promote active travel, including purchasing an electric bike for staff use. We are working with communities to improve footpaths and cycle lanes, including through our local Plan. We are also planning some Electric Vehicle promotions once Covid restrictions allow. We work closely with Leicestershire County Council on active travel and highways planning. Car share schemes at the leisure centres and encouraging bus travel. Also a salary sacrifice scheme for the purchase of bikes for staff.
We have invested in new energy efficient buildings (Grow-on Centre) built to BREEAM excellent standard. We are continually looking at improving energy efficiency of our buildings and monitor energy use regularly. Rather than replace bulbs and lighting our leisure centres convert to LED and change to PIR sensors, also centres are part of a digital portal that helps to manage efficiency in real time. We have also retrofit our existing buildings to be more energy efficient and generate renewables. In the Harborough Market Hall, we have fitted PV-powered lighting, which is lighting that is at least partially powered by electricity generated from PV panels (often called solar panels). We have additionally fit LED lightbulbs which are more energy efficient.
We have moved to renewable energy supply. We installed PV solar panels on our Market Hall building to generate electricity and reduce emissions. We are planning to investigate if there are further opportunities for PV on council owned buildings. We also promote energy efficiency measures through a partnership with Harborough Energy, this has led to almost 1000 homes having loft or cavity wall insulation completed over the last 3 years. We also promote a collective switching programme, which helps residents reduce energy costs and now offers 100% renewable electricity.
We promote recycling and have worked with community groups on a Plastic Free Pledge, including promoting reduced plastic use in our market, with market traders moving to reusable or paper bags. We also collect green waste and send it for composting, reducing the amount of organic material in non-recyclable waste. We run a business recycling service, to reduce the amount of business waste that goes to landfill. Work with HDC to ensure non re-useable items such as takeaway cups etc are sustainably resourced for cafes.
- Land use
Our Local Plan includes specific policies to ensure climate change is considered in new development. We work with the Welland River Trust and The Soar catchment partnership, as well as local community groups (Harborough Woodland) to promote woodland and wildflower meadow creation, as well as opportunities for natural flood management. Our own team are actively promoting wildflower planting and additional trees on HDC owned land where appropriate. We also have robust standards for new developers for the creation of semi natural green space. The Open Spaces Strategy is being reviewed and will include provision for Natural and Semi Natural Greenspace. We continue to promote climate change through neighbourhood plans and we are developing plans to encourage healthy neighbourhoods.
The council recognises that the effects of climate change will be felt within communities for many years, including flooding, overheating and more variable weather. The council works in partnership to build resilience with local communities and to look for opportunities to address impacts, including projects on natural flood management on local rivers and streams; emergency planning with parishes and working with partners to reduce flood risk, especially in Market Harborough. The Local Plan also includes policies to ensure development considers future climate impacts, including overheating of buildings.