An ambitious strategy aiming to make Kent carbon neutral by 2050 has been agreed by Kent County Council.
The Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy sets out key actions needed to ensure the county will have, eliminating poor air quality, reducing fuel poverty and delivering an affordable, clean and secure energy supply for Kent and Medway.
The strategy, which was endorsed this week, looks at the link between the supply of energy for housing, industry and transport and air quality, recognising that reducing emissions from the former will lead to improvements in the latter.
As such, priorities in the strategy seek to ensure that future growth in planning and development demonstrably helps the county mitigate climate change.
This includes tackling poor air quality; reducing carbon emissions; and ensuring a sustainable, secure and affordable energy supply, alongside supporting electric vehicles and promoting walking, cycling and public transport.
KCC Cabinet Member for Environment Susan Carey said: “This strategy gives us a big ambition for the county – a single, simple goal – to ensure that every resident, neighbourhood and business in the county takes some simple steps to care for this beautiful, productive, yet fragile part of the world.
“This isn’t a vague aspiration, it’s a plan of what we want to do and is separate to KCC’s own estate and operations where our plans are to be at net zero carbon by 2030.
“There is huge pressure for growth in our county and we need to find new ways to ensure it is good growth, protecting our environment, our economy and our health.”
Since 2010, Kent County Council has been actively reducing the emissions of its own estate.
Over the last 10 years KCC’s own emissions have been reduced by 49%.
This has been achieved by halving the emissions from KCC-owned vehicles, upgrading to LED streetlights, lowering business travel and making KCC buildings more energy efficient.
The detailed implementation plan is being developed and will be agreed in the autumn by the new Kent and Medway Environment Group.
Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy 10 Priority Actions
- Priority 1: emission reduction pathways to 2050
Set area and organisational five-year carbon budgets and emission reduction pathways to 2050, with significant reduction by 2030.
- Priority 2: public sector decision making
Develop a consistent approach across Kent and Medway, to assess, manage and mitigate environmental impacts (both positive and negative), resulting from public sector policies, strategies, service delivery, commissioning and procurement.
- Priority 3: planning and development
Ensure climate change, energy, air quality and environmental considerations are integrated into Local Plans, policies and developments, by developing a clean growth strategic planning policy and guidance framework for Kent and Medway, to drive down emissions and mainstream climate resilience.
- Priority 4: climate emergency investment fund
Establish a trusted Kent and Medway ‘Climate Emergency’ carbon sequestration, offset and renewable energy investment scheme and fund.
- Priority 5: building retrofit programme
Set up a Kent and Medway net-zero buildings retrofit plan and programme for public sector, domestic and businesses.
- Priority 6: transport, travel and digital connectivity
Set up a smart connectivity and mobility modal shift programme – linking sustainable transport, transport innovations, active travel, virtual working, broadband, digital services, artificial intelligence and behaviour change.
- Priority 7: renewable energy generation
Set up an opportunities and investment programme for renewable electricity and heat energy generation
- Priority 8: green infrastructure
Develop a multi-functional, natural capital opportunity and investment programme – focusing on environmental projects that store carbon, increase climate change resilience, improve air quality and increase biodiversity.
- Priority 9: supporting low carbon business
Develop a support programme for Kent and Medway’s Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services sector
- Priority 10: communications
Develop a comprehensive communications, engagement and behaviour change programme targeted at residents, employees, businesses and visitors.