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We are committed to helping to tackle climate change and want to work with our community to become carbon neutral by 2030. This year a new Carbon Neutral Interim Action Plan was approved by Cabinet on 23 March 2021. 

More tree planting, better walking and cycling routes, solar power and electric charging points are just some of the measures included in the new plan to be delivered throughout 2021.

We will also in 2021 develop its our Carbon Neutral Council programme including plans to work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030. 

Residents will also continue to be supported to reduce money on carbon emissions and save money through advice to make their homes more energy efficient. Practical advice and support is available through local partners Exeter Community Energy.

Carbon Neutral Action Plan

We will carry out the following actions:

Solar farms

We will continue to explore the development of two solar farms at Brokenbury and near the Willows in Torquay. With the two proposed new solar farms, we could produce 5-megawatts of clean energy in the Bay. This means that we do not need to generate this energy from fossil fuels like gas, which, when burnt to create electricity, emit harmful carbon emissions that contribute to the climate emergency.

Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP)

A new Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) has been consulted on and will be updated to reflect the feedback received before being presented to Cabinet in April. It will guide future investment with £120,000 of walking and cycling projects prioritised in 2021/22. Choosing to commute by walking or cycling once a week could save around 346kg of CO2 a year - every mile you travel without your petrol or diesel car saves enough CO2 to fill 10 balloons.

Sea walls

As our climate is changing, sea levels are rising and more storms are hitting Torbay. With the Environment Agency we will act to rapidly reduce properties at risk from flooding. This will include consulting on the design of new sea walls along Paignton and Preston sea fronts, with construction to start towards the end of the summer months in 2021.

Tree planting

We will deliver effective tree planting schemes as part of a new three year funded i-tree 2 initiative. We will plant over 350 of the right trees in the right place. It will include community participation and the launch of a supportive Tree Warden scheme. This programme is all about planting trees for our children's children.

Walking and cycling routes

We have a commitment to improve the walking and cycling routes around the bay area, eventually connecting Torquay to Brixham with a coastal route. In 2021 we will provide a safer, more direct and attractive walking and cycling connection between Goodrington and Broadsands.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Reducing, reusing and recycling the waste we create will help us all to play a part in tackling climate change. Through our new recycling support co-ordinators, we will help residents to recycle more of their waste, focussing initially on their food waste. New leaflets will also be sent out to all households clarifying what materials can be recycled.  We will also introduce a new charged-for garden waste collection service. Over the next three years we aim to increase recycling rates from the current 40% to 50%.

Energy saving

We will continue to offer the Eco Flexible Eligibility Scheme and working with Exeter Community Energy we will deliver energy saving advice to homes in fuel poverty.  We will also establish an advice portal to help residents across Torbay to make energy efficient changes to their homes, like insulation.

Torbay Leisure Centre

We have secured £1.8 million of funding from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to reduce Torbay Leisure Centre’s carbon emissions by 60%. We will install a range of energy and carbon saving measures including air source heat pumps to create low carbon heating and hot water and solar panels to generate clean electricity. 

Electric vehicles

The government has pledged from 2030 to ban the purchase of new petrol and diesel cars. We will work with South West partners to bring electric vehicle charging points to selected car parks in Torbay. Electric cars are also cheaper to maintain, better for the environment and quieter.

Melville Street Project

As part of the new Melville Street Project we will deliver targeted and practical energy efficiency advice to residents in this area.

Other work

We will also in 2021 develop our own Carbon Neutral Council programme and with our partners and communities develop a Carbon Neutral Torbay Action Plan. This builds on our Energy and Climate Change Strategy and the work we are doing with the Devon Climate Emergency website.

Devon Climate Emergency

On 24 June 2019, we declared a ‘Climate Emergency’. As a partner, we support the work of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, which is aiming to produce a collaborative Devon-wide response to the climate emergency to help us get to net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible and also prepare Devon for the necessary adaptation to infrastructure and services required to respond to climate change. Further information on the progress of this plan and how you can get involved can be found on the Devon Climate Emergency website.

Do your bit

Here are some useful tips and information to help you do your bit to make Torbay carbon neutral and tackle the Climate Emergency.

Visit the Devon Climate Emergency website for top tips on how to reduce your own carbon footprint.

Leave the car at home and walk and cycle more. For local advice including routes visit our cycling pages.

Reduce the amount of waste you create and reuse and recycle more. For top tips see our Waste minimisation page.

To save energy contact Exeter Community Energy for friendly impartial energy saving advice. You can also find out more through the Energy Saving Trust - a respected and trusted voice on energy efficiency and clean energy solutions.

Find out more on our energy efficiency pages. Reducing energy use, improving your living conditions and saving money are three good reasons for you to consider energy efficiency improvements or energy saving techniques.

Plant more trees and biodiversity rich plants in your garden. For more ideas see the Devon Wildlife Trust website.

Thanks to our partnership with Groundwork South we are able to offer a range of volunteering opportunities in parks and open spaces including gardening, tree planting and lots of other activities.

Groundwork South also run a regular Green Café which is open to all residents and is a chance to chat with local people about green spaces, getting outdoors and getting involved. Each week there is a guest speaker talking about a different subject relating to parks and green spaces. Anyone interested in attending the Green Café can contact Hannah Worthington.