A new Action Plan to help tackle Climate Change and work towards a carbon neutral Council will be considered by our Cabinet.

We have already indicated plans to become carbon neutral (and for the rest of the Bay to do the same) by 2030 and the new council focused Action Plan and Policy will be seeking approval at the meeting on 22 March 2022.

With the sea level in Torbay expected to rise over one metre over the next 100 years, rising temperatures and an increase in floods, heat waves and storms, the effects of Climate Change are being seen locally as with everywhere else.

We declared a climate emergency in 2019 and committed to tackling climate change in its Community and Corporate Plan (2019-2023), but the new Carbon Neutral Council Action Plan and Environment and Carbon Neutral Policy outlines principles and actions for us to take. We will take action in every area of its operations and services, from energy to transport, housing, planning and in its contracting with providers. In addition to the work the Council is doing it is also working with a range of local partners through the newly established Torbay Climate Partnership to create a new Torbay-wide action plan later this year. But as it’s a climate emergency we have also been delivering an Initial Climate Action Plan for Torbay in 2021.

Our third Community Conference in November 2021 also focused on tackling climate change.

Actions already taken include:

  • Installation of energy saving LED streetlights, plus solar PV panels, electric forklift trucks and LED lighting across the Council estate.
  • Subject to planning permission, developing two new solar farms in Torbay
  • Recruited 80 Tree Warden volunteers to assist with future tree planting projects – the Council aims to plant over 350 trees by 2023
  • Secured funding to install electric vehicle charging points across the Bay.

Some actions in the new Carbon Neutral Council Action Plan include improving the way we work as a council:

  • Reviewing all our fleet, a pilot project for electric vehicles and electric charging points at 10-12 car parks across the Bay, and 5 active travel projects to encourage walking and cycling
  • Continuing to consult and co-design with our communities a flood defence/alleviation solution for Paignton and Preston Sea fronts
  • Working with Parkwood Leisure, install energy efficiency measures such as low carbon heat pumps and solar panels at Torbay Leisure Centre
  • Energy efficiency projects including supporting up to 230 homes to be more energy efficient as part of Heat Devon, plus working to make council buildings more energy efficient

We will also be holding a series of community climate conversations around how to tackle climate change across Torbay. This will be lead by the Torbay Climate Partnership.

An Earth Hour event is also taking place at Torre Abbey Sands on 26 March

In addition we are participating in the EU ARSINOE Project. This project will work with the University of Exeter to model flood risk and predicted future changes in climate to develop actions that will increase Torbay's resilience to a changing climate (including impacts on health and critical infrastructure.

Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “It is essential that as a Council we lead the way and do all we can to tackle climate change, and we are pleased to be able to present our proposed new Carbon Neutral Council Action Plan and Policy.

“Following our Community Conference last year, six key priority themes have emerged around tackling climate change and with the Torbay Climate Partnership, we will be holding a series of more targeted conversations with specific stakeholders later in the spring to help Torbay reduce its emissions.

“We can all do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint and it is essential that we all work together to address one of our most urgent issues.”

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said: “Our climate is changing, and the world is now about 1.2 degree Celsius warmer than it was in the 19th Century. We are seeing the catastrophic consequences of this warming across the world and these include floods, heat waves, fires, drought and crop failure. We are also seeing impacts locally, such as more severe storms and flooding, which are occurring more frequently.

“The new Action Plan and Policy are the Council’s commitment to play its role in tackling climate change and to help the rest of Torbay to do the same.”

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