Agreement on financial commitment to Hertfordshire’s Sustainability Action Plan
At its Cabinet meeting on 14 December, Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet unanimously agreed the Sustainable Hertfordshire Action Plan and to commit substantial funding to support it.
The action plan is part of the county council’s nine green ambitions, including; reducing landfill in Hertfordshire to zero by 2030, improving biodiversity on its land by 20 per cent, and making it a net zero greenhouse gas county before 2050.
At their full council meeting today (15 December), councillors agreed that a substantial financial commitment would be made to deliver the Action Plan, the precise amount to be specified in Cabinet proposals as part of the Integrated Plan budget process for 2021/2024. It is anticipated that funding will not only provide for the direct delivery of initiatives, but also leverage national and regional funding and be available to bring forward community matched funds to support the climate change agenda and the Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy.
In summing up the debate, Conservative Councillor Teresa Heritage, Deputy Leader of the county council, confirmed that she would be bidding for £12m to support the Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy and its Action Plan.
Councillor Heritage also said: "The approval of our action plan and the commitment to a substantial budget proposal is a welcome, positive step towards achieving our long term ambitions of a cleaner, greener and more environmentally sustainable county.
Our strategy was approved in March and we are proud to have presented and discussed our plan at all our Cabinet Panels, providing our county councillors with the opportunity to engage across all the council’s service areas and support its adoption.
We aim to ensure that the management of the council’s operations will have an exemplary sustainability focus. We know that buildings and transport are the highest emitters of carbon in the county, which is why we have committed to being carbon neutral in our own operations by 2030.
We are actively engaging with district and borough councils, landowners, farmers, water companies, UK power networks, our suppliers, partners and other organisations across the county to tackle county-wide issues. Our action plan will enable us to monitor and track our success and areas for improvement, ensuring sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do. And through our leadership, we aim to inspire and encourage residents and local businesses to live and operate in a more sustainable way.
The county council is already making progress on some of the actions outlined in the plan including securing an £18,000 grant as part of the Local Government Association’s Net Zero Innovation Programme. In partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, the county council will collect and analyse care home data to map energy behaviours, consumption and wastage at one of its care homes. Identifying areas for improved energy efficiency and solutions, helping the home to be more sustainable and cost effective.
The action plan builds on programmes as diverse as the replacement of all the county’s streetlights with LED luminaires; a revised verge maintenance regime to extend pollinator habitats and align with the Pollinator Strategy, the introduction of electric vehicles and power tools for highway maintenance and the plan for the development of a carbon neutral primary school as a pilot project in Buntingford.