LEZLEY PICTON, Shropshire Council’s new Leader, spoke at a national webinar about the measures the council is taking to achieve net zero by 2030, a commitment which was made following the declaration of a climate emergency back in May 2019.

She was invited to the webinar as part of the council’s involvement in the Countryside Climate Network (CNN), which is made up of ambitious local leaders from predominantly rural councils.

As members of UK100, the CCN are committed to delivering climate action in their communities and amplifying the rural voice as part of their national policy advocacy, bringing the best from cities and the countryside together.

“I feel privileged to have been asked to talk at this event, and about a topic which impacts on every aspect of our lives,” said Ms Picton.

“As a rural county, we have a huge part to play in achieving net zero carbon emissions, and it’s important that we all work together to make it happen.”

Following the declaration of a climate emergency, the council adopted a corporate Climate Strategy and Action Plan in December 2020. This strategy establishes the objective of achieving net zero carbon performance for the council by 2030. It also sets an ambition for the council to become ‘energy self-sufficient’ by 2030.

The council acts as a community leader for climate change and is one of the key founders and supporters of the community-led ‘Shropshire Climate Action Partnership’ which has developed and published a climate strategy for the wider county. It’s also helping to co-ordinate and support wider community action to address local carbon performance.

A small Climate Change Task Force was established to lead the council’s response in November 2019 to co-ordinate work on this agenda. Early efforts have focused on embedding and normalising climate change in the council’s strategies and corporate governance systems.

“Considering the impact of our activities on the climate, this has been adopted as one of our eight key organisation principles. We are also considering how best to introduce an annual carbon budget.”