Stroud becomes carbon neutral council

Stroud District Council has claimed it has become the first carbon neutral local authority in the country.

At a meeting of the local authority’s environment committee on 17 December, councillors endorsed a report stating that Stroud District Council has become a carbon neutral council. 

According to the report, carbon dioxide emissions from the council’s operations have been outweighed by the reduction in emissions from energy efficiency measures and renewable energy installations it has put in place. 

The council’s environmental audit for 2014/15 showed its estimated CO2 emissions from its operations of 2,925 tonnes have been outweighed by the 3,275.6 tonnes saved by its environmental initiatives.

“This is a tremendous achievement, which has been delivered through a multi-pronged strategy focused on households, businesses and community buildings, as well as reducing the council’s own operational emissions,” said Committee Chair, Cllr Simon Pickering. 

"We have brought in over £36m investment into county allowing us to create jobs, cut heating bills and, of course, reduce carbon emissions. It’s been a win-win approach to tackling climate change, helping households and stimulating the local economy.”

The announcement comes just a week after the historic agreement on climate change was reached at the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

“Over several years the Council has been implementing its programme to reduce emissions and this year saw the cumulative effect of those measures take us carbon neutral,” added Council Leader, Cllr Geoff Wheeler.

“Households and organisations across the district have benefitted from energy efficiency and renewable installations and, as a social housing provider with over 5,000 homes, we have been able to make major improvements for many of our tenants, helping them to reduce their emissions and furthermore reduce fuel poverty.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government and energy issues