Devon County Council aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 after revising target date

Devon County Council (DCC) says it will strive to become carbon neutral by 2030 – two decades sooner than its original target. 

Members unanimously backed  a motion put forward by Councillor Jacqi Hodgson calling for the date to be reconsidered.

DCC had previously decided on 2050 to achieve the environmentally-friendly move.

Green Party member Cllr Hodgson had called for this to be revised down to 2025.

The ruling cabinet, though, suggested  2030 and that, through its role in the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, the authority should encourage the Net-Zero Task Force to be ambitious in its drafting of the Devon Carbon Plan.

Cllr Hodgson said she was happy to accept the amendment and thanked the cabinet for bringing forward the target date to 2030.

DCC’s carbon footprint has already fallen by almost 40 per cent since 2012/13 – and it expects to hit a 50 per cent reduction target next year, nine years earlier than planned.

The authority will now aim to reach a 70 per cent reduction by 2030. The remainder of the carbon footprint will be offset at levels which will gradually increase, initially through government-approved tree planting schemes.

DCC will retain its existing target to source 30 per cent of its energy requirement from renewable sources by 2030.

Cllr Hodgson added: “We need to look a bit more carefully about the implications of offsetting, but at least we have a framework in position and that is to be welcomed.”

DCC leader Cllr John Hart added: “This is the start and not the end; 2030 is an end date but it may get shortened.

“We are putting this out and working with experts who know what they are talking about.”

Dave Black, head of planning, transportation and environment, said in a report to the meeting: “The recommendation demonstrates the necessary local leadership to accelerate the decarbonisation of Devon, the UK and, indeed, the globe that is required to avoid the worst effects of climate change on our communities.

“It also provides an opportunity for wider environmental enhancement and community resilience through the development of carbon offset schemes in Devon.

“Reducing the corporate carbon footprint by 70 per cent by 2030 will avoid £3.4m in energy costs in comparison to the existing 50 per cent target.”

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