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Council confirms its alignment with Government's 2050 net-zero ambition

Wednesday, 24 March 2021 07:49

Douglas Borough Council is fully supportive of the Isle of Man Government’s ambition to transition to net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.


The Council’s stance, as expressed in the minutes of the Executive Committee, was the subject of debate at its virtual Council meeting held on Wednesday March 11 when it was confirmed that a climate change mitigation strategy would form part of the next iteration of the Council’s Corporate Plan.


In support of the government’s climate change agenda, the Council commissioned the Carbon Trust consultancy in late 2019 to provide a report to calculate the Council’s current carbon footprint and identify measures that would reduce the negative environmental impact of its actions and shape its future carbon-neutral strategy. Although an early draft report was produced in February 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has halted any substantial further work.


Council Leader and Executive Committee Chair Councillor David Christian MBE JP said: ‘We received the Carbon Trust’s report with interest. Accelerating the transition to net zero is central to tackling climate change. As the Island’s largest local authority we are committed to doing all we can to meet the carbon reduction expectations of those whom we serve, the wider community and our government partners.


‘For the Council to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050, though, requires direction from government and, crucially, the financial resources to deliver a viable net-zero programme. Carbon reduction comes at a cost, in particular when it comes to providing energy-efficient social housing. In this, new-build schemes pose less of a challenge, aside from the cost implications, whereas energy-efficient retrofitting of our existing housing stock presents a very real barrier to achieving the 2050 net-zero target.‘


Reflecting on the debate Councillor Sam Hamer was moved to comment: ‘Climate change is an existential crisis’ while Councillor Falk Horning said: ‘Improving the energy performance of buildings is going to have the biggest impact and is a task that is going to take decades. The Council has to continuously act on this. The energy-efficient measures incorporated in the new apartment schemes on Peel Road and in Willaston are a good start.’


Councillor Christian added: ‘Taking positive, timely action on climate change and safeguarding our environment for future generations is an urgent and shared endeavour in which we all have a part to play.’