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South Kesteven District council hits back at Friends of the Earth criticism

The district council has taken issue with figures released by an environmental group which says the council needs to ‘ramp up’ its efforts for the future.

Friends of the Earth has compiled a list of the most climate-friendly councils in the country and, after looking at a number of criteria relevant to climate change, it has given South Kesteven District Council a figure of 60 per cent. The best performing council in its view was Wiltshire which scored 92 per cent.

Friends of the Earth took into account such criteria as trees, transport, housing, waste and renewable energy and rated SKDC’s performance as ‘poor’.

SKDC (19284554)
SKDC (19284554)

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, said: “All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing. We know we are facing a climate and ecological emergency that threatens our existence and the natural world. If we want to change things for the better, let’s start at home.”

SKDC says much of the information on which the survey findings are based is drawn from 2011 when the last national census was carried out and does not reflect changes that have taken place in South Kesteven since then.

A spokesperson for SKDC said: “We have taken giant strides forward on the issue of climate change that are not acknowledged in this report.

“While we recognise there is much more to do, it is important to note that SKDC has declared a climate emergency with cross-party support and is recruiting a climate change officer to drive forward our ambition to be net-zero carbon as soon as viable before 2050.

“We have also pledged to reduce our carbon footprint by at least 30 per cent before 2030 and will be calling on expert advice to help us hit those targets.

“A Climate Change Action task and finish group is being set up to identify how the council can work towards being net-zero carbon. The climate emergency declaration and commitments represent a major milestone which have far-reaching implications across our services and activities.

“SKDC takes seriously its community leadership role and encourages residents, businesses, other public sector organisations and visitors/commuters to reduce their carbon footprint and work together to create a real movement for change.”

As part of its commitment to tackling climate change SKDC also plans to:

Install electric vehicle charging points in each of its four towns – Grantham, Stamford, Bourne and Market Deeping.

Provide a number of modular homes that are energy efficient and minimise carbon emissions.

Complete a four-year loft insulation programme in 2019/20.

Replace solid fuel heating with electric heating powered by solar panels by 2030.

The spokesman added: “SKDC is prioritising climate and environmental responsibility. We are committed to not only reducing our own impact on the environment but are also encouraging others to do the same.”

Read the Friends of the Earth report at friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/revealed-most-climatefriendly-areas

Read a recent report on SKDC agreeiing to spend £50,000 on declaring a climate emergency and appointing a climate change officer.

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