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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

4 September 2020

| | 4 min read

Climate Change

Action plan unveiled to make Newcastle a Net Zero city

Newcastle is charting a path to become a carbon neutral city, with major organisations, businesses and residents asked to pledge their support.

The front cover of the Net Zero Newcastle: 2030 Action Plan

The draft Net Zero Newcastle: 2030 Action Plan sets out how, both now and in the years ahead, people can work together to drastically cut emissions and see a lasting reduction to our climate impact.

Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and co-chair of the city’s Net Zero Task Force, said: “Recent months have given us a brief glimpse of a more environmentally friendly future with less traffic, more active travel, less air pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

“However, any lockdown benefits look set to be minimal and short-lived, the Climate Emergency is as real as it was before the pandemic, and only last month we saw the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on the planet."

'The challenge is enormous'

Cllr Forbes said: “The wholesale decarbonisation of a city has never been done before and the challenge is quite simply enormous. But despite the devastating impacts of Covid-19, our city’s determination and cross-party commitment to achieving Net Zero status by 2030 remains undiminished.

“We have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to transform our city for the benefit of residents, businesses, the environment and generations to come, while ensuring that the economic recovery from the testing times of the pandemic places Newcastle in the best position to capitalise on the opportunities of our greener future.”

Over 150 actions in the next decade

The plan – a draft of which will go before the council’s Climate Change Committee on Wednesday 9 September then, if agreed, Cabinet on Monday 14 September - sets out over 150 actions that the city can take to decarbonise over the next decade while taking advantage of the huge opportunities for “green growth” in the local economy.

The two main areas targeted in the plan are energy use in homes and non-domestic properties, which accounts for 64 percent of the city’s emissions, and transport, which is just under 30 percent.

Net Zero Pledge

It also sets out how a new Net Zero Pledge could soon invite individuals, businesses and groups to sign up and show their commitment to taking meaningful steps to significantly reduce their own carbon footprint.

'Every single person will need to help'

Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, cabinet member for climate change and communities, said: “We, as an authority, are doing what we can to reduce our carbon impact and following a 41 per cent reduction in emissions between 2010 and 2019, we’ve cut our emissions by a further 4.8% in the year to April.

“We know that other major organisations across Newcastle will this autumn be setting out their own detailed paths to a decarbonised future.

“As this cannot just be about one organisation, one group, one individual or one solution – as the action plan sets out the monumental task ahead will require the whole city to come together to enact the changes both big and small that will be needed to achieve our ambitious Net Zero commitment.

“Every single person will need to help and many of the things we need to do will not be easy or may be very unlike what has gone before.

“However, the last few months have shown us that as a society we can adapt to radically different day to day lives and we must capitalise on that ability to make our communities not only better now, but sustainable and enjoyable places to live for our children and future generations.”

Read the action plan

Read the draft action plan as part of the Climate Change Committee agenda here.