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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

9 February 2021

| | 3 min read

Environment

Growing support for the environment in Newcastle

Councillors will be asked to agree an extra £1.4 million to maintain and enhance the environment and help Newcastle become carbon neutral.

Image: A blue sky and tree foliage. Text: Growing support for our natural environment - Budget proposals for 2021/22 include a potential £1.4 million to maintain and enhance the environment and help Newcastle become carbon neutral.

Budget proposals, for 2021/22, include a potential £1 million to support the Net Zero Newcastle – 2030 Action Plan, which sets out measures to decarbonise the city by 2030.

And a further £400,000 could be allocated towards the upkeep and protection of trees across the city, helping existing vegetation thrive, and supporting Newcastle City Council’s ambitions for leafier communities.

Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Cabinet member for climate change and communities, said: “We all want Newcastle to be a clean, green and brilliant place to live, work and visit, and know that we must invest in our environment, not only to tackle the imminent threats posed by climate change, but to make our city somewhere we continue to be proud to call home.

“Providing the funds to support our Net Zero ambitions will allow us to not only bring more people together, so that we can collectively rise to the challenges we face and find the solutions we need to cut our emissions, but also support potential bids for the hundreds of millions of pounds in external funding we will need to make those aims a reality.

“While allocating more resources to support our tree strategy will help to ensure that we not only keep our natural environment as healthy as it can be, but provide a platform to increase our canopy cover – Something we know many residents feel very strongly about.”

How the Net Zero funding would be used

If agreed the Net Zero money would be used to help engage young people and communities about tackling climate change.

It would also be used to support efforts to survey Newcastle using thermal imaging cameras – to identify where interventions are most urgently needed; look into the feasibility of building low carbon heat networks, similar to the one at Helix; develop the Newcastle GIS-based Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Network (GREEN) project; support energy audits for the community and voluntary sector; retrofit public buildings; and help the development of a new, voluntary low carbon building standard.

Find out more on our Net Zero pages here.

How the trees funding would be used

Newcastle City Council’s Tree Strategy already includes a strong commitment to planting many thousands more trees, with the council supporting a wide range of projects, including potential North East wide efforts to plant hundreds of hectares of new woodland.

That could include four climate summits in the run up to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP-26) in Glasgow in November, a schools education programme, and the creation of a Net Zero pledge, which everyone would be invited to sign up to.