Rather to my (pleasant) surprise, Friends of the Earth has awarded Wiltshire Council top of the league status when it comes to climate-friendly councils. It scored 92% which must be A* territory. You can access the full list here.
This is what the Wiltshire Times had to say about the award:
"Just over a fifth of all commuter journey’s are made by public transport in Wiltshire, bike or walking and the climate group said this should increase to 40 per cent by 2030. Friends of the Earth called for improvements in the number of well insulated homes and said the amount the county recycles should increase from 45 per cent to 70 per cent in the next six years."
Friends of the Earth found that 10 per cent of Wiltshire is woodland and said that doubling the number of trees in a county would help reduce emissions. A climate emergency at the start of the year and over the summer Wiltshire Council pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030 by changing how it runs its services and council owned buildings.
But Friends of the Earth said more needs to be done, even for the best performing local authorities. Mike Birkin, South West coordinator for Friends of the Earth, said:
“Wiltshire has scored well on renewable power generation, particularly due to solar power. But wind-power is needed too and, frankly, Wiltshire is rubbish on wind-power with only 0.1 megawatt installed. A few years back the council even tried to bring in a super-restrictive policy that would effectively have banned wind across the whole county. They have consistently supported big damaging road schemes. Also, Wiltshire has some terrible examples of new housing development where people are forced to use cars because the developments are so poorly located and the public transport access non-existent. Car use must decline significantly if the council is to deliver on its stated intention to address the climate emergency. Areas such as Wiltshire should aim for 40% of journeys to be by sustainable alternatives to the car."
Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, said: “All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing.”
Richard Clewer, deputy leader of Wiltshire Council said: “It’s great news for the organisation and we’re very proud to have been named as the most climate-friendly council. There is of course, much more to do. There are many steps we are now taking to protect our environment and continue to reduce carbon levels heading into the future. Transport and Housing are the two biggest producers of carbon and we’re looking to technology around renewable energy on housing and electric cars, as a way to see us reduce carbon levels moving forward.”
Given all the caveats to how great Wiltshire Council actually is, there must be some truly poor ones out there. If you click here you can see how well your council does.