This is an important year for climate and ecological action. In November 2021, the UK will host a United Nations climate change conference known COP26. COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and it will be attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty agreed in 1994. The COP has met annually since 1995 and brings together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree further coordinated action to tackle climate change.
Organisers will use this meeting to urge everyone to work together to limit carbon emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The conference is being described as the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement, which sought targets to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C. All countries will be asked to accelerate action towards those goals and to commit to reaching net zero emissions as soon as possible with significant further cuts in emissions by 2030.
Climate change is a global issue but one that can be tackled locally. Planet Woking was launched in September 2020 to raise awareness of local action being taken by the Council and its partners to meet our carbon neutral goals; but also to inspire and encourage you – the local community – to join us and continue to play your part in looking after our environment.
Highlights of action we’ve taken since declaring a climate and ecological emergency include:
- We’ve reduced our corporate emissions by 11% since 2018/19;
- We’re quadrupling the number of charging points for electric vehicles in car parks and on-street locations during 2021/22;
- During the last eighteen months, Action Surrey has been delivering over £9m in government funded household energy efficiency measures across the county as part of the Green Jump Surrey project;
- We’re continuing to work with partners to protect our local habitats and wildlife with local heathland conservation work and initiatives such as the Great Crested Newt project; rain gardens pilot and the installation of living green walls to boost urban biodiversity;
- Through a flood alleviation scheme at Sutton Green, 25 properties have been protected from surface water flooding.
Further information about these activities and more, can be found at www.planetwoking.co.uk
We’re often asked how residents can do their bit for the environment. Here are our top tips:
- Action Surrey has got loads of advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Home improvements like loft and cavity wall insulation and switching to LED lightbulbs could help cut carbon, reduce the amount of energy you use and save you money. In addition, you might be eligible for funding for some measures. Find out more at www.actionsurrey.org
- Reduce food waste. According to the Surrey Environment Partnership, a family of four could save £70 a month just by reducing the amount of food they throw away. Avoid wasted food by planning meals, popping food in the freezer and using leftovers.
- Move to a renewable energy tariff – The Energy Saving Trust says that by choosing a green tariff, it sends a message to your supplier and the wider energy industry that you wish to avoid electricity generated from fossil fuels and support renewable energy generation. Find out how to switch at https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/switching-your-energy-supplier/
- Repair, reuse, recycle. Dust off those sewing skills by repairing that favourite top or furnish your home for less by sourcing preloved furniture through the Surrey Reuse Network. There are lots of tips on how to reuse items and reduce waste at www.surreyep.org.uk/reduce-reuse-recycle/
- If you have access to a garden or window box, plant flowers to support bees and other pollinators. The Surrey Wildlife Trust has lots of information on wildlife gardening and supporting species in decline at www.surreywildlifetrust.org/act-wildlife/helping-wildlife-home
- Ditch the car for short journeys – by walking, scooting or cycling you can cut carbon whilst getting active.
For more ideas and inspiration, check out the case studies under ‘Getting Involved’ on our website. We love hearing from residents and community groups doing their bit – drop us a line at email@example.com to share your environmental initiatives. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletters for all the latest local environmental news and events at www.planetwoking.co.uk.
There’s no doubt that zero carbon will be challenging, but by working together to make changes to the way we live, no matter how small, we can all make a difference to Planet Woking.