Burnley Council recognises and is addressing the climate change emergency that is dominating the headlines and which threatens our future.
It has established a cross-party working group to investigate ways the local authority can take and promote action to cut its carbon footprint and to adopt more environmentally-friendly ways of working.
The council has already taken a number of steps to reduce its carbon emmissions and to encourage others to do the same.
We continue to work to encourage residents and our own staff to use more environmentally-friendly modes of transport. Our borough has extensive networks of off-road paths and cycleways such as Padiham Greenway and Brun Valley Forest Park for people who want to get out of their cars and find a safe route away from traffic.
The council’s parks service is replacing seven diesel vehicles with five electric vehicles to be used by office staff, rangers and the council's internal courier and it has two electric bikes for use by staff performing their work duties. The introduction of wheeled bins as part of the new recycling regime has also helped reduce the council’s carbon footprint.
The council has planted more than one million trees in Burnley over the last 25 years, which has doubled woodland cover, and we maintain a healthy and growing tree population in parks and green spaces, which helps to improve air quality.
Other initiatives include working with the county council to install eight electric vehicle charging points in Kingsway, Burnley, with a further two planned in Padiham; participating in a successful county-wide funding bid to install charging points for taxis; a scheme to install four rapid charging points in council-owned car parks; and plans to install charging points at council buildings to charge a new fleet of electric vehicles.
A number of reports on various issues and initiatives will be considered by the council’s executive when it meets on 17th February and recommendations made to full council for its final decision:
- Review on the use of glyphosate herbicides on council land. The proposals are that the council will investigate phasing out the use of pesticides and herbicides by trialing alternative techniques; those trials will include stopping using glyphosate in children’s play areas and in Thompson and Ightenhill parks from April and using an organic herbicide around graves in Burnley Cemetery. Glyphosate will continue to be used to control weeds on pavements and highways but the council will look at reducing the quantity of herbicide used.
- Launch a public consultation on proposals on introducing a formal approach to improving air quality as part of any future developments in the borough. The policy would support the Burnley Local Plan and be a material consideration when it comes to deciding relevant planning applications, including cutting traffic emissions
- Review the way renovation work is carried out under the empty homes programme, which sees long-term empty properties brought back into use, with the aim of improving their energy efficiency ratings. A proposal to introduce Passivhaus standards on council owned buildings and land is set not to be adopted due to the potential financial implications and planning restrictions. Passivhaus is an internationally-recognised standard that aims to improve air quality and cut heating bills within buildings.
Councillor Ivor Emo, the executive member for housing and leisure, said: “We’re committed to helping to create a cleaner and greener borough and to take a strong leading role in tackling climate change, promoting energy efficiency and reducing fuel poverty.
“We need to ensure the council has effective policies in place to cover a wide range of environmental issues and to explore innovative ways we can make a positive difference. Sometimes that may mean balancing the need to take effective action with meeting practical and financial demands.”