In 2019, Cheltenham Borough Council declared a climate emergency and a commitment to be a carbon neutral Council and Borough by 2030.
The roadmap to eliminate the Borough carbon footprint includes action on leadership, engagement, energy, transport and buildings.
This process will start by including the community in cocreating with the delivery of the vision to ensure that the road to carbon neutrality is owned by the people of Cheltenham.
In January 2021, in partnership with Vision 21, Cheltenham Borough Council hosted the town’s first virtual climate change conference. The conference was attended by more than 100 delegates from across the community and local business. The recording of the business focused session is available here for you to view.
The Cheltenham Zero partnership – helping our borough get to carbon neutrality
Cllr Max Wilkinson, Cheltenham Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate and Communities gives his reflections on this inaugural Cheltenham Zero Conference:
At a troubling time for us all, one positive note is the increased importance people are placing on caring for our environment. That’s true for residents, community groups and businesses too. And it was evident when more than 100 people joined the Cheltenham Zero conferences.
Following on from the declaration of a climate emergency and our target of a carbon neutral town and council by 2030, we knew we needed to expand our efforts. These conferences were the first step towards forming a Cheltenham Zero partnership.
We know that embracing the expertise in local businesses and community groups will be key to hitting our targets. It’s vital that we take action the topics discussed at the conferences, including energy, transport and biodiversity. But the council can’t do this alone by dictating to people and rather than wagging fingers we have a vision for people working together. Everybody in our town has a stake in this and we all need to share the effort. That’s why it’s so encouraging that more and more people are telling us they want to get involved in the response to the climate emergency. The politicians and council have a duty to support and I’ll be making sure the cross-community effort is supported as best we can.
As cabinet member for climate and communities, I’m part of a team with a very long list of projects and a limited amount of capacity. As of this week, we are investing to expand the team in the council with two new team members focusing on key climate projects.
I’m pleased we’ve got this far despite the pandemic, but we have so much more to do. The Cheltenham Zero partnership has so much potential and this is an important moment for our town. I’d like to thank everybody who took part – particularly Vision21 and our expert facilitators for organising the day. This is a huge challenge, but if we all pull together I know we can do it.
If you’d like to know more about the Cheltenham Zero partnership, email email@example.com.