CO2 emissions have dropped, but Green councillor plays down St Albans' role
PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 September 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2016
Celebrations about St Albans district’s new carbon emissions figures have been tempered by a Green Party councillor.
The Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has just published the latest CO2 emissions estimates for this district between 2005-2015 - it shows a nearly six per cent drop in pollution between 2014 and 2015.
If the area’s air keeps on getting cleaner at the same rate, St Albans district council (SADC) said it will meet its emissions goal next year, as set out in its Climate Change Action Plan.
The action plan was made to reduce CO2 emissions by three per cent per year in order to lower emissions by 60 per cent by 2025.
The latest BEIS figures show that district-wide emissions decreased by 24 per cent between 2005 and 2015. For each person, this equates to a reduction from 6.2 tonnes of emissions in 2005 to 4.3 tonnes in 2015.
Environmental portfolio holder at SADC, Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, said: “This is fantastic news and shows that, despite a couple of severe winters, the efforts of residents, drivers and businesses to reduce emissions are paying dividends. The council is working with them to reduce fuel use and to make homes and premises more energy-efficient.”
He said SADC is also asking residents to be more eco-friendly, for example installing loft insulation and discouraging engine idling.
He added that the council is also making changes, including installing solar panels in new leisure centres and using energy saving LED lighting in offices.
But Green Party councillor Simon Grover disagrees, arguing the cutdown is down to countrywide and not local initiatives: “Certainly they have been heavily influenced by national figures. The main thing being the country as a whole is moving away from coal, which is the dirtiest form of power - it’s nothing to do with what we have done.
“The electricity coming out of the plug sockets produces less emissions. That’s great. However, to say, ‘this is us’, is a little disingenuous and possibly, I might say, a little dishonest. We should be saying, it’s good that the government policy is doing this, but what can we do on top of this to make a bigger impact than solar panels on a leisure centre and light bulbs.”