A PROMISE to become carbon neutral in the next 10 years: that is how Vale of White Horse District Council has ushered in a new decade.

At the council's last meeting of 2019, leader Emily Smith told her fellows councillors the cabinet had agreed the council would 'aspire to become carbon neutral by 2030 and become a carbon neutral district by 2045'.

The announcement followed a recommendation by a new council committee to cut carbon emissions caused by the council 75 per cent by 2025, as well as a 75 per cent cut in all carbon emissions across the Vale by 2030.

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Ms Smith said: “We want to offer residents and local communities and councils aspirational but also achievable targets with the Vale leading the way.

"Achieving the target for a carbon neutral district will only be achieved through collaboration with residents and local groups but, there is so much knowledge and will to tackle the climate crisis across the Vale."

Oxford Mail:

Emily Smith, leader of Vale of White Horse district council.

She added: "I am confident these targets can be achieved."

The council’s climate emergency advisory committee is a new group of councillors, who make recommendations on how Vale of White Horse can reduce damage to the environment through its policies and practices.

It first met on October 15 last year.

David Grant, chairman of the committee, said: “With the support of residents and our partners we can make real changes in the Vale.

“While we have set a date for net zero emissions, this is not enough.

"What is more important is taking action now to set the local area on the path towards it, backed up by sound research. Which is why we are looking at a stepped approach with carbon reduction targets of 75 per cent first.”

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The committee is scheduled to meet next on January 28 and members of the public are invited to attend and speak at the meeting.

The move by Vale follows a similar target set by South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) last year.

That council's similar climate emergency advisory committee first met in on September 19.

Councillors made similar recommendations to make their authority and the district it governs carbon neutral, which were also accepted as a target for the council to meet.

However, while Vale has committed to reducing council emissions by a stepped approach of 75 per cent over the next five years, SODC wants to be completely emission free by 2025, and wants the whole district to follow the same goal by 2030.

Sue Roberts, the councillor who chairs SODC's climate committee also said it was important that the council had set a goal.

Oxford Mail:

Sue Roberts, chair of SODC's climate emergency advisory committee.

Dr Roberts said: "The first thing we did was to set a target. Though some people say that it isn't necessary, in fact it is incredibly empowering because once you know what to do, you can then create a vision.

"Once you have that you can start to take a tenth of a go at it every year."

Read again: South Oxfordshire District Council wants to be carbon neutral by 2025

Oxford City Council is also working towards becoming carbon neutral.

At the end of December the city council released a report of recommendations for how to achieve this, based on the work of the citizens assembly on climate change.

The assembly was a first of its kind public exercise which asked a representative group of people from around the city what they thought should be done to tackle climate change.

Following the release of the report, the council said it was preparing a 'climate budget' when considering spending for the 2020-21 financial year.