Vale of White Horse District Council said it is making strong progress towards its goal of becoming a net zero council.

The council set reduction targets in 2019, aiming to become a carbon neutral council by 2030

It also committed to a 75 per cent reduction of council carbon emissions by 2025, and has achieved a 47 per cent reduction since 2009/10.

A progress report is set to be presented to its Climate Emergency Advisory Committee on June 3 to provide an update on the stages reached so far and discuss potential routes towards their aim.

Leader of the council and climate lead, councillor Bethia Thomas, said: "We make no apologies for being ambitious in our goals to reduce carbon emissions.

Oxford Mail: Councillor Bethia ThomasCouncillor Bethia Thomas (Image: Oxford Mail)

"Aiming high has helped us achieve as much as we have already.

"Within our own operations the energy-saving work planned at the leisure centres in Abingdon and Wantage in the next year alone will reduce the council’s carbon emission by more than a quarter.”

The council's leisure sector has made significant breakthroughs, particularly through the use of the government's Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

The scheme has funded projects aimed at reducing public buildings' carbon emissions.

Through this, several million pounds has been secured for the installation of solar panels, insulation and air source heat pumps at leisure facilities in Faringdon, Wantage and Abingdon.

Meanwhile, the council's waste team has purchased its first electric food waste truck which is due to arrive this summer.

The council has also applied for the necessary funding for a 12-week trial of an electric refuse collection vehicle.

Additionally, up to six council vehicles are expected to transition to electric vehicles in 2024.

The council’s waste collection service and its leisure centres combined are responsible for nearly 90 per cent of all the council’s carbon emissions.

As a result, a climate action plan was adopted by the council, highlighting the steps required to reach its self-imposed operational targets.

Ms Thomas continued: "Moving forwards we know it is possible for the council to achieve net zero by 2030. It won’t be easy and it won’t be without risk of failure.

"Recent policy changes by national government have also slowed progress including the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars now starting in 2035 instead of 2030 and the 100 per cent phase out of gas boilers by 2035 now changed to phasing out 80 per cent by 2035.

"But we do not have a choice on whether to tackle climate change and we certainly do not have the luxury of time."