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Knowsley taking action to tackle climate change

by Cathy Sheel

Knowsley Council has reaffirmed its commitment to tackling climate change with a range of new environmental initiatives as the COP26 summit gets underway in Glasgow.

After declaring a Climate Change Emergency early last year, the council launched its Climate Emergency Action Plan which outlines how it aims to reduce emissions from its own estate and services to net zero by 2040 – a full ten years before the Government’s own target.

Good progress is already being made in Knowsley – the council has successfully achieved a 59% reduction in carbon emissions since 2009/10. Meanwhile borough wide carbon emissions have also fallen by 43% since 2005.

What’s happening now

The latest initiatives to be announced include a £375,000 project at Huyton Library – funded by the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme – to install an air source heat pump, solar panels and LED lighting in the building, estimated to reduce emissions by 10,572 kg of CO2 per year.

The council has also successfully bid for funding to produce a low carbon heat plan which will explore the feasibility of installing energy saving measures into the council buildings with the highest emissions, such as leisure centres. There’s also:

  • new electric vehicles being added to the council’s fleet early next year.
  • talks by the council’s Green Space Ranger Team with local schoolchildren explaining how wetlands in parks can help to fight climate change by ‘capturing’ carbon emissions.  Children be making their own wetlands in a tray.

To ensure the views of Knowsley’s young people are reflected in future climate emergency plans, members of the council’s Climate Emergency Scrutiny Committee will also be attending a meeting of the borough’s Youth Cabinet this week.

Planting trees for the future

An ambitious tree planting programme, funded by the Urban Tree Challenge Fund in partnership with the Mersey Forest, has seen more than 2,000 new trees planed across Knowsley.

The tree planting is bringing many benefits to communities, including temperature moderation, flood risk reduction, as well as improving the wellbeing of residents and appearance of neighbourhoods.  It will also be integral to meeting the council’s target of reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2040 and help support local wildlife.

Watch this video to hear more about Knowsley’s tree planting programme.

What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?

There are lots of simple actions we can all take to reduce carbon emissions and make a positive impact on climate change.

Here are a few top tips:

  • Insulate your home: There’s lots of advice and information to help make your home warmer, cosier and more fuel efficient for the winter months. Find out more  There’s also some advice to help you keep energy bills down.
  • Use less water: Turn off taps fully after use, use a plug or bowl when washing dishes or fruit/vegetables, fill the kettle with only the amount of water required and use the dishwasher when you have a full load or only at the end of the day. If you’re a keen gardener, why not install a water butt to reduce your water consumption and also reduce your water bills.
  • Save energy: here are some quick tips to save energy at home from the Energy Saving Trust
  • Cycle or walk to work: Have you tried the new Smart Green Journey app, designed to promote active travel within the Liverpool City Region? It’s a route planning and tracking tool that provides a simple calculation of CO2 and money saved when cycling or walking. Find out more: Smart Green Journey App | Liverpool City Region | Merseytravel
  • Reduce: Use mugs and glasses instead of disposables, stop using single use disposable plastics such as razors, cotton pads and cotton buds and invest in multi-use options, buy fruit and vegetables loose or in refillable containers and Take your own reusable bags shopping.
  • Reuse: Donate items to registered charities and re-use organisations. The Charity Retail website will help you to find your nearest charity shop.
  • Recycle: For more information about recycling in Knowsley visit www.recycleright.org.uk

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “World leaders gathering at COP26 will once again be asking us to understand the scale and urgency of our climate change challenge.

“Knowsley Council recognised this when we declared our climate emergency last year and since then we have been taking robust, immediate and local action to address it.

“And while I’m delighted to see that we have made some great progress in achieving – and even exceeding – our carbon emission reduction targets in recent years, we recognise we still have work to do to achieve our goal to reduce emissions from our own buildings and services to net zero by 2040.

“As well as the initiatives we are implementing as an organisation, there are also lots of small changes we can make in our everyday lives that can make a huge difference – such as increasing the amount we recycle and reducing our use of single use plastics.”