On January 13th Luton council voted to declare a climate emergency and announced a target to reach net zero by 2040 – ten years before the national target.
Where some councils have declared a climate emergency and then gone away to think about it, Luton have chosen to do the strategy first. So yesterday we also saw the publication of a broad timeline for how those carbon cuts will be acheived. It includes more use of public transport, walking and cycling, and encouraging electric vehicles. There’s a cycling audit underway in the town. A council operated bus company has been proposed to serve routes that commercial firms aren’t covering, paid for by a workplace parking scheme.
The council is already working on housing, improving energy efficiency in its own housing stock. There will be new schemes for home insulation, and transitioning away from gas boilers. Climate change will be incorporated into all council operations, and all new schemes will be assessed for their impact on climate change. A new scrutiny group will be formed to keep things on track.
The council’s target also includes the airport. While it doesn’t include the flights themselves, this is still an unusual step. Other cities that control airports have made climate plans and left their airports out. Luton Airport, in conversation with Luton Council, have agreed that they will bring their efforts in line with the town and aim to be carbon neutral by 2040.
LEAF will be working to support Luton’s plans, and find constructive ways to accelerate them where possible.