We recognise the urgency of the climate emergency. We understand the importance of taking action on immediate projects and commitments whilst developing our longer-term plans for the Somerset West and Taunton district.
Some of the key projects we have committed to immediately pursuing are listed below:
North Taunton Woolaway Regeneration Scheme
We are working on a major estate regeneration project in North Taunton that will see 186 existing defective Woolaway homes redeveloped or refurbished, resulting in warmer, more energy efficient and better quality homes than already exist, as well as 44 net additional council homes. Lessons learned from this scheme will be applied to future estate regeneration projects.
Council house retrofit pilots
Building on the success of the Wellington Warmer Homes pilot and the experience already gained in relation to the North Taunton Woolaway Regeneration Scheme, we are currently auditing and exploring further opportunities to improve our retained Council housing stock and commit to delivering further innovative Council house retrofit pilots over the next year which will improve the energy and carbon performance of the buildings and improve the health, wellbeing and vulnerability of residents.
Council-owned development/regeneration sites
We are currently planning and procuring partners for the delivery of multiple development and regeneration sites, particularly in Taunton. The Council commits to ensuring that these sites are all low carbon and energy efficient, but also exploring where we can make the most of technological and design innovations to develop specific exemplar schemes to showcase the art of the possible. These requirements will need to be carefully balanced against other demands and requirements placed on these sites to ensure they remain viable.
Urban Tree Retrofit Project
We commit to working with communities and partners to develop and deliver tree planting projects across our urban areas to improve tree cover, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, health and wellbeing, access and connection to nature, passive cooling and combatting the urban heat island effect.
Corporate Emissions and Environmental Impacts
We have already commissioned external support to help us to baseline the Council’s corporate carbon and environmental footprint and recommend ways to improve it. We commit to exploring options identified and taking forward recommendations as appropriate. In addition to this, we are already actively looking at how we might transition our corporate electricity use to renewable sources where possible.
Corporate vehicle fleet
We commit a gradual switching of Council-owned vehicles to EV/Hybrid/ULEV at the most appropriate points. It is not always the low carbon solution to wholesale switch fleets to EV all at once because of the embodied carbon within existing and new vehicles.
Food sales in Council outlets
We commit to improving the carbon and environmental impacts of the food sold in Council-owned outlets such as our leisure centres and in corporate refreshments.
Low carbon business awards
We commit to ensuring that the 2020 Somerset Business Awards and Taunton Deane Business Awards include low carbon and sustainability criteria, and a specific low carbon business award category is identified so that businesses making a difference are celebrated and encouraged.
Wildflower planting, habitat creation and tree planting pilots
Within the next year we will initiate 3 or 4 flagship pilot schemes on public sector land to showcase the possibilities, benefits and opportunities that such schemes can have to pollinators, wider biodiversity, carbon sequestration, health and wellbeing of residents, and land management costs and practices.
We will work with partners and communities across the district over the next year to identify, promote, fund and deliver major tree planting and woodland creation schemes including Somerset Wood to the north of Monkton Heathfield.
Cycling and Walking Infrastructure
We commit to working with SCC to include projects arising from the Taunton Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan including the priority Vivary Park-St James Street-Firepool-Station and Taunton-Wellington projects in a bid to the Local Pinch Point Fund in January 2020, then moving towards project delivery as soon as feasible. We also commit to working with Trull Parish Council and communities to realise ambitions for a walking and cycling link between the Comeytrowe-Trull Garden Community and Vivary Park/South Road in Taunton.
Car clubs and pool bikes
We commit to working with partners to create a local car club and pool bike scheme within the district, utilising EVs, bikes (and e-bikes) as appropriate, starting with trials in key locations such as transport hubs in early years.
EV charge points
We will deliver on our commitment already begun through the Community Charge Point Fund, to improve access to public EV charging infrastructure across the district. We also commit to delivering charge points on a number of Council-owned car parks and other public sector holdings across the district to lead by example.
We commit to improving recycling options in our offices and operations.
Taunton Strategic Flood Alleviation
We commit to working with partners to deliver identified early projects that help adapt the town and our communities to the effects of climate change as well as delivering wider benefits such as increased biodiversity, public amenity and access.