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Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils councils considering options for greener future

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are considering solar energy investment and electric vehicle infrastructure, with leaders declaring the climate crisis their ‘biggest issue’.

The authorities have stated their ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030 and have also pledged up to £40,000 match funding to study how the Gateway 14 business park in Stowmarket could be environmentally friendly.

A joint statement from all political groups on the council read: “We are united in our view that the climate emergency is the biggest issue that affects us all, alongside Covid-19.

Gateway 14 in Stowmarket
Gateway 14 in Stowmarket

“We recognised the part we play in tackling this global issue at local level when we adopted climate emergency motions in 2019. But we know that we cannot do this alone.

“While there is still much work to be done, we welcome the collaborative approach taken to produce these latest proposals; with a joint, cross-party task force exploring how both councils can deliver real environmental change in our districts and to achieve our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

“Together, we can help to ensure our communities can look forward to bright, healthy and sustainable futures.”

The proposals for the first Carbon Reduction Management Plan look to reduce the councils’ current emissions of approximately 5,452 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

Jessica Fleming, Conservative, standing in the Hartismere division. (37481293)
Jessica Fleming, Conservative, standing in the Hartismere division. (37481293)

As well as exploring energy generation schemes, such as solar ports, the councils will look to run green offices, replace diesel vehicles with greener fuel options, and reduce councillor mileage by using technology.

The councils are also looking to increase its number of electrical vehicle charging points and work with developers to introduce a greener way of building homes.

The Gateway 14 pledge has been announced alongside the Greater South East Energy Hub, and the organisations are set to discuss options with the project developer Jaynic.

Councillor Jessica Fleming said: “We also want our residents to get involved, with everyone able to take at least small steps to becoming more environmentally conscious such as only buying what you need.”

Councillor Andrew Stringer, shadow portfolio holder for planning said: “This project is welcome and should be seen as part of the plan for a green recovery from the Covid virus.

"The site should be properly developed for the 21st century, able to generate and store energy and be equipped for the zero carbon future. We have been lobbying for many years regarding the energy opportunities of this site, situated as it is within a couple of hundred metres of a major grid connection, as well as power lines crossing the site.”

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