A COUNCIL has unveiled plans to tackle climate change by investing £50 million in more than 100 projects .

The cash, drawn from grants and invest-to-save schemes, will also include £3 million to be spent over the next two years, if Durham County Council’s Cabinet approves the proposal when it meets on Wednesday.

The authority is also proposing increasing targets for carbon reduction as part of the two-year-plan, which includes an investment of £13.2 million to reduce the council’s own carbon emissions.

The council has developed the proposals following a consultation last year, which received more than 1,000 responses from residents, community groups, schools, businesses and council staff about their priorities for reducing carbon emissions.

Councillor Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The council has an excellent track record for delivering reductions in carbon emissions.

"Between 2008/9 and 2018/19, we have managed to reduce CO2 levels by just under 47 per cent through a programme that has included building retrofits, renewable energy schemes and lower energy streetlights.

“However, more still needs to be done and this action plan demonstrates exactly how, working with the community, we plan to do it, with wide-ranging projects that will result in a reduction not just in the council’s carbon emissions but also emissions across the county.”

The plan outlines a wide range of initiatives to tackle council emissions, including the development of a scheme to harness heat from minewater as a form of renewable energy, a major programme of energy efficiency improvements across council buildings, including schools and greater use of electric and low emission vehicles across the council’s fleet.

It also proposes the conversion of an additional 17,000 streetlights using energy-saving LEDs and installation of solar panels in addition to already planned energy efficiency measures at the council’s new HQ – subject to planning permission.

The carbon-costed plan also proposes that the council sets an even more ambitious target for reducing its own emissions, with the original 60 per cent reduction by 2030 increased to 80 per cent.

Councillor John Clare, the council’s climate change champion, said: “The large volume of responses received during the consultation indicates a strong interest in climate change.

“I have read all of the responses and it has been good to see not only that people are overwhelmingly behind our proposals, but that many are already taking action themselves to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes, businesses and neighbourhoods.“Clearly, the ambitious targets we have set cannot be achieved by the council alone, so it is extremely important that we work closely with our partners and the public to achieve, and hopefully, exceed our targets.”