Significant progress has been made towards a councils ambition to create a more sustainable future, councillors have been told. 

The latest update from Durham County Council’s climate emergency response plan highlights the fall in carbon emissions from its own buildings and activities, alongside the work done to support residents, businesses and community organisations in the transition to a low carbon future.

The report highlights a further five percent reduction in its carbon emissions in 2022/23, meaning a 59 per cent reduction in total, from levels in 2008/09.

Across the wider county for households, transport and businesses, emissions increased in 2021 following a return from the covid lockdowns of 2020, however there was still a 52 per cent reduction in total (from a 1990 baseline), an improvement on pre-covid levels of 50 per cent.

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Key to the success has been progress with a range of projects including energy efficiency and carbon reduction measures across its four leisure centres. The continued roll out of the street light energy reduction scheme, which has saved on carbon emissions and £7m a year.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: "Since the implementation of our latest plan, we have made considerable progress towards achieving our goal of being a net zero council by 2030, which is testament to the hard work and ingenuity of the council and its partners.

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"Climate change has the potential to cause catastrophic problems for generations to come. It is important that we look at and address the issues in our area, to reduce our contribution to this international crisis.

"As well as reducing our carbon emissions, the work carried out will cut costs for the council.

"While we have plenty to build on here, we recognise that there is much more to be done.”