Mansfield District Council has begun work on drafting a carbon reduction action plan in line with the authority's aim to make Mansfield cleaner and greener.
The council officially declared a climate emergency in 2019 but dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic meant drawing up a specific action plan to deal with it was effectively put on hold.
It has, however, already taken some decisions to promote a greener way of life in the district including building new council housing to a higher energy efficiency, including, for the first time in Mansfield, four gold standard Passivhaus properties in Saundby Avenue.
Now work is underway to identify other achievable measures that the council can take to reduce its carbon footprint.
Every department in the council has been tasked with looking at ways it can reduce the impact of delivering services on the environment.
This could be larger investment, such as buying electric vehicles, to smaller measures such as changing energy-hungry lighting to LED bulbs.
The authority has also been selected to take part in national schemes on tree planting and decarbonising social housing.
Some of the council schemes under way are:
- Being one of 19 pilot areas across country for social housing decarbonisation programme. This will allow 12 flats in the planned Bellamy estate development to be constructed with improved external insulation. The scheme will cost the council £340,000 with the same amount match funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
- Green Homes Grants have helped provide 43 properties on Lord Street and Bishop Street with external wall insulation. Almost £1m in funding from the BEIS has supported the scheme which will also provide a further 56 privately owned properties in Mansfield with external insulation improvements. The scheme is open to property owners whose household income is around or less than £30,000 a year. People should call Westville Group on 0800 158 3605 for further information.
- Further owner-occupier properties in the district could be improved with external insulation and, possibly, solar panels if a council bid for a further £700,000 in BEIS funding is approved.
- A £1m Urban Greening scheme for the town centre, including plans to transform the Old Town Hall car park into a new pocket park. Designs will be revealed and implemented in the coming months.
- The council is buying four new electric vans this year and installing EV charging points at its Hermitage Lane Depot.
- Three sites in the district - Bull Farm Park, Larkhills Open Space, Forest Town and The Carrs, in Warsop - have been identified for woodland planting in collaboration with the Sherwood Forest Trust.
- Teams maintaining the Mansfield and District Crematorium are now using rechargeable lawn mowers and strimmers instead of petrol driven equipment. They also plan to bring in rechargeable electric hedge trimmers, chainsaws, pole saw, and pole pruners.
- The pandemic lockdowns have promoted an interest in gardening so the council is increasing the number of allotment plots. It will also continue to support community gardening projects run in collaboration with Feel Good Gardens. Anyone interested in taking an allotment should call 01623 463292 or visit our allotment webpage.
- The council will be supporting a countywide initiative, which will launch soon, to encourage people to be greener.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams said: "It's our ambition to make Mansfield cleaner, greener and healthier. It isn’t just talk - we are determined to turn words into action to do our bit to reduce Mansfield’s carbon footprint and improve our environment to help make our residents' lives healthier."
Cllr Andy Burgin, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Leisure, said: "I am pleased that after declaring a climate emergency, the council can now look seriously at how it can achieve its target to become carbon neutral by 2040.
"It is an ambitious target but we owe it to all our residents, young and old, to ensure we are doing our bit to tackle climate change in every way possible.
"It's not just about major investments like buying electric vehicles, insulating properties, installing solar panels and planting more trees.
"Sometimes just simple things like changing to LED bulbs, installing thermostats on radiators and movement activated lighting can save energy and all add up collectively to make a difference.
"Changing from petrol driven power tools to rechargeable electric tools has also had logistical benefits for staff. Because they are quieter to use, in the case of the crematorium, it means we no longer have to cease maintenance of the grounds during services."