East Cambridgeshire District Council has underlined its commitment to going green by signing up to the Investors in the Environment accreditation programme.
The Council, which declared a climate emergency in 2019, is the first local authority in Cambridgeshire to sign up to the scheme.
It hopes becoming independently accredited as an Investor in the Environment will help it meet its ambitions to become net carbon zero by 2040.
As part of the scheme, the Council will continue to look at ways it can reduce carbon as part of its day-to-day operations. This will include initiatives such as reducing the amount of paper it uses, encouraging all staff to recycle and exploring ways it can make significant carbon savings by investing in renewable energy or switching to electric vehicles.
The Council is hoping to achieve bronze status during the current year and silver status in 2023.
The highest level - green - will be awarded once the more challenging areas to help reduce carbon emissions are tackled.
Councillor Julia Huffer, Chair of the Operational Services Committee, said: “At East Cambridgeshire District Council we’ve already made some impressive strides towards becoming net carbon zero.
“This has included planting community orchards, looking at ways we can support sustainable transport links and investing in schemes to retrofit houses for people on lower incomes so they are more energy efficient.
“We are also reconfiguring our waste collection rounds so the bin lorries use less fuel – which in turn will help us save the equivalent of 12 tonnes of carbon every year.
“By becoming an Investor in the Environment, we will be able to access national resources and support to help us make our dream of becoming net carbon zero by 2040 a reality.”
To help take its first step, the Council signed up to a new Environment Policy at its Operational Services Committee meeting on 21 March and is now focusing on updating its Environmental Plan which includes 20 actions the Council will commit to over the next 12 months.
This will include tree planting, energy saving measures, working with schools, lobbying government and preparing nature recovery strategies.