Climate Change and Air Quality Progress Report 2022 to 2023

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It gives me great pleasure to present this update on our activities addressing climate change and air quality in Buckinghamshire over the past 12 months. From reading this report you will see that we have made progress across the whole spectrum; from nature based solutions such as large scale tree planting right through to initiating the prototype electrification of one of our refuse collection vehicles.

The year has seen what we believe to be a record level of tree planting across the County with over 145,000 trees in the ground. Planting at scale has seen three large woodlands created in Wing, Hazlemere and Amersham.

At the same time, there has been plenty of community based tree planting happening from north (Bourton Park) to south (near Marlow) and right across Buckinghamshire. We are also delighted to host our first two “Tiny Forests”, both embedded in and enjoyed by their communities.

Our officers and members have led our anti-idling campaign with grant funding from DEFRA enabling us to provide air quality toolkits to all 16 community boards. We were delighted to announce the contract award for the first upcycling of one of our refuse collection vehicles. It will be fully retrofitted with an all-electric drivetrain; by upcycling the vehicle we will save all of the embodied carbon in the rest of the vehicle.

Reporting on our own operational emissions shows that we are on track to meet our seven-year carbon budget. We are reporting a 73.4% reduction in emissions against our 1990 baseline; already well on our way to our 2030 target of 75%.

I hope you enjoy reading this report, highlighting the work we are undertaking on your behalf and for future generations and showcasing our local response to this global challenge.

Councillor Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment.