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Carbon Neutral Agenda

Ashford’s Carbon Footprint

The council passed the following motions on the 18 July 2019.

  • Ashford Borough and Ashford Borough Council will aim to become carbon neutral by 2030, and 80% by 2025. By actively seeking to address climate change, we will be improving the well-being and prosperity of all residents.
  • Ashford Borough Council will eliminate single-use plastic by 2021.

We have been developing a Carbon Neutral Strategy to guide us in achieving this ambition. Shortly before we were planning to consult on our draft strategy, the country entered lockdown and our efforts and resources turned to responding to the coronavirus pandemic and supporting those most affected.

We must now use our experiences of life in lockdown to help galvanise our actions to tackle the biggest threat to our planet, climate change.  To ensure our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic helps us all lead more sustainable lifestyles.

What we’re doing to reduce our carbon footprint

We will be reviewing our draft Carbon Neutral Strategy over the coming months to reset our long term ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.  In the meantime as we work to recover from the coronavirus pandemic achieving carbon neutrality is a key component the council’s Recovery Plan.  A number of the actions in the recovery plan have direct environmental benefits:

  • Remote working for staff – reduces commuting by car, to offices and for meetings.
  • Reviewing councils own assets – will include buildings, energy efficiency, water consumption etc.
  • Increasing options for walking and cycling for work and leisure, reduced car dependency.
  • Progressing with digital transformation to increase use of virtual meetings and information sharing, both internally and with the wider public.
  • Increasing local energy generation through renewable energy sources,
  • Increasing biodiversity and provision of open space through improvements in our parks.
  • Run promotional campaigns for staff and public to increase knowledge and share ideas for more sustainable lifestyles.
  • Encourage businesses to develop and use green processes and actively encourage green industries to establish in the borough.

How to reduce your carbon footprint

One of the easiest things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to look at the behaviours you’ve adopted during Lockdown and see what habits you’d like to keep as we enter the recovery phase. For example, meal planning to help cut down food waste or exploring your local area for hidden gems instead of driving further afield.

If you’re unsure on where to start why not take a look at some of the resources below.

Food Waste

More than a third of food produced globally never makes it to the table!

No one likes to waste food, wasting food isn’t just bad for the planet it’s bad for your pocket. Love Food Hate Waste have some great tips on their website including an A-Z guide on the best ways to store your food and keep it fresher for longer.

Their website also has lots simple food hacks and tips to help you learn how to reduce your food waste from the moment you start thinking about shopping through to when you are cooking, preparing and serving your meals.

Saving Water

The way we’re using water is changing especially with more of us staying at home. Reducing the amount of water you use can impact your carbon foot print and your bills. South East Water offer a range of freebies that will reduce water wastage in your home.

More time at home means more time gardening. Did you know hoses and sprinklers can use up to 1,000 litres of water an hour – as much as a family of six uses in a day! There are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of water you use whilst still keeping your garden looking great. South East water have plenty of tips on how you can save water this summer.

Reduce, Reuse Recycle

Reducing what you waste is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

From thinking differently about what you buy, to using re-usable items, and composting at home - there are lots of ways to make a real difference.

Love Your Clothes

Currently, over 5% of the UK’s total annual carbon and water footprints result from clothing consumption. But if clothes stayed in active use for nine months longer (extending their average life to around three years), this would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%. Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction.

The Love Your Clothes website has plenty of tips and tricks on how to reduce your clothing carbon footprint. They offer advice on buying clothes, care and repairrefashioning and upcycling and what to do with clothes you don’t want anymore.