Luton Borough Council agrees to invest £50k on environmental consultants to help make town carbon neutral

A £50,000 investment has been approved by Luton Borough Council to aid its approach to tackling climate change.

As part of a package of measures, a specialist consultancy team will advice the local authority on its targets to reach net zero carbon emissions for the town.

Luton town centre

Luton town centre

The council will consult the community and other interested parties, as well as the main carbon emitting firms about climate-related issues.

Funding for the consultants will be supplied from the Butterfield Reserve, which is available for extra spending on economic development activity.

A cross party group was set up by the council to overhaul its climate change strategy, with an aim to reach net zero carbon levels before the date set by government.

The council is studying its current approach to the subject already, while a London Luton Airport Limited sustainability strategy has been set up.

“A specialist consultancy will be brought on board to help with the development of the action plan,” said a council spokeswoman.

“The group has identified four key themes which will need further costing and investigation, as well as more detailed consultation. One is transport, considering potential solutions such as ultra-low emission zones, encouraging use of public transport, walking and cycling, and a work-place parking levy.

“The plan involves a schedule of community engagement events, and also workshops with the top carbon emitters in the town.

“There will be involvement with young people and children, including a Youth Council event planned for late autumn.

“And a citizen’s assembly is also planned for the end of the year.”

The other themes are buildings and their energy efficiency, the community support and engagement, and London Luton Airport.

The Climate Change Commission has asked the government to look in more detail at aviation, according to a report to the council’s executive.

“It is recognised that this is an issue for Luton, and the council will need to take a steer from the government response,” said the report.

The funding allocation will cover the appointment of Anthesis to provide the scientific based targets for Luton.

It will enable the local consultation events to take place and provide a secondment post to support climate change work across the council.

Anthesis is an organisation which is helping several local authorities develop strategies to reach their reduction targets, including Nottingham and Manchester.

Labour Challney councillor Tom Shaw, who chairs the climate control action board, said, “We will continue to work with key partners and organisations nationally, regionally and locally to develop practical ways of reducing carbon emissions.

“Dealing with climate change will need community, stakeholders and experts involved.

“We also need residents and businesses to take a different approach to travel and energy. We can support them to do this.”

The citizens assembly is due to take place on December 11th 2019 at a town centre location.

A more detailed action plan, and targets for the council and the town are due to be agreed by the council’s executive in January 2020.