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Climate emergency

Make the Wiltshire Green Pledge today

We need your help to make Wiltshire as environmentally friendly as possible. 

There are many small changes you can make in your everyday life that can have a big positive impact on the environment

Such as:

Leave the car at home and walk more

Take shorter showers and turn off taps when brushing teeth

Try and use as little single-use plastic as possible

Use a reusable cup

Use bags for life

Recycle as much as you can

Turn off lights when not using them

Install a smart meter to help you manage energy use

Those are just some suggestions but there’s so much more you can do. 

So, we want you to have a think about the changes you can make…starting today.

Please make the Wiltshire Green Pledge and do what you can. Making your pledge should only take a couple of minutes. 

Thanks for your support! 

Climate Change overview

Climate change and its repercussions is an acknowledged global problem. Wiltshire Council will be doing all it can to tackle this issue locally.

In February 2019, at a meeting of full council, Wiltshire Council resolved to:

  • Acknowledge that there is a climate emergency
  • Seek to make the county of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030

The full motion is available to download and read. You can also catch-up with the discussion that was held at full council via the webcast.

In July 2019 Wiltshire Council's cabinet also pledged to make Wiltshire Council carbon neutral by 2030. 

Business and community support and involvement will be vital and ways are being looked at to ensure they play an active role in helping the carbon neutral target be achieved.

What's being done?

Initially, the council will be looking at a major increase in renewable energy generation on council buildings. We will also review our fleet to establish which vehicles can be electric when they are replaced. Business and community support and involvement will be vital and we are looking at ways we can ensure to play an active role in helping to achieve the carbon neutral target.

Wiltshire Council's Environment Select Committee has also established a task group of councillors to look at some of the main issues.

The cabinet is being supported by the Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group, chaired by Cllr Graham Wright and made up of eight councillors. The areas they will be exploring are:

  • Renewable energy generation, energy use and efficiency
  • Planning
  • Transport and air quality
  • Waste
  • Land use
  • Business and industry

The council will be looking to see if more can be done at its main hubs and other buildings to ensure the organisation is leading the way locally in tackling this global problem.

This page will regularly be kept up-to-date with progress on all the relevant programmes of work and how you can help support us.

Friends of the Earth recognition – we are named most climate-friendly council in England and Wales

In October 2019 Wiltshire Council was been named the most climate-friendly council in England and Wales by Friends of the Earth. 

The green group assessed councils in different categories including renewable energy, public transport, lift-sharing, energy efficiency at home, waste recycling, and tree cover to find an overall winner – with Wiltshire coming out on top with an overall score of 92%.

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, said: “All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing. We know we are facing a climate and ecological emergency that threatens our existence and the natural world. If we want to change things for the better, let's start at home.

“Doing things right now about climate change isn’t just good news for future generations and people most vulnerable to an erratic climate, it’s good for everyone. Creating cleaner and greener places to live means healthier, happier lives. It’s why local authorities need to take the lead by adopting ambitious local climate action plans, and who better to help them than communities.”

Our weekly solar power generation

A number of our buildings generate solar power.

The buildings are Amesbury Salt Store, Bradbury House, Bradbury Manor, Corsham Campus, County Hall, Durrington Swimming Pool, Swindon and Wiltshire History Centre, Kennett House, Longford Primary School, Monkton Park offices, Oxenwood Education Centre, Large and Small Pewsey Library, Nadder Community Campus, Castledown Units (2B, 3A, 3B, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E), Westbury Leisure Centre, Royal Wootton Bassett Salt Store.

Please see below for the amount of solar energy generated at those buildings last week (10 - 16 February 2020):

Latest news releases

Any carbon and climate emergency related news stories released by Wiltshire Council will be available here

Wiltshire Council, recently named the most climate friendly council area in England and Wales, will invest more than £5m to tackle emissions from its own buildings, as it aims for the council and county to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Proposals were agreed by the council’s Cabinet (on 8 October), which will see Wiltshire Council target 138 of its buildings and aim to cut their carbon emissions by investing around £5.18m in phase one of a programme of work which will also help reduce the cost of running the buildings in the long-term – this could see gross annual savings of around £500,000.

To achieve this; automatic controls for lighting, heating and cooling will be installed wherever possible. Standard energy-reducing technologies will be also installed where feasible across the council’s estate. This includes solutions such as upgrading to LED lighting or improving insulation.

The council will also replace the remaining energy used within its buildings with energy generated from a renewable source as much as possible. Therefore, this programme will see the installation of solar panels at every site where there is a viable business case. In addition, it will look at installing other renewable energy generation technologies such as hydroelectric solutions and biomass boilers where appropriate.

Investigation will also be carried out into canopy-based solar panels, with Salisbury Park and Ride sites identified as a possible location to try them out. If introduced, this would create solar energy on the sites which could also supply electricity on a commercial basis to nearby third parties. A detailed business case will be drawn up on this.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “What I hope is clear from all the work we are doing is just how seriously we are taking this issue. We are investing money, time and resources into doing all we can to tackle this global issue in Wiltshire.

“Looking closely at our own buildings and making them as efficient as possible is in our control and will have positive repercussions for the environment while making valuable long-term savings in the process – it’s a win-win.”

Other work the council is doing to reduce carbon emissions includes:

• Securing all the electricity on its corporate contract from a green tariff with effect from 1st April 2020 , which means that 100% of the council’s electricity will be matched by the supplier with a certified renewable energy source
• Ensuring our response to climate change is enhanced within the Core Strategy – the council’s key planning and development document
• Drafting the fourth Local Transport Plan to reflect the target to reduce carbon emissions and develop policies to make further improvements
• Continuing to monitor air quality in Wiltshire through its updated Air Quality Strategy which will soon be formally reported to Full Council
• Ensuring the Household Waste Management Strategy continues to focus on reducing the carbon impact of its operations, for example in 2008/9 the council landfilled more than 56% of its waste, by 2018/19 this figure was less than 16%
• Working with Swindon and Wiltshire Local Economic Partnership to engage with businesses and industry in Wiltshire to reduce carbon emissions
• Arranging a series of environmentally-themed area board meetings to take place later this year to engage with communities and local residents.

The council recently topped the table of most climate-friendly councils following research by Friends of the Earth which looked at a range of issues relevant to climate change to assess how councils are performing.

Wiltshire Council is laying out its strategy to address climate change with a commitment from Cabinet for the council to become carbon neutral by 2030. 

The first steps will be to look at a major increase in renewable energy generation on council buildings and reviewing the council fleet to establish which vehicles can be electric when they are replaced.  Wiltshire Council’s Environment Select Committee has also established a task group of councillors to look at some of the main issues.

Wiltshire Council will start by looking to see if more can be done at its main hubs and other buildings to ensure the organisation is leading the way locally in tackling this global problem.

Richard Clewer, deputy leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “We want to show leadership because we take the issue of climate change very seriously.  We need to show that we can generate our own energy needs renewably to help lead the way in Wiltshire.

“Locally we can’t do this alone; we will need to work with other organisations, stakeholders, communities and groups. However, if we, as an organisation can lead the way given the size we are, then we hope that communities will be keen to work with us to ensure that Wiltshire is seen as a positive example of how to tackle this issue.” 

Cllr Graham Wright, chairman of the Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group, said: “If counties like Wiltshire don’t start to put changes into place now, then collectively we won’t be able to make a positive difference.

“We are under no illusion of the monumental scale of this issue. What we have in our favour though is a growing awareness and recognition from the public that, globally, this serious issue should be high on everyone’s agenda.”

Wiltshire Council’s cabinet is being supported by the Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group, chaired by Cllr Graham Wright and made up of eight councillors. It has met twice so far to scope the areas that they want to focus on.

The areas they will be exploring are:

• Renewable energy generation, energy use and efficiency
• Planning
• Transport and air quality
• Waste
• Land use
• Business and industry


Wiltshire Council’s drive to be carbon neutral by 2030 continues as its low energy street lighting project gets underway.

The council is investing £12m to replace much of its ageing 45,000 lights with Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. Unlike older lights, LED lighting can be dimmed to save energy. 

The project has been rolled out in Chippenham with more than 400 of the new modern lights installed. The lights will eventually be installed throughout the county, which will see the council make annual savings of around £1m. 

The light from the LED units look different as it is not orange in colour, like some of the older lighting. The new lights will provide similar lighting levels with less light spill and be considerably cheaper to operate and maintain. Instead of being turned off for part of the night, many of the lights will be dimmed during off-peak periods to further reduce energy consumption.

The conversion will be carried out quickly in most locations with little disturbance and disruption as it is only the electrical equipment being changed. However, in a few cases it may be necessary to renew the lighting column which will require excavation in the pavement to provide and connect the new column.

The project is expected to reduce the annual energy consumption of the council’s street lighting from 12,977,500 KWh to 5,262,291 KWh. The reduction in energy for each light will vary according to the unit, but is likely to be as much as 69% in some cases.

There will be also significant reduction of the council’s carbon footprint – it will reduce street lighting CO2 by 1,770tCO2 (from 4,950tCO2 to 3,180tCO2.).

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The project to replace the old stock has had a smooth start and the feedback we’re received so far has been very positive.

“This long-term investment will save money while helping us achieve our ambition of reducing carbon emissions throughout the county – it’s a win-win.”

For more information and a range of FAQs, people should visit http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/highways-improvements-led-lighting 


Salisbury Reds and Wiltshire Council have unveiled new electric buses for city's park and ride services

The three brand new electric vehicles - a total investment of £1.2 million - will run from Salisbury's park and ride bus services.

The move follows a successful bid by the local bus operator and the council for £600,000 of Government funding for the new buses – which will help provide greener and cleaner journeys across the region.

While fully charged, each bus should be able to travel for around 160 miles.

"Together with Wiltshire Council, our team worked incredibly hard to gain government support, under the Low Emission Bus Scheme, for this important initiative," said Salisbury Reds managing director, Andrew Wickham.

"The move is part of a drive to lower emissions across the UK, following the publication of the government's draft Air Quality Plan, and I am delighted that Salisbury Reds is at the forefront of that project here in Wiltshire.

"Buses are the perfect solution to improving air quality in our towns and cities. I'm very much looking forward to seeing these three new electric vehicles out-and-about across Salisbury and the surrounding area."

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: "We're delighted that three new electric buses are now serving our park and ride sites in Salisbury.

"These buses represent a significant investment in the city, and will help to reduce the environmental impact of visitors and improve air quality. This is an important part of our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030, and we hope that by leading the way with initiatives like this, it will inspire people and other organisations to make a positive difference.

"I'd urge all visitors to Salisbury to use the five park and ride services where possible, as this will have a positive impact on reducing pollution and congestion, and it also allows easy access to our beautiful city."

For more information about Salisbury Reds, please visit salisburyreds.co.uk


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Last updated: 17 February 2020 | Last reviewed: 17 February 2020