We’re going net zero carbon by 2040

Published date

For the first time ever Harlow Council has agreed a target date and actions for hitting Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040 as it steps up its efforts to tackle global climate change.

The target to hit Net Zero was agreed at the Cabinet meeting on 9 September 2021. The council’s target is 10 years before the UK’s commitment of reaching a position of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.

A new Carbon Reduction Plan has also been agreed, which sets a new short-term target for the council to reduce its carbon emissions by 2026 by 50% when compared to the 2014/15 level.The plan will deliver further carbon savings from the council’s operations in the period 2021-26. Importantly the plan also begins the critically work required to prepare to meet Net Zero by 2040.

At the meeting Councillor Alastair Gunn, portfolio holder for environment, set out the actions the council will take to deliver Net Zero. These include:

  • Council will only buy electric cars from 2022/23
  • No new gas boilers in council operational buildings from 2025/26
  • HTS to commit to Net Zero by 2040 too
  • Next waste contract to include commitment to reach Net Zero by the end of it

Councillor Alastair Gunn, said:

“Tackling climate change is this century’s single most pressing challenge. How that challenge is met will define the world in which we all live and will impact the lives of people for generations to come.

“This matters to Harlow and addressing the Council’s own carbon emissions is critical to safeguarding the local environment, and ensuring Harlow is a town fit for the future. While there has been good progress in the last ten years by the council to reduce its carbon emissions, there is still a significant amount of work left, with the most complex and costly decisions yet to be taken.

“The council’s decision to set a target for Net Zero for the first time ever is an important statement to the town and to businesses and organisations. Harlow Council is serious about tackling climate change and we all need to and can do our bit for Harlow’s future. Getting this right is critical to making Harlow an even greater engine for opportunity and prosperity in the East of England.”