An exciting not-for-profit organisation launched today to ensure that Shropshire achieves net zero carbon by 2030.
Set-up to represent the communities, enterprises, councils and NGOs of Shropshire, Shropshire Climate Action Partnership (SCAP) covers the whole county of Shropshire, including the unitary authority areas of Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council.
By bringing together organisations, businesses, and communities across Shropshire, through collaboration, knowledge-sharing and empowerment, SCAP will support rapid decarbonisation, large-scale restoration of biodiversity and the natural environment, and the development of the sustainable, resilient, and inclusive communities and enterprises needed for a sustainable future.
“We are rapidly approaching a point of no return. Since my birth in 1960 we’ve seen a quadrupling of CO2 – from under 10 billion tonnes per year to nearly 40 billion today" explained Mark Fermor, the Chair of the Founding Sponsors Group. "As a father and a grandfather I can no longer stand by and do nothing."
"We are truly in last chance saloon, and as a long-standing member of the business community and a local resident I know that we have the know-how, and local enterprises with the solutions, to make the change that’s needed. Great work is already being done, but what has been lacking is a practical plan where the choices can be brought together and decisions made in the best interests of Shropshire.”
“SCAP’s mission is to bring together all of the diverse groups and initiatives into a coherent plan so that we can join up our efforts and have a plan that gives confidence for Shropshire residents. It will also give confidence to Shropshire enterprises that they need to invest in the right products and services to meet the local demand, and SCAP provides an excellent opportunity for these firms to showcase their solutions, invest in training and equipment for the future, and succeed in the local marketplace.”
The first step is to develop a practical zero carbon Shropshire plan (ZCSP) by the end of 2020, and to achieve support from stakeholders for immediate implementation. SCAP will draw on the world class expertise of the Shropshire environmental technology sector and enterprises offering products and services for the sustainable future we need.
After this, from January 2021, SCAP will expand its scope to oversee the implementation, updating and further refinement of the ZCSP, and support Shropshire residents and businesses to achieve the rapid shift away from fossil fuels that we need. SCAP will work alongside organisations, businesses, communities and local residents to engage, build consensus, and maintain support for the actions and the key milestones along the road to a net zero Shropshire by 2030.
SCAP needs the community’s support. Members of the public are urged to visit the dedicated website www.zerocarbonshropshire.org to pledge their support for the mission. Simply adding their name, they’ll be able to support the ambition of this new programme, and by getting involved bring more relevance and add weight to SCAP’s ability to make the changes needed to achieve net zero by 2030. Specialists and local enterprises and NGOs can also sign up as members and contribute to the working groups and consultations. The website will showcase local enterprises that offer the resilient sustainable solutions we need, providing an opportunity to promote local enterprises.
Representatives of significant stakeholder organisations across the county were invited to join and we have already had engagement or input from:
- Telford and Wrekin Council, Shropshire Council, and the Shropshire Association of Local Councils
- University Centre Shrewsbury and the Centre for Sustainable Energy
- Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, and Shrewsbury Business Improvement District
- Midlands Energy Hub and Marches LEP, the Marches Energy Agency, and Shropshire and Telford Community Energy
- Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust
- Arriva Buses, and Sustainable Transport Shropshire
- Environment Agency, and Severn Trent Water
- Wrekin Housing Group
- The NFU, Country Landowners Association, and Shropshire Hills AONB
- Shropshire Wildlife Trust, South Shropshire Climate Action Group, and Green Shropshire Xchange
- Shropshire Association of WIs, Shrewsbury Food Hub, local SMEs, and youth representatives.
Most of these organisations have now joined a steering group to oversee the further development of SCAP, and with our launch this week we are now welcoming residents and businesses across Shropshire to sign up and get involved.
What Cuts are Needed?
To achieve net zero by 2030 we need a 10% per annum reduction from our 2019 carbon footprint and so the pace of change is huge and will be very challenging – but success will mark the transformation of Shropshire to become one of the leading sustainable counties in the UK with a strong enterprise base fit for the future.
The plan being developed in Q3 and Q4 2020 will scope out exactly how the cuts can be achieved. It is helpful to recognise this is not an environmental project, but instead is about setting out what the future sustainable Shropshire looks like and the practical steps to get there in a decade. Decisions will be informed by four guiding principles:
- Global Climate Justice | any new policies, technologies, products tenders, and procurement should aspire to have a positive impact (or at least not negatively impact) the lives, livelihoods and resilience of communities in Shropshire, the wider UK, and globally
- Restoring Nature | the ecological crisis is inextricably linked to the climate crisis and so we need to help restore nature (or at the very least do no more harm). This will also serve to increase carbon sinks to stabilise existing stores of carbon and to increase absorption of additional carbon
- Adaption and Resilience | while the scope of the project is reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, it’s vital that plans take account of the reality that the climate is changing, so all solutions must be resilient and sustainable
- Sustainable Shropshire will draw on local solutions from local enterprises and promote the growth and success of a Shropshire economy based on the products and services that a net zero world will need, promoting the opportunity for sustainable economic growth of our lovely county.
Why The Urgency?
Available data suggests that last year Shropshire county was responsible for net emissions of over 4 million tonnes of carbon-equivalent of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Around 40% of local emissions were from transport, 33% from industry and the remainder from domestic housing, and a very significant part of our footprint has been outsourced to overseas suppliers. UK residents are responsible for twice the global average carbon footprint, worsening the crisis about 1% each year, and immediate action is imperative. The Paris Agreement showed a global consensus that action is required to keep below 1.5 degrees centigrade increase of average temperatures from pre-industrial levels, and every year the United Nations reports that emissions are still rocketing and that net zero 2030 is already too late. This means more radical steps are now required and by this time next year, Shropshire needs to turn the corner and demonstrate significant reductions.
What Needs to Happen
The good news is that about 80% of the reduction we need is within the power of Shropshire’s producers and consumers to achieve if we work together to a common plan. The remainder will rely on national government. By developing and adopting a common plan for our lovely county, Shropshire can respond to this emergency with the changing behaviours and community-wide commitments to disinvest from unsustainable products and services and adopt the solutions we need, but we need a plan and guidance to follow. SCAP’s priority is to develop this plan through a process of wide community engagement and consultation on the technical, economic, environmental and social factors relevant to achieving net zero.
The first step in creating a practical plan that meets the priorities and preferences of Shropshire is to establish working groups, set up to focus on the practical steps we need. There are opportunities to get involved in this work if you are a specialist or have an interest, so please sign up on our website and we will get in touch. The working groups will specifically cover community engagement, carbon reporting and tracking, and the development of plans for land use and biodiversity, buildings, energy, consumption and resources, and transport.
“As a Council we are committed to becoming net zero carbon by 2030, but it is important to establish how this can be achieved for Shropshire as a county. The establishment of the Climate Action Partnership is an important step forward and Shropshire Council fully supports it.”
Shropshire Council Cabinet member responsible for climate change
“The Marches LEP recognises the important role that businesses will play in delivering a sustainable, green and net-zero economic recovery from COVID-19. This partnership will build on the strength of this sector locally, to further drive environmental improvements and boost the quality of our local natural environment.”
Mandy Thorn MBE, DL
Chair of the Marches LEP