An innovative climate for Woking

NEWS RELEASE: While world leaders continue to debate environmental issues on a global scale, a small borough council in leafy Surrey has been tackling global warming locally.

Concerned about the effect of CO2 emissions, Woking Borough Council has been taking practical steps to introduce energy efficient “Carbon Neutral” environmentally friendly schemes in its buildings and housing stock and is now turning to examine long term “Zero Waste” refuse disposal methods that will be sustainable in the future.

New Year resolutions at Woking include being one of the first boroughs in the country to sign up to a Climate Change Strategy.

The Borough intends to build on its energy services success and develop a strategy which takes account of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s recommendations that more needs to be done to reduce CO2 emissions by some 60% by 2050. Professor Sir Tom Blundell Chair of the Royal Commision has endorsed Woking’s approach saying: “Woking Council have produced a wide ranging programme that should enable it to meet targets of this scale which builds on the impressive range of programmes it already has in place.”

The strategy is one of the most comprehensive yet to be developed in the UK and covers the whole spectrum of the Borough’s energy uses: power, heat, water, waste disposal and transport for local authority, home and business users and will help the Council meet its Home Energy Conservation Act obligations.

Announcing this forward thinking strategy, launched in December 2002, the Council’s Leader of the Executive Cllr Jim Armitage explained: “We are really only just beginning with this. Woking has always been at the forefront of environmental matters. We have already achieved an 8% reduction in C02 emissions compared to 1990 levels. The Council will be continually developing effective measures to ensure a ‘Carbon Neutral’ approach for the Borough in the future.

Woking Council has already acted to shake off the shackles of red tape to provide energy efficient power to the private sector and is now looking at piloting some ground-breaking environmentally friendly ‘Zero Waste’ refuse disposal schemes. If the pilots are successful these could be operational by 2006.

Doing nothing about climate change is not an option, local authorities have a key role to play in setting ambitious but achievable targets. Woking has a ‘green’ track record to be proud of but we are not content to rest on our laurels.”

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