Burnley Council is first in county to achieve climate change award

Published on Fri Mar 8 2024
Line of cars parked up to stone wall with electric charging points and cables running to their bonnets

Burnley Council has become the first local authority in Lancashire, and only the fifth in the country*, to become a Silver level Carbon Literate Organisation.

The national award recognises the council’s dedication towards tackling climate change, reducing its organisational carbon emissions, and its commitment to working towards a low-carbon future.

In 2019 the council declared a climate emergency and committed to reducing its carbon footprint, aiming to become a Net Zero authority by 2050.

Councillor Scott Cunliffe, the council’s executive member for sustainability and growth, said: “This is the result of a lot of hard work by council officers to achieve this marvellous result.

“Burnley is leading the way when it comes to other councils across Britain in terms of Carbon Literacy and giving staff the knowledge and skills to tackle climate change and take climate action to reduce our negative impact on the environment.

“It’s one of many steps the council has taken since 2019 to reduce its carbon footprint and climate action is a key part of all our work.”

Since declaring a Climate Emergency in 2019 the council has taken some significant green gains in tackling climate change including:

  • Establishing the council’s carbon budget and identifying key areas where emissions can be reduced
  • Measuring and monitoring emissions from our key facilities to look at where we can reduce energy use, decarbonise our buildings and make them more energy efficient
  • Looking into the best method to measure emissions data within our supply chain and service procurement, so we can take a complete approach to reducing emissions
  • Started to switch our vehicle fleet from diesel to electric
  • Rolling out a network of electric vehicle charging points, including 21 fast charge stations in eight public car parks across the borough
  • Encouraging recycling in council buildings
  • Installed energy-saving lighting and other measures in council buildings
  • Successfully won funding from Trees for Cities to enable 7,500 trees to be planted in the last six months alone
  • Encouraging nature recovery by taking a new approach to grass management to create wildlife havens and encourage greater biodiversity.

The council’s chief executive Lukman Patel said: “Only a handful of councils across the country have achieved this award and most of them are big city or county councils with far more resources.

“It shows the commitment of the council and our staff to making positive changes that will make our borough cleaner and greener for generations to come. We all have a part to play in tackling climate change.”

Burnley Council began Carbon Literacy training in September 2021. The training was originally delivered through an external trainer, but is now being led by the council’s climate change officer to deliver training internally, with the assistance of other officers.

The council worked with the Carbon Literacy Project to develop an internal training programme, as a result of which 15% of staff received the training and went on to become formally certified as Carbon Literate. This includes the chief executive and all heads of service, who have completed the training with the aim of Carbon Literacy and its importance in decision-making being passed down through management.

This training is crucial for demonstrating to all council employees that they have the ability to generate change and help reduce emissions, and that all job roles/ departments have a climate change impact. Through the training learners realise their influence and everyone that completed the training came up with significant and impactful actions that can be carried out through their jobs and within their teams.

Dave Coleman, co-founder and managing director of the Carbon Literacy Project, said: “Carbon literacy is an essential skill, vital to every workplace, community, and place of study.

“By becoming a Silver level accredited Carbon Literate organisation, Burnley Council has demonstrated its commitment to genuine low carbon action, environmental and economic impact, and the building of a low carbon future for us all.”

The ongoing work to deliver Carbon Literacy demonstrates the council’s commitment to tackling climate change and further training sessions are planned to continue increasing Carbon Literacy throughout the council, maintain engagement with staff, drive action, and support our move to net zero.

*According to the Carbon Literacy Project’s website 8/3/24.

Post expires at 11:02am on Saturday June 8th, 2024