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Climate emergency news

The latest news as we work towards completing all of the actions on our climate emergency plans

February 2023 - Plymouth to get smart with street lighting

We've agreed a £2.5 million investment into smart street lighting, to help cut carbon emissions and reduce Council energy bills.

The new system will involve installing sensors on lamp posts to provide data that will help us better manage the city’s lighting, in terms of safety, energy use and maintenance.

The system will allow the street lighting levels to be controlled more intelligently, being dimmed in certain areas at certain times, or brightened in others, for example during events or if there is an accident or incident.

There is also a significant green saving to be made by upgrading the existing street light infrastructure, with the improvements estimated to save up to 538 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

February 2023 - Connect Plymouth website launch

Connect Plymouth logo

A new website has been launched today as part of an exciting programme to provide new ways for people to move around Plymouth.

Connect Plymouth will officially launch on March 21, but ahead of this date people are being invited to check out Home | Connect Plymouth to see what facilities will be near their home and where they work or play.

By the end of the installation phase, Connect Plymouth will see 500 electric bikes for hire at over 90 locations, 300 fast and rapid electric vehicle chargers in 50 locations and an electric car club across the city.

February 2023 - Funding boost for important nature project

A whole host of Plymouth's best-loved green spaces are set to benefit from nearly £1 million of funding and help the city tackle the climate emergency.

The money will help continue the work of the Plymouth Natural Grid across six council city sites and two National Trust sites, supporting Natural England to shape national policy.

Find out more

February 2023 - Work starts on homes fit for the future

Work has started on the building of ten brand new, sustainable homes in Plymstock.

The spacious two, three and four bedroomed properties are being built on site of the former Morley Youth Centre, off Broadland Gardens.

Heated with modern, energy-efficient technology, to help achieve low carbon living, particular attention has been paid to their design, so that they are adaptable and sustainable.

Find out more

November 2022 - Climate Conversations website launched

September 2022 – Devon Carbon Plan launched

A plan that sets out a number of goals and actions for the county of Devon to reach net-zero by 2050 at the latest has been launched.  The Devon Carbon Plan was published in September following an extensive period of consultation and engagement with residents, businesses, stakeholders and local councils like Plymouth across the region.  Find out more

June 2022 - New solar farm given green light

Work will begin on Plymouth’s brand new, community-owned solar farm next year after planning approval was granted by the Council’s planning committee.

Having met on Thursday, the committee unanimously approved the 13MW solar farm on the old landfill site at Chelson Meadow which was submitted as a partnership between the Council and local charity Plymouth Energy Community (PEC).

Once complete and operational, the solar farm will increase the city’s renewable power generation by nearly 50 per cent, generating enough to power 3,860 homes a year whilst making significant carbon savings.

June 2022 - Council continue to decarbonise buildings

A photo of Councillor James Stoneman on the roof at Ballard House

The Council has taken a further step towards carbon neutrality with the installation of air source heat pumps on two buildings.

The Lord Mayor’s residence at Elliot Terrace and the main office accommodation at Ballard House have both had the devices fitted this week. An air source heat pump transfers heat from the outside air to water and is used an an alternative to using gas for heating. 

In addition, 195 solar panels have been installed on a newly insulated roof at Ballard along while secondary glazing and draught proofing has been added at Elliot Terrace.

March 2022 - Waste Sharks on trial in Plymouth

An image of the Waste Sharks in the water

Residents of Turnchapel, beware… there are a couple of sharks in the water!

Only these sharks aren’t of the great white variety and they’re certainly not dangerous to humans. No, this shark eats only one type of prey; litter.

The Waste Sharks are state-of-the-art Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) that survey the surface of our seas, gobbling up litter, helping to keep our natural environment clean.

They have been introduced as part of our Preventing Plastic Pollution project and are being trialled first in Turnchapel, before operating in the wider Cattewater where litter is known to gather. 

March 2022 - Series of TEDx talks shows Plymouth’s commitment to a more sustainable future

A new series of TEDx talks has been published on the international TED platform to show the tangible steps that Plymouth is taking to tackle climate change.

The four talks, created as part of TED’s global countdown to a better future initiative, focus on individual topics like the importance of plankton, seagrass restoration, open data and sustainable travel.

March 2022 - Grass-cutting regime leaves 40 per cent to nature

Photograph of a grass verge next to a road being mowed

With spring just around the corner, grass cutting is soon set to resume in Plymouth.

Just like last year, we're planning on leaving 40 per cent of the grass that we manage uncut for nature. 

That doesn’t mean we'll be letting everything grow wild. We will continue to keep the parks and open spaces that are so vital to people’s wellbeing managed. We’ll also still need to cut some areas to ensure that roads are safe.

But where we’ve got grassy areas that are of more use to wildlife than people - like steep banks, some verges and the fringe of open spaces - we’ll be cutting around the edges and then leaving the rest to grow wild.

February 2022 - Proposals for climate change measures in all new development

Developers planning to build new homes or any development in Plymouth, the South Hams and West Devon will have to incorporate measures that will help owners tackle climate change as soon as they move in.

Features such as solar panels, ground or air source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging facilities will be fitted as standard on all new homes and commercial buildings under proposals being put forward in the draft Plymouth and South West Devon Climate Emergency Planning Policy and Guidance.

Other measures will see more habitat and green space designed into developments, which increases biodiversity and brings health and wellbeing benefits to residents. These measures will also go some way to mitigate against rising global temperatures.

February 2022 - Planning submitted for new solar farm

A brand new, community-owned solar farm for Plymouth has reached another step towards reality. 

Having launched plans in the summer and undertaken extensive community consultation, the Council and local charity Plymouth Energy Community (PEC), have submitted a joint planning application, to develop a new approximately 13MWh community-owned solar farm, on the old landfill site at Chelson Meadow. 

Generating enough energy to power 3,800 homes a year, this unique opportunity would increase the renewable energy capacity in the city significantly; improving national and local access to clean energy.

February 2022 - E-Car club coming down the road

Co-Cars image

Plymouth’s move to make people less reliant on private cars is going up another gear with a car club for the city’s much anticipated mobility hubs.

The Council has this week awarded a contract to Co Cars, the on demand, zero and low emission car club , which has its headquarters in Exeter, and is the largest, longest running car club across the South West peninsula.

Their Plymouth fleet will be all electric and people will be able to book them via the Co Cars app or online  to pick up at the hubs which will be dotted across the city.

February 2022 - £250,000 in green travel grants up for grabs

Plymouth businesses! Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint and help achieve net zero? Do you want to positively influence the way your colleagues travel by providing sustainable transport facilities? Our Workplace Travel Grants might be able to help.

Businesses are being offered the opportunity to bid for match-funded grants of up to £25,000 to pay for measures that help staff travel more sustainably to, from and at work.

February 2022 - Electric vehicle chargers installed on city streets

An image of someone charging an electric vehicle

More than 100 on street electric vehicles charge points will be installed across Plymouth over the next eight weeks.

On Monday, work started on six units in Coleridge Road in Lipson and will continue across a further 20 streets by the end of March.

Once work is complete, it will allow the nearly 40% of Plymouth households who do not have access to off-street parking to access charging infrastructure.

February 2022 - Plymouth tourism businesses given support to go greener

Tourism, leisure, cultural and hospitality businesses in Plymouth are being given the opportunity to showcase their sustainability credentials and environmental commitment through a new partnership between Green Tourism and Destination Plymouth.

The partnership will be launched at the Sustainable Tourism Conference on Monday 14 February.

Businesses that sign up to the programme will be given support to help them reach their sustainability goals, with the aim of gaining the internationally recognised Green Tourism Standard.

January 2022 - E-xciting news to get more people on bikes

Councillor Drean on e-bike

A 400-strong fleet of hireable electric bikes will be ready and available on the streets of Plymouth next year.

The bikes, which will be based all across the city and will be bookable online, are being introduced as part of the Council’s mobility hubs project.

Beryl has been appointed to provide the bikes, having already delivered micromobility schemes in Norwich, Hereford, Watford, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, the Isle of Wight, Hackney and Greater Manchester.

January 2022 - New climate plans set to go before Council

Plans detailing Plymouth’s latest response to the climate emergency will go before Councillors later this month.

The Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan and the Climate Emergency Action Plan, both of which are now on their third incarnations, will be debated and then put to the vote at a meeting of the full City Council on Monday 24 January.

Initial plans to address the climate emergency were first launched in November 2019, with separate strategies for the Council's own plans and those of the wider city.

Since the second plans were published in January 2021, and despite the backdrop of the pandemic and other budget pressures, many of the actions details have now been completed.

November 2021 - Greener taxis proposed

More taxis on Plymouth streets, greener, lower emission vehicles and green livery are the key proposals being unveiled to help the city’s taxi trade.

Proposals designed to get more people to join Plymouth’s taxi trade as well as encourage cabbies and operators to go greener have been set out in a new draft Taxi Licensing Policy.

November 2021 - Flood relief scheme set for Lipson Vale

Plans for a green solution to a renowned flooding hotspot are being put out to public consultation.

Lipson Vale, and particularly the junction at Bernice Terrace, has seen high-rainfall cause persistent flooding for a number of years. If heavy rainfall coincides with a high tide, the drainage water exits can become “tide-locked”, causing a back-up in the system that floods on to the road and on occasion, into nearby houses and businesses.

But now, plans for a sustainable urban drainage system in the nearby Trefusis Park looks set to end the problem.

November 2021 - Plymouth business encouraged to become net zero heroes

New, free support is now available to help Plymouth businesses become carbon neutral.

The ‘Make it Net Zero - Plymouth’ programme, delivered by SWMAS Ltd on behalf of Plymouth City Council, will give businesses the advice and guidance they need to become net zero.

Net zero refers to the balance between the volume of greenhouse gas produced and removed from the atmosphere, so businesses can reach it when the amount added to the environment is completely offset by the amount removed.

November 2021 - No traffic trial for six Plymouth schools

Roads outside six Plymouth primary schools will be closing to traffic during pick-up and drop-off times in a series of one-day trials to improve safety and encourage active travel.

The ‘Safer School Streets’ trial, being run by the Council in partnership with Sustrans, will take place between 17 and 24 November to coincide with the national Road Safety Week campaign.

School Streets are being adopted by a growing number of local authorities and schools across the UK to help tackle problem parking, improve road safety and encourage more people to think differently about how they travel to school.

October 2021 - Cycling and walking proposals for St Budeaux

One of Plymouth’s key routes could be getting a new 6.5km walking and cycling upgrade to make it easier for people to go on foot or by bike as part of the city’s push to encourage greener, more sustainable travel.

Plymouth City Council has drawn up plans for two walking and cycling schemes which together will provide the new link between St Budeaux, Devonport Dockyard and the City Centre.

October 2021 - Young people to discuss climate emergency

The young people of Plymouth are being invited to have their say on the climate emergency.

The inaugural Young People's Climate Emergency summit, organised by the Plymouth Youth Parliament, will take place at the Guildhall on Friday.

October 2021 - Plymouth pupils call or cleaner air outside schools

Pupils at Ernesettle Community School and Mary Dean’s Primary School have come out top in a competition to design a banner for Plymouth City Council’s new ‘Engines Off for Clean Air’ campaign.

The citywide competition was held before the summer holiday to help raise awareness about air quality around schools and encourage drivers to switch off their engines while waiting nearby.

September 2021 - #BackTheFuture Plymouth Climate Challenge

Have you got a brilliant idea to help save the planet but want some knowhow and some cash to help make it happen?

Look no further, our groundbreaking Crowdfunder Plymouth Climate Challenge is back with £20,000 up for grabs.

June 2021 - Two new local cycle routes open to residents

Two new, off-road cycling and walking paths have been opened to residents.

The first is a brand new, purpose built path in Plymstock that links Broxton Drive to Saltram Meadow roundabout

The other, in Milehouse, is the significant upgrade and widening of an existing path that runs between Somerset Place and Ponsonby Road.

March 2021 - Wildflowers set to bloom across Plymouth

A photo of wildflowers at Mount Wise

With Spring just around the corner, even more wildflowers are set to bloom across the city and this year, you can find out where.

We’ve put together an interactive map of the whole city which will show you exactly where we have created designated wildflower meadows and the places where we will be leaving them to grow naturally.

It follows last year’s successful trial of leaving a few verges and boundaries in certain areas of the city to grow wilder.

Some of the results were spectacular with wonderful patches of colour appearing where once there was just green. 

March 2021 - More cycling improvements planned for Plymstock

A map showing the proposed new cycle path between Saltram Meadow Roundabout and Colesdown Hill

A planning application for a further extension of a popular Plymstock off-road cycle path has been submitted today.

Earlier this year, work started on a new path parallel with Billacombe Road, from Broxton Drive to Saltram Meadow roundabout.

With construction on this underway, this new application seeks to extend this route further, from Saltram Meadow roundabout to Colesdown Hill.

The 800m stretch will continue to follow the route of the old railway line with steps and a wheeling ramp onto Colesdown Hill.

February 2021 - New path opens up acres of green space for first time

A map that shows the new walking and cycle scheme between Crownhill and Forder Valley

Construction on another brand new walking and cycling scheme has started, this time in the north of the city.

The Derriford Community Park Strategic Walking and Cycling Scheme will see the construction of a new, 5.6km off-road path network within the Bircham, Forder and Seaton Valleys.

It will start in the green space between Tailyour Road and Hunter Close in Crownhill and finish at Forder Valley Road, near to the entrance of Poole Farm, giving access to the nearby Forder and Bircham Valley Local Nature Reserves and previously inaccessible greenspace along the Seaton valley.  

February 2021 - New plans unveiled to make travelling around Plymouth cleaner and greener

An image showing how Journey Hub might look

Plymouth City Council has today launched a consultation on ambitious plans to install a network of Journey Hubs, designed to make travelling around the city cleaner and greener. 

To help curb emissions and encourage residents and visitors to use low carbon modes of transport, the council aims to install up to 50 Journey Hubs across Plymouth by 2023. Each hub will provide electric vehicle (EV) charging points, e-bikes, an EV car club and links to public transport. The scheme also includes plans for the UK’s first sea-going electric ferry.

Work is set to begin on upgrading yet another neighbourhood cycle scheme.

Improvements to the current path that runs between Somerset Place and Ponsonby Road in Milehouse will begin this week and will be completed in time for summer.

February 2021 - Getting greener with new electric vehicle charge points installed

Our plans to make Plymouth greener are getting into gear with the installation of brand new EV (electric vehicle) charging points across the city.

Public charge points have been installed at the Elphinstone, Crownhill and Plymstock Broadway public car parks. The charge points are pay-as-you-go and are operated through a dedicated app that can be downloaded onto your smart phone.

Public car parks at Plympton Mudge Way, Guildhall, and North Hill are also on the list to have EV charge points installed.

A schematic drawing of the new route at Broxton Drive

Work on a brand new, off-road cycle path is set to begin this week.

Broxton Drive to Saltram Meadow roundabout walking and cycling route will run parallel to Billacombe Road and will act as an extension to the current route that stretches back past Laira Bridge.

The path will start on the eastern side of Broxton Drive, run along the route of the old railway line and meet up with the new roundabout that links Billacombe Road to the Saltram Meadow development. 

January 2021 - Latest climate plans for Plymouth revealed

A graphic depicting a rainbow, taken from the logo of the Climate Emergency Action Plan

Engagement on Plymouth's latest actions on the climate emergency will begin later this month.

Initial plans to help tackle the crisis were first launched in December 2019, setting out  39 actions the City Council would take to address its own carbon emissions and 75 actions planned for Plymouth as a whole.

Over the past year, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, many of the actions detailed in those plans have now been completed and so the time has come to ramping up the actions for 2021.

The draft actions for the second Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan 2021 and the Climate Emergency Action Plan 2021 will first be reviewed by the Council's Brexit, Infrastructure and Legislative Change Committee when it meets on Wednesday 13 January.