“AMBITIOUS” plans for how BCP Council will become carbon neutral by 2030 have been outlined in a new action plan.

More than 150 measures are outlined in the draft strategy which will form the basis of a public consultation, should it be backed at Tuesday’s meeting of the council.

They include the possibility of introducing a congestion charge, encouraging the use of electric and hydrogen-powered taxis and purchasing land for “large-scale renewable energy installations”.

“We are uncertain of the full extent that the effects of climate change will have on our area but know it will be more severe if we do not act now,” a report published ahead of the meeting says.

“Non-achievement of our declaration commitments will contribute to a further degraded and hostile global environment with local consequences.”

Publication of the action plan follows the July decision of the council to declare a climate and ecological emergency and its subsequent pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Bournemouth Echo:

It also promised to work with organisations and people to help the whole area reach a “net zero position” ahead of the 2050 target set by government.

The council is responsible for just under 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year – about one per cent of the total for the area.

Most of this comes from its direct burning of fuel, such as petrol in cars, and through its use of electricity.

And it has now published its draft action plan outlining possible ways of meeting its 2030 goal.

“This document…sets out the course of action we will take for the council and wider area to become carbon neutral,” it says.

“This is the first step towards a carbon neutral future for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole which will involve lifestyle changes for us all.”

Outlined in the plan are 153 measures the council will look at to meet its targets some of which it says it will do directly while others it says it will look at “with partners”.

“BCP Council is one of more than 260 local authorities to have announced climate emergency declarations,” the document adds.

Bournemouth Echo:

Simon Bull and Chris Rigby from the Green Party

“Whilst the scope and targets within these varies widely, BCP Council’s is in line with the more ambitious.”

Councillors will be asked to endorse the exploration of these measures when they meet on Tuesday.

They will also be requested to allocate £120,000 towards funding feasibility studies for improving its buildings’ energy efficiency and their renewable energy potential.

A further £120,000 is asked for for “energy improvements”. If approved, the sum would be match-funded by the government.

Green councillor Simon Bull, who put forward the climate emergency motion in July, said it is vital that the 2030 deadline is met.

"There's a real desire among everyone to get this done," he said. "It's not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination but we have no other choice.

"We have to be really ambitious - there's no alternative."

His party colleague, councillor Chris Rigby, who sits on the council’s climate emergency working group, said he was “really pleased” with the contents of the action plan.

"What I'm really positive about is that we have a whole load of measures here and each one of them is feasible and something which could make a real difference.

"Our focus now is on getting the views on the public on what their priorities are and to also find out which will be the most effective."

He added that he was pleased initiatives to reduce the council’s emissions were being started at the same time as the action plan was being put out for consultation.

Among this work is the sourcing of all its electricity from renewable providers, most of which has already been arranged.

This is expected to be fully completed by the beginning of April when a current contract to supply the power for street lights in Poole is due to end.

The report promises the publication of annual reports into progress made by the council in meeting its 2030 target.

The action plan will be considered by councillors when they meet on Tuesday.

Should they endorse it, it will be put out for public consultation on the best ways to tackle the emergency.