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Westmorland and Furness Council approves a £26m plan for 20mph zones, EV chargers, and more to hit net zero emissions by 2037.

Cumbria is set to become a beacon of sustainability with the Westmorland and Furness Council's recent approval of groundbreaking climate action measures. On January 23, the council sanctioned a series of initiatives aimed at drastically reducing carbon emissions, reflecting a robust commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2037.

Councillor Giles Archibald highlighted the gravity of climate change, labeling it a "high priority" for the council. This sentiment translated into tangible action as council members greenlit the carbon management strategy for 2024-2039 during a session at Barrow Town Hall. The Liberal Democrat-led authority, which had previously declared climate and biodiversity crises in 2022, is now taking decisive steps towards a greener future.

The strategy envisions a Cumbria where 20mph speed limit zones, an abundance of electric vehicle charging points, and increased greenery are the norms. These measures are part of a broader ambition to nullify direct emissions stemming from council buildings, plants, and vehicles, as well as indirect emissions linked to the council's energy consumption.

While the financial commitment is substantial, amounting to approximately £26m, the council's foresight predicts significant cost savings. An estimated £8.2m could be conserved annually upon the completion of these carbon reduction initiatives, a testament to the economic viability of sustainable practices.

The strategy's success hinges on the anticipated decarbonisation of the national grid, a crucial aspect acknowledged in council documents reviewed by the Local Democracy Reporting Service. Councillor Peter Thornton, cabinet member for highways and assets, optimistically noted the dual benefit of the plan, stating, "We're in a happy situation of being able to save carbon and money at the same time."

This ambitious endeavor doesn't stop at carbon management. The council also ratified the second segment of its climate change blueprint. 

Following initial steps like home retrofitting, solar farm construction, and the formulation of an electric vehicle infrastructure strategy, part two of the plan is set to revolutionize local transport. A hefty £1m has been allocated to foster sustainable transport schemes, emphasizing pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.

Moreover, the introduction of 20mph zones and electric vehicle chargers are poised to make significant strides in emission reduction. Complementary environmental efforts, such as tree planting and peatland restoration, further underscore the council's holistic approach to combating climate change.

Councillor Giles Archibald, the cabinet member for climate and biodiversity, commended this collective endeavor as "another milestone for our council and for Westmorland and Furness." He reiterated the council's unwavering dedication to climate action, underscoring the broader imperative of leadership in the journey towards a carbon-neutral future.

In a world increasingly conscious of environmental footprints, Cumbria's bold strides set a commendable precedent, marrying fiscal prudence with ecological stewardship in the pursuit of a sustainable tomorrow.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theater actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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