Cardiff residents called on to join the ‘One Planet’ challenge

Cardiff residents called on to join the ‘One Planet’ challenge

An ambitious new plan designed to drive Cardiff towards becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030 has been unveiled by Cardiff Council.

‘One Planet Cardiff’ sets out the Council’s response to the climate change emergency and calls upon businesses and residents to join forces with the council to make the lifestyle changes required, if Wales’ capital is to become a truly ‘Green’ and sustainable city over the next ten years.

The strategy, which will go to Cardiff Council’s Cabinet for approval on Thursday, October 15, launches in the same month as the council switches on its new 9MW solar farm.

Built on the old Lamby Way landfill site, the solar farm – which is equivalent in size to 20 Principality Stadium pitches – will offset almost 3,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). It also has the ability to generate enough Green energy to power approximately 2,900 homes every year for 35 years.

The solar farm is just one of a number of projects the council has brought to fruition to help tackle the Climate Emergency. The One Planet strategy documents several others which will go to consultation, including:

  • A new district heating scheme;
  • Increasing tree canopy coverage in the city by 25%;
  • Ending the council’s use of single-use plastics;
  • Reopening the city centre’s canals as part of a sustainable water management scheme;
  • A farm park at Forest Farm to produce food for the city; and
  • A sustainable food market in Cardiff market

 

Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council said: “In recent years, Cardiff Council has brought forward a range of initiatives to reduce its Carbon Footprint. Projects such as installing solar-energy systems on Council homes, introducing LED Street lighting on the city’s road network, improving energy efficiency in Council buildings, and generating 1.3 Megawatts of solar energy in our schools and public buildings have all helped reduce the Council’s direct Carbon Emissions by 45% since 2005. In the same time period, Cardiff’s carbon emissions have reduced in the domestic sector by 38% and in the industrial and commercial sector by 55%.

“Despite this success, we need to do more. That’s why we declared a Climate Emergency last year, and why we’re publishing this strategy today so we can deliver our vision of being carbon neutral by 2030. The need for change is right here, right now. Carrying on as we are is not a viable option. It’s not sustainable. We are all going to have to think and act differently. The council will do everything it can to drive this agenda forward, but all of us as individuals now also need to look at how we live, and all of us need to start making choices about what legacy we want to leave for our children.

“In some ways the pandemic has changed how many of us are living our lives now. More of us are working from home, we are finding ways to adapt and to get by without using our cars every day. We have begun to live more locally, using our local shops and nearby attractions. It has begun a process of re-evaluation, and it’s this process, this shift, that I believe we must use to help shape the way we think about our future. Any post-pandemic economic revival – an economic revival which will be sorely needed – must be one heavily focussed on green technologies. It should be based on creating jobs that help build and design a sustainable future for our city. As a council we have a role to play encouraging and driving these job opportunities. This is what the ‘One Planet’ strategy is all about – looking at ways we can design, deliver and safeguard the future for all of us. I urge the people of Cardiff to take part in this consultation and to join us, and help us, as we seek to make Cardiff carbon neutral by 2030.”

Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and the Environment, Cllr Michael Michael, said: “The statistics show that Cardiff is currently a three-planet city. This means, if everyone in the world consumed natural resources and generated carbon dioxide at the rate we do in Cardiff, then we would need the resources of three planets to enable us to carry on as we do. Quite clearly something has to give. I want people to join us on this journey as we aim to build a better, greener future.

“This document builds on the great ground we have covered so far in driving the city towards a carbon neutral future, but highlights that there is still a long way to go.

“If we are to achieve our ambitions then we need everyone in Cardiff to join us. This is about creating a brighter, sustainable future for our children and our children’s children.”

Cardiff Council’s aim is to become a ‘One Planet’ city by 2030. It will do that by focussing on the following 7 key themes.

Housing & the Built Environment

The Council has already brought 9,500 energy-efficient measures into houses across the city, and has delivered award-winning, energy-efficient Council house developments. It has also also installed energy-efficient boilers and other energy-saving measures in many of our core buildings, and achieved a 5% carbon reduction per year in our own direct activities by reducing the amount of energy we use. In our “10-Day Turn Down” campaign earlier this year 42 of our schools managed to reduce their electricity consumption by an average of 6% just through more careful management of energy.

The key projects that are being put forward in this sector are:

  • A large-scale housing re-fit;
  • Delivering 1,500 high-quality, sustainable homes in wards across the city;
  • Delivering a zero-carbon, pilot, housing estate project at the old Eastern High School site;
  • Developing a blueprint for all new schools so they are built to a carbon neutral standard; and
  • Putting climate change at the heart of the new Local Development Plan (LDP) and planning guidance

Energy

The Council has already implemented a hydroelectric scheme at Radyr Weir, and has supported a number of new innovations in renewable energy, including portable solar panel technologies that can provide clean energy for events and other “pop-up” activities, and an innovative heating system that is providing renewable heat drawn from shallow ground water at Grangetown Nursery school. The Council is continuing to support the British Geological Survey to map out this available heat source under the city, looking for hot spots which could be used to substitute gas heating in nearby buildings.

14,000 new LED street lights have been installed across the road network. This has reduced the amount of energy they use by 60% and more are planned.

The Council’s pension fund has divested £200m away from fossil fuel companies into a fund which tracks the Low Carbon Index. Plans are in place to divert the remaining sums of money in the pension fund by 2025.

The Council will also continue to work with universities and researchers on new ideas to further reduce C02emissions in the city.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

  • The new Solar Farm at the former Lamby Way landfill site. This facility will generategreen energy, equivalent to the typical demand needed to power approximately 2,900 homes every year, for the next 35 years;
  • The delivery of the first phase of Cardiff’s new District Heating System which will use heat produced by Viridor’s Energy Recovery Facility at Trident Park. This project will provide low-carbon heat to large buildings and properties in Cardiff Bay. In energy terms alone it will significantly improve the efficiency of the waste facility and provide up to 80% CO2 reduction in customer buildings, compared to their current gas heating systems.

Transport

The Council recently set out a transport vision for the city for the next 10 years. Its Transport White Paper was published inJanuary. The transport strategy sets out projects to improve public transport, as well as improvements to routes and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians. Some of these projects are now being brought forward as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, with two new pop up cycleways planned to be in place by the end of this year.

 

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

 

  • A cross city train-tram service connecting Creigiau in the west of the city with St Mellons in the east;
  • A Cardiff circle tram-line which will connect Radyr and Coryton, by extending the existing city line service;
  • The completion of the transport interchange on the former Marland House site;
  • The development of a cross-city bus network, by creating bus priority lanes to key destinations in the city;
  • New park & ride facilities at Junction 32 and 33 off the M4;
  • Progressing with a business case for a congestion charge in the city;
  • Remodelling roads in the city centre to improve routes for buses, cyclists and pedestrians;
  • The development of an integrated-cycle network through wards across the city’s boundary, which in the main will be separated from traffic.

 

Green infrastructure and biodiversity

Cardiff is fortunate to have a substantial amount of parkland and green spaces in the city centre. Bute Park’s trees play an invaluable role in absorbing carbon dioxide (C02). The Council has a number of partnerships in place to increase the space in parkland for pollinators; is assessing tree cover in the city and looking at ways to expand tree cover both on council and private land; and is working on raising awareness among school children about nature and biodiversity.

The ‘Giving Nature a Home’ project has connected 11,399 children to nature through a free outreach programme, available to all Cardiff’s schools. Green habitat corridors have been established and an ‘i-tree survey’ is underway to assess the tree cover in the city.

Other measures have included installing a ‘green wall’ which absorbs C02outside Tredegerville Church in Wales Primary school, and there are plans to roll out similar schemes in schools across the city.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

  • Working with partners including the city’s schools, to encourage a major tree planting exercise in the city;
  • Investigations of the feasibility of a local tree farm to supply this need;
  • Building and developing environmental volunteer networks;
  • Delivering enhanced green/blue biodiverse habitats through Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SuDs); and
  • Implementing the recommendations of the ‘i-tree’ survey on tree cover in the city to increase tree cover from 19% to 25%.

 

Developing low-cost, healthy foods

While it is accepted that Cardiff will never be able to be self-sufficient in its food production, there are clear opportunities to increase the amount of food that we grow locally. Residents can also play their part by choosing healthier and more sustainable food to eat.

The key projects being put forward in this sector for consideration are:

  • A hydroponics growing unit will be set up in Bute Park using a shipping container which can grow the equivalent of 3.5 acres of food;
  • Revamping Cardiff Market into a sustainable and local food market;
  • Increasing local food production by making council-owned land available for community groups to grow food;
  • Using the planning process to plan for space to grow local food;
  • Increasing commercial opportunities for growing local food in the city on new housing developments;
  • Exploring the possibility of a ‘food park’, which would bring together advocates and interested parties for local food growing into one location; and
  • Looking at how our food procurement processes can be adjusted to bring more support for a sustainable food sector.

 

Waste Management

Since 2001, the city’s recycling and composting rate has increased from 4% up to 58%, with Welsh Government targets in place to reach 70% by 2025. Cardiff is currently the best core city for recycling and measures are in place to reach Welsh Government’s challenging targets.

A partnership has been set up with five local authorities to treat waste which cannot be easily recycled to produce green energy and further recycling materials.

The city’s food waste is processed at an Anaerobic Digestion plant to produce green energy and a fertiliser which can be used on agricultural land. This means the Council currently isn’t sending any waste to landfill.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

  • Reforming our kerbside waste collections by increasing the quality of the recycling collected using kerbside sorting – specifically the glass stream;
  • Continuing roll out of the Pink Sticker educational campaign, designed to reduce contamination in both the recycling and composting waste streams;
  • Improving customer service and the controls at the city’s recycling centres to maximise the amount of recycling recovered;
  • Exploring the options of a new residential and commercial recycling centre in the north of the city to accommodate further growth when it is required;
  • Exploring new models to manage green garden waste;
  • Delivering a new Reuse Centre by working with the third sector;
  • Removing all single-use plastics from council venues, with plans to replace the green bags provided to residents for recycling with reusable sacks; and
  • Working with Welsh Government to deliver the Circular Economy Strategy.

 

Water

As a result of climate change, more extreme weather patterns are being seen across the globe. This increases the likelihood of flooding and drought. Measures need to be put in place to decelerate the impacts of climate change, preventing the twin threats Cardiff faces from flash flooding and rising sea levels.

The award-winning Greener Grangetown project uses the latest sustainable drainage techniques (SuDs) to catch, clean, and divert rain water directly into the river Taff. This project is the first ever to be retrofitted into a community and ensures that over 42,000m2of surface water – the equivalent of 10 football pitches – is being removed from the waste water network. This project also has substantive savings in energy that would otherwise be used to pump the water into the sewage works.

The Rhiwbina Flood Defence project has also been installed which protects 200 homes and businesses from flooding and works have also been carried out at Waterloo gardens.

The key projects being put forward in this sector are:

  • Ensuring that all developments which are 100m2or bigger have a sustainable drainage system in place to manage on-site surface water. This includes the new cycleways;
  • Implementing river flood defences on the river mouth and lower estuary of the River Rhymney, protecting properties and amenities as well as ensuring that the former landfill site is protected from erosion;
  • Opening up Churchill Way Canal Dock Feeder and restoring the historic city centre waterway. This will manage surface water in a more sustainable way and increase the opportunity for more trees and biodiversity alongside the route; and
  • Make drinking water refill stations available across the city to avoid the need for single-use plastic bottles.

The council is calling upon the public and business to feedback on the draft strategy to help it shape its final delivery plans. A five-month period of consultation is due to open after Cabinet takes the report on Thursday afternoon, October 15.

A series of more detailed engagement events will also be held with stakeholders throughout the consultation period. These will focus on selected topics and on gathering the views of a wide variety of stakeholder groups, including young people and schools.

The full One Strategy document and report can be read here