City Council launches 2007 budget

February 19, 2007 5:11 PM

Investing to reduce climate change

Ian Nimmo-Smith

Councillor Ian Nimmo-Smith

Leader of the City Council, Coun Ian Nimmo-Smith, has announced plans for further investment in reducing Cambridge 's carbon footprint. He commented:

"The City Council is already working to reduce the carbon emissions created by both Council activities and in the city as a whole. Half of Council vehicles run on lower carbon Liquefied Petroleum Gas and we're planning trials of an electric vehicle and one partly run by hydrogen derived from landfill gases. We have already implemented reductions in energy use in Council buildings which are saving over 160 tonnes of CO2 per year.

"In the wider city, our Local Plan, which spells out rules for new developments, requires any development larger than 10 dwellings to provide at last 10% of total energy requirements on site from renewable energy sources where viable. We will be working with the University and Addenbrooke's to help them to reduce their carbon emissions.

"However there is more that we can and should do. We are investing in a climate change officer to implement the Council's climate change strategy and to make sure that climate change is kept at the forefront of all City Council activities. We need to look at how we live in our homes, how we travel to work and how our homes are built

"Our climate change officer will be taking a serious Stern Report style look at how much carbon is being produced in Cambridge and what steps need to be taken to reduce it. Councils all over the country are giving out energy saving light-bulbs but serious action on climate change will take a lot more than that."

Investing in a cleaner Cambridge

Investment in an additional Ranger post will continue to help improve recycling rates across the city and to tackle those households which have failed to adjust to the alternate weekly collections and recycling.

Executive City Councillor for Environmental Services, Colin Rosenstiel, commented:

"Recycling rates in Cambridge have seen a significant improvement since we introduced door step plastic recycling and alternate weekly collections. We are also working to bring doorstep recycling to those living in harder to reach areas such as flats, work which the Labour group intends to scrap.

"However some households are still struggling. We are helping those who need assistance with the scheme but for the few who are still failing to engage with the system, we are stepping up persuasive action. This ranger post is crucial to providing both the support to help those struggling and the first stage of enforcement where necessary."

Investing in the future of Cambridge

The future growth of Cambridge is one of the major issues facing the city over the next few years. Executive City Councillor for Planning and Transport said:

"The growth agenda is placing increasingly heavy demands on Council staff and the development control service. We are investing in a Major Sites Officer to deal with the influx of major planning applications arriving at the Council. This will ensure that other planning services are not compromised by the city's growth.

"This investment will also make sure that Cambridge receives the money it deserves from developers to fund new facilities for new and existing city residents. A new post will work with developers before they submit their plans to ensure that community facilities are built in at the very beginning. We need the growth areas to work for Cambridge not work for the developers."

Investing in economic prosperity and financial security

Cambridge City Council is investing in the economic prosperity of the city and to secure the future finances of the Council and reduce the burden on Council tax payers.

Under ambitious plans to reinvigorate Peas Hill and Wheeler Street areas, part of the ground floor of the Guildhall will be transformed into a restaurant and a new tourist information centre will be created. These steps make better public use of a prime city-centre location and will generate a future valuable income stream.

In parallel the City Council, together with its partner Arlington Property Investors, is exploring the further development of The Lion Yard Centre, in conjunction with the introduction of the important link through to the Grand Arcade.

Councillor Rod Cantrill, Executive City Councillor for Customer Services and Resources, commented:

"The Guildhall is in far too valuable a location to be simply taken up by bureaucracy . We should be making much better use of this area for local residents and Council tax payers. Under these plans, we'll be bringing the Guildhall into public use as well as taking pressure off Council tax payers.

"Investment in Lion Yard and the Grand Arcade will pay dividends in the future by securing the council's future rental stream as well as providing a significant improvement in facilities for Cambridge citizens. This is a further illustration of our commitment to protect and enhance the economic dynamism of Cambridge"

Through these investments and through the £1 million of efficiency savings we are making this year we are working to make Cambridge less susceptible to the uncertainties of Government financing."

The City Council is also investing in a new customer access scheme to simplify how citizens' access all council functions

The Liberal Democrat budget proposals will be debated in Full Council on Thursday.

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