Priority: The Environment

The environment banner

Summary

We know our role is to help preserve and protect our Environment for future generations. The Council has now agreed a Net Zero plan which will focus efforts to reduce our environmental impact even further whilst still enabling us to deliver sustainable growth alongside maintaining top-quartile condition for our roads and pavements. We will continue to invest in environmental measures that protect our natural environment, enhance our biodiversity and reduce our carbon footprint.

Vision and Objectives

Worcestershire has an ideal blend of urban and rural environments. 85% of our County is classed as rural, with urban areas having good access to parks, open spaces and public rights of way. Worcestershire includes two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; The Cotswolds and Malvern Hills. There is easy access to the countryside wherever you live in the County, promoting outdoor activities which support healthy lifestyles and attracts visitors from across the country.
 

Info graphic saving that the County Council has halved its emissions in the last decade and committed to a Net Zero Plan

Our urban areas, with their rich fabric and strong historic and cultural offers, provide a good quality of life and encourage people to live in, work and visit our County. From the splendour of Worcester Cathedral to the quaint beauty of Bewdley’s riverbanks, our towns and city have something for everyone.

Alongside maintaining our roads and pavements in top quartile condition, moving forwards, we know our role is to help preserve and protect our environment for future generations. The County Council has already halved our emissions over the last decade. Striving to go further we have now agreed a Net Zero plan which will focus our efforts to reduce our environmental impact even further. We will continue to invest in environmental measures that protect our natural environment, enhance our biodiversity and reduce our carbon footprint. We continue to work with partners to protect our communities from the adverse impacts of extreme weather, including flooding, and ensure future developments meet national and local standards and are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

A Greener Future

Our Net Zero Carbon Plan outlines our commitment to reducing the Council’s carbon emissions across several areas, including emissions from household waste disposal, council buildings, street lighting and through partnership working with contractors. We are working with key partners such as the NHS, the University and ‘blue-light’ services to understand our respective net zero strategies and how we can best support each other achieve our green ambitions. 

Our investment in transport infrastructure has included provision of Worcestershire Parkway, the first new rail station in the County for 100 years, and major improvements to Kidderminster Station. We have a programme to enhance and increase car and cycle parking at stations to meet demand, including new EV charging points. We have secured additional funding for walking and cycling in the County, including plans for Kepax and Hampton bridges, and we’re working in partnership with our Borough, City and District councils to secure additional resources through external funding. With this brings the benefit of reducing emissions whilst also contributing to healthier, active lifestyles. We are also investing in the 4,600km of public rights of way we maintain to encourage people to explore the beauty Worcestershire has to offer.

Info graphic saying that 150,000 trees to be planted over 5 years

 

 To enhance our Environment, we are planting 150,000 trees across the County creating new woodlands whilst also being a pollinator friendly and environmentally conscious Council when working with suppliers and contractors. We are now purchasing 100% green electricity and accelerating our programme to convert our streetlights to efficient LED bulbs. We are also providing advice and grants to help businesses and organisations across the County cut carbon emissions, improve biodiversity and develop and grow low and zero carbon products and services. We recognise the scale of the net zero challenge, and we will work closely with our partners and residents to achieve our collective ambitions

Resilience Transport Network

We are committed to improving all modes of transport to the detriment of none. Having good quality roads and pavements is a top priority for our residents and businesses. We will continue to invest in these striving for national top-quartile performance in the condition of our roads and pavements. Recognising the impact of flooding, we will keep investing in flood prevention and mitigation on our highway network.

We are investing in our roads to reduce congestion as this has been identified by residents as another top priority for them. This includes the delivery of the major projects to improve the Southern Link Road in Worcester and A38 in Bromsgrove alongside local improvements in Kidderminster, the A38 at Upton upon-Severn, Bromsgrove Town Centre and Pershore Northern Link Road. These will reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability. 

Our strategic investment sites will also support electric vehicle charging and active travel, helping to provide more travel choices. We will also work with Midlands Connect and National Highways to improve the A46 in Evesham. 

Alongside our investment in roads and pavements we will continue to improve our public transport network across the County. This includes works already delivered and planned to improve rail station accessibility at Blakedown, Droitwich and Alvechurch which will support a multi-modal transport offer for residents and businesses alike. This will be supported by our strategic investment in Shrub Hill and Redditch stations and the continued growth of Worcestershire Parkway Station.

Worcestershire aspires to deliver better local bus routes with Ultra-low and Zero Emission Buses within the County. We will continue to support local bus services to ensure our towns and villages remain connected and explore demand responsive travel opportunities to run these more efficiently and effectively for users.

Working with the Environment Agency we will deliver more schemes to prevent and mitigate the impact of flooding, including large schemes at Tenbury Wells and Bewdley. 

Reducing our Waste

Our aim is to encourage residents to reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and compost more. By doing this we will use less raw materials and save energy whilst protecting natural resources and reducing carbon emissions. All of this will help us achieve our ambition of being a Net Zero Council by 2050. New measures introduced through the national Resources and Waste Strategy and new Environment Act 2021 will help transition to a more circular economy and increase waste and resource efficiency. This means major changes to the way in which waste is created in the first place, with new measures to reduce packaging and the way waste is collected, disposed of and treated.

Over the last five years we have made significant progress by diverting waste which can’t be recycled to our local Energy from Waste plant rather than to landfill. The facility produces enough electricity to power approximately 32,000 homes. We are committed to working with residents and businesses to reduce the amount of waste produced and increase the amount we re-use, recycle and compost.

As a growing economy, with more businesses and homes forecast, we know the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring new developments support a sustainable future. We will encourage and grow our communities’ capacity to reduce and recycle waste through the right support and provision.

How we will measure this

  • Reduce kg of waste produced per person
  • Improve the condition of our roads and pavements to be amongst the best nationally
  • Additional increase in the number of homes and businesses protected from flooding
  • Reduce Council’s carbon emissions towards Net Zero by 2050
  • Cut journey times and improve journey time reliability along key rail and road routes.