Today Southampton’s City Council passed a motion that commits to a shift to 100% clean energy by 2040.
This Labour motion puts Southampton in the bold club of British towns and cities that committed to 100% clean energy at the 2015 Paris World leaders summit. A shift of this kind by our cities is essential for the UK government to achieves its own commitments to tackle climate change.
The leader of Southampton’s Labour-led council, Simon Letts, said, “When he was leader of the Council, Alan Whitehead MP had an aspiration for Southampton as a ‘Sustainable City’. Our motion today updates and strengthens this commitment.
As the sunniest city in the UK, we need to make more use of roof spaces for solar power. A recent study by the University of Southampton suggests 25% of our energy needs could be met by roof top solar energy.
We also need to do some innovative thinking about how we can harvest energy from the tides, and we will be watching with interest how the schemes for tidal lagoons in Swansea and the Fylde coast develop.”
Alan Whitehead MP, added "I commend this motion, which sets a radical but achievable course for our city over the next twenty years so that we can live a clean life in Southampton. This is good for a variety of reasons – fewer carbon emissions, clean air, a healthy city, and it’s do-able. Using natural, renewable resources in and around the city – solar, tidal, green gas from waste – it can, with hard work, be achieved. It’s what this world has to do over the next fifty years, and I will be proud to think that Southampton got there first."
Polly Billington, the Director of UK100, the network of British cities who have committed to 100% clean energy, said “The leadership of cities like Southampton makes a difference: acting now will save money for residents, for the city and for the country, as investing now in clean energy will avert the heavy costs of doing so later. Southampton’s commitment also means the city can be in the lead of a new industrial revolution. “
UK100 is a highly ambitious network of local government leaders, which seeks to devise and implement plans for the transition to clean energy that are ambitious, cost effective and take the public and business with them.
Labour councillor, Dave Shields, said “The uncertain future we face requires bold ambition and imagination, so that our children can have a safe and secure inheritance. Therefore, we need to take local action that tackles climate change and also builds strong, resilient communities. This is, therefore, a pledge for jobs and economic growth.”
Dave Shields was also able to report that, largely due to improvements in the efficiency of Southampton’s street lighting and buildings rationalisation, the city is predicated to reach its target of a 40% reduction in CO2 two years ahead of schedule. This target was against a 2010/11 baseline.