BLAENAU Gwent has become the latest council to declare a climate emergency, while also approving a new strategy proposing to reduce the authority’s carbon footprint over the next decade.

The decarbonisation plan sets out how the authority plans to become carbon neutral by 2030.

A shift towards more home working and holding virtual council meetings are included in the plan, which was approved at a full council meeting on Thursday.

Since lockdown 80 per cent of Blaenau Gwent council staff have worked from home, compared to 11 per cent before restrictions were introduced.


This would save 1,540 tonnes of CO2 if continued over a year.

Michelle Morris, the council’s managing director, said the authority would look to take “a more balanced approach” between home and office working in the future.

“Our ambition should be that we do not just go back to how things were before,” Ms Morris said.

She said council staff would work towards coming back into the office, alongside more home working taking place.

Cllr Steve Thomas, leader of the council’s Labour group, warned against “putting our eggs in one basket” over the issue though.

“We must realise home working brings its own issues as well,” he said.

“There are well-being issues and there will be an effect on our town centres.”

Cllr John Morgan said the authority could learn from how pupils have carried out “blended learning”, an approach which combines online and traditional classroom teaching methods.

Cllr Dai Davies, deputy leader and executive member for regeneration and economic development said it was ‘vital’ to protect the environment and wellbeing of future generations.

“I have no doubt that this plan is one of the most important strategies that we will endorse in our lifetime as councillors, and is a pledge to the generations to come after us that we care now about the world they will live in,” he said.

Ms Morris added: “Whilst all our intentions have quite rightly been focused on Covid over recent months, there’s no doubt that climate change will be a far greater crisis in the future.

“We’re already taking a number of actions to reduce our carbon impact such as improving the energy efficiency of our schools; our public buildings and our street-lighting and also reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

“This plan will see us take a more strategic approach towards achieving carbon neutrality and will help us to prioritise work in a number of key areas of our operations which, with some changes, can make a significant contribution towards our carbon neutral aim.”