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Council puts fighting climate change at the top of its agenda

Published: 11 September 2020

Council Leader Phil Bialyk Council Leader Phil Bialyk

Exeter’s ambition of creating a Net Zero Carbon city by 2030 will be at the heart of everything the Council does going forward, the Leader pledged today.

Council Leader Phil Bialyk has created a new Lead Councillor role for Net Zero Exeter 2030, a portfolio which will be filled by the Deputy Leader Rachel Sutton.

Changes to the roles of other Lead Councillors have also been revealed, as well as changes to the way some Council departments are structured.

The changes are designed to ensure the city is in the best possible position to continue its economic recovery from the Coronavirus crisis, while ensuring that reducing carbon emissions remains at the very top of the agenda.

The Council’s corporate priorities are:

  • Net Zero Exeter 2030
  • Supporting active and healthy lifestyles
  • Building great neighbourhoods
  • Providing value-for-money services
  • Leading a well-run council

Cllr Bialyk said: “Today I’m announcing that we are freshening up the responsibilities of our Lead Councillors and the Council, to make sure we are going in the right direction as the city continues its recovery from COVID. This means making some changes to our corporate priorities and director responsibilities.

“Last year we declared a Climate Emergency here in Exeter and we have been doing a lot of work with our partners bringing forward a lot of policy papers. Now we have to start putting some of that into action if we are to achieve a Net Zero Carbon Exeter by 2030.”

He said a portfolio dedicated to lowering carbon emissions and fighting climate change has been created for the first time.  A new team at the Council will be set up to support Net Zero.

Cllr Bialyk said: “The Deputy Leader will be responsible for delivering our plans for a Carbon Neutral city by 2030. We’ve got a lot of plans – the buildings that we are creating here in Exeter are to Passivhaus standards, reducing carbon by up to 90 per cent and reducing the bills for households.

“We are bringing forward 500 council houses in the coming years all built to that standard.”

Cllr Bialyk said the Council would be at the forefront of retrofitting existing properties across the city to be highly energy efficient and low carbon.

He said: “I am very excited about the fact that we are developing a retrofit company, which will retrofit our housing stock to make them highly energy efficient and create a big saving on fuel bills, and we will be commercialising that.

“It will also be there for those of us who live in private dwellings and want to take advantage of it. It will take some time, but I think it is a very exciting development for us and is something that we need to do. It will bring clean growth to Exeter, good skilled jobs and new apprenticeships – this is the technology of the future.”

Other changes announced include a new portfolio, Transformation & Environment, which between now and May will be looking at areas including the medium term financial plan, urban anti-social behaviour and enforcement.

Culture and Communities have been brought together under one portfolio area. Leisure, culture and tourism services have also come together under one directorate. 

The Lead Councillors and their portfolios are:

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