Committee to review Oxfordshire Net Zero Route Map and Action Plan and provide any comments or recommendations to the relevant Cabinet Member.
Senior Climate Action Officer briefed the committee on the progress of the PAZCO route map and action plan, which had been finalised.
· Contains detailed pathway modelling and route maps identifying carbon emission reductions needed to achieve net zero by 2050.
· Proposes joint actions to address the County’s direct emissions, the circular economy and some scope three.
· Reviewed and endorsed by Future Oxfordshire Partnership (FOP) on 20 March 2023.
· County led the consultation process
· There were 14 priority actions proposed, delivered by joint working in Oxfordshire. Advisory groups of the FOP will lead on areas of work, monitoring against targets and reporting back to FOP on a yearly basis.
· Five actions had been identified for prioritisation, particularly where work was already underway. 1. Building Decarbonisation and retrofit. 2. Local Area Energy Planning. 3. Electric Vehicle Infrastructure. 4. Land-based carbon sequestration model. 5. Green finance / green bonds. Funding sources being critical to continuing this work.
The action plan will draw on resources of the partners involved. Currently there were no financial commitments from Vale of White Horse on publication of this action plan, no financial commitment made yet, but details would need to emerge as to the various funding streams, as well as ownership and resourcing of particular actions.
After the presentation, committee discussed education and the role of educating future skilled workers / green skills gap, working with local colleges. The action plan was looking to influence here and work with County who have education responsibility.
Concern was raised by a member over the achievability of retrofitting, we needed to look at what was a realistic target, where some older houses were tricky to effectively retrofit. Team Leader explained that there were high ambitions in the original report and the new report follows the same trajectory to demonstrate what was needed to achieve climate targets.
Chair suggested recommending that where it was felt that a target was not close to achievable, whether buffers could be in place for other targets that were more achievable. Team Leader added that this was a live document that would be reviewed as time moves on, should some areas of work prove to be difficult to achieve.
Building regulations were raised as a concern, we needed stronger regulations to ensure that developers included air source heat pumps etc. Was there any new or strengthened regulations? Officers would find out and feedback to Councillor Webber. Planning authorities can request higher standards than the regulations allow for.
Page 82 in the pack – a member asked about the use of natural gas for district heating, considering that it could not be decarbonised. It was thought that it would be easier to upgrade in future, but not suggesting new gas heating.
Proposal for rooftop solar panels in the report states its for Oxford City, but it was confirmed it would be opened up to the districts. City was currently ahead for this, and it would be rolled out in due course.
It was confirmed that working groups would be prioritised first in order to allocate current resources.