THIS WEEK, the county of Carmarthenshire is decorated red, white and green in celebration of the Urdd Eisteddfod being hosted at Llandovery and today. At its stand on the Maes, Carmarthenshire County Council is focussed on our vision to become a net zero authority, and on the day to day actions that everyone can take in helping to combat the causes of climate change.
To harness public support, the Council has set up a pledge wall on its stand and is encouraging everybody, both residents of Sir Gâr and visitors to our beautiful county, to sign their pledge to reduce energy usage and cut the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through the generation of energy.
Carmarthenshire County Council is committed to playing its part in combating climate change, having unanimously resolved to declare a climate emergency in 2019. The council was the first local authority in Wales to adopt and publish a net zero commitment action plan and is committed to being a net zero carbon local authority by 2030.
The Council continues to press the Welsh and UK Governments to provide leadership, and the necessary support, and resources to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy and mitigate against the harmful impacts of climate change to protect our communities and the environment. We are committed to working with our partners, including the government, and the public sector across the Swansea bay city region, and the private and third sectors, to harness a range of opportunities to decarbonise our energy systems and create innovative solutions to achieve carbon savings.
Taking inspiration from our patron saint, Saint David, Carmarthenshire County Council is doing the small things ‘gwneud y pethau bychain’ across its estate to achieve energy efficiency, which include installing energy efficient lighting, insulation, swimming pool covers, garage speed doors, shut-down software on computers, TRV’s and much more.
Town and Community Council street lamps have also been upgraded to LED technology.
The Council has embarked on an innovative programme of work to install smart meters across its estates to provide half hourly energy data. The ability to accurately evaluate consumption data is essential to establish our carbon footprint and assess the impact of our energy projects.
100% of the Council’s gas meters have also been upgraded and the authority is now working to achieve the same target for its electricity meters by the summer, before turning its attention to upgrade all water meters.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proud to continue to invest its time, resources, and energy to improving the county’s environment and contribute to the global cause to mitigate against the impacts of climate change. Here are a few examples of how we are investing in our planet.
Carmarthen Learning Centre
Work has recently been completed at Carmarthen Learning Centre to make it more energy efficient and reduce its carbon emissions by 76%. Retrofit measures that include cavity wall insulation, double glazing, and roof improvements have been implemented to improve the heat retention of the building. The Learning Centre is no longer reliant on a gas supply as Solar Panels and an Air Source Heat Pump provide energy and heat to the building. Energy efficient LED lighting have also been installed.
Not only has the upgrade works reduced the building’s environmental impact, but it has also improved the comfort and experience for those who work and learn in the building.
To help improve Carmarthenshire’s Authority’s natural environment and increase biodiversity, the Council’s Rural Conservation Team and Property Department arranged the planting of over 8,000 native broadleaved trees to create 4.5 hectares of new woodland on Council owned land at Tregib (Llandeilo), Pendre (Kidwelly) and Maesdewi (Llandybie). Community planting days, including a day for pupils from Llandybie Primary School, were held at two of the locations.
Not only will the trees help tackle climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, the new woodlands will provide new habitats for wildlife and thus also contribute to addressing the nature emergency and become places where people can enjoy nature.
Tree Nursery Plans at our Day Centres
Plans have been put together by the Council’s Communities and Conservation teams, with the help of the Botanic Gardens, for a Tree Nursery and wildlife friendly grounds to be developed in Johnstown Day Centre. With financial support from the ‘Places for Nature’ funding scheme, the garden will include an accessible outdoor growing area, sensory garden, a woodland garden, a bog garden, meadow areas and an orchard. Although the project is taking place at the Johnstown centre, it will involve all day services through the collecting and planting of native seeds. There are also plans for a similar project to take place at Manor Road Day Centre. Not only will the garden improve the biodiversity of the area, but it will also provide a safe and accessible space for all to enjoy.
Over many years, across Britain, there has been a huge decline in insects which pollinate flowers and crops, also known as ‘pollinators’. Carmarthenshire County Council currently is looking at ways of managing grassland that will make it both richer in wildflowers and more attractive to pollinators. Simply by cutting less frequently, flowers that are already growing in the grass can flower and also support insects. There is no need to sow wildflower seed. Last summer, the Council experimented with this new approach, and it was well received by residents who enjoyed seeing the flower rich grasslands that appeared.
Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability, Cllr. Aled Vaughan Owen said: “This week, Wales’s attention is focused on the Urdd Eisteddfod and us, Carmarthenshire, as the host county. It’s an excellent opportunity, therefore, for us to show case our bold intentions to reduce carbon emissions across all aspects of the county in order to give our children and our children’s children a healthy and sustainable county.
“We cannot do this alone. It is no coincidence that we are asking people to support our cause and sign the pledge wall during the Urdd Eisteddfod, which is Wales’s largest youth festival, to focus people’s minds on why and for who we are doing this on behalf of.”