A town in Suffolk is thought to be the first in the UK to launch a fully engineered guide for residents and businesses on how to cut their carbon emissions to Net Zero.
The Net Zero Leiston (NZL) road map follows two years of work by Leiston Together and the town council supported by the local authorities and engineering and energy experts from across the globe. It outlines an achievable, although challenging, plan for Leiston to reach Net Zero by around 2030 through a phased approach of credible, robust, and available techniques.
The report examines three main contributors to carbon emissions: buildings, transport, and agriculture. To reduce carbon emissions from buildings NZL highlights measures like installing solar panels and heat pumps to power homes cleanly as well as smart meters to help manage energy use. For transport measures such as encouraging the use of electric vehicles and bikes are explored. In agriculture, the plan looks at measures such as rewilding at scale locally.
The group came together, through conversations between Leiston Together, the town council, and EDF, under the view that it was not clear how a rural community could tackle its carbon emissions and contribute to reaching Net Zero; the point when the amount of greenhouse gas produced is no more than the amount removed.
Caroline Rinder, Leiston Town Council, said: “We all know we have a climate emergency and want to do our bit to tackle it. This project has demonstrated that reaching Net Zero is not straightforward and that communities need all the support available to help them work towards the Government’s ambition of Net Zero by 2050. It has required a talented, committed, and professional collection of partners who have the expertise and global knowledge to make this all possible. We hope that by using their experience, and by developing this Technical Manual, we can help fellow communities move a few steps further along their own Net Zero journey.”
Net Zero Leiston has worked with bankability advisors Ikigai Capital to ensure that public funding is capitalized upon in addition to creating sustainable business models for private investment.
Helena Anderson, the Ikigai co-founder, said: “A socially just energy transition can only be achieved if we are able to deliver bankable, replicable structures to crowd in low-cost private sector capital at scale – working together with our consortium partners, We have created a new model for evaluation and shaping the investability of technologies and asset classes in the context of delivering Net Zero Leiston. It is a model that can be extrapolated to towns across the UK. We look forward to discussing with enlightened investors how to make this vision a reality”.
Alongside EDF and Ikigai, the consortium also includes Leiston Town Council, Leiston Together, Sizewell C, East Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council, Atkins, Opergy, and Energy Systems Catapult.
In the build-up to this publication, the project has:
a) Developed pilot schemes such as low cost, low carbon energy tariffs and improving their energy efficiency performance, such as roof and cavity wall insulation and boilers;
b) Worked with schools to raise awareness of climate change and what we can do to tackle it and proudly supported Alde Valley Academy on the journey to being named Suffolk’s greenest school;
c) Worked with local landmarks, such as the Leiston Long Shop Museum, to help them reach their own Net Zero ambitions. The Long Shop was recently awarded a Gold Level Carbon Charter for its efforts, and the award is in part due to support provided by NZL.
The project now turns to the implementation phase of the project which will involve extensive community engagement to ensure the whole community is involved in the vision of reaching Net Zero. The project is already looking for collaborations to help with the community’s ultimate goal.
Russ Rainger, East Suffolk Councillor for Aldeburgh and Leiston Ward, added to the Town Clerk’s comments: “I’m really pleased to support the publication of this Leiston Net Zero Route Map. It represents a lot of hard work by a dedicated team of enthusiastic stakeholders led by Leiston Town Council. The team has identified tangible actions to combat the effect of climate change now and for future generations. The route map has been designed to be easy for businesses and individuals to follow and fits well with East Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council environmental targets. This project represents a real opportunity to protect our future by delivering climate targets and tackling fuel poverty in the process.”
The Technical Manual can be requested on the Net Zero Leiston Website. www.netzeroleiston.info