News

Residents asked to contribute to Council plans to reduce the borough’s carbon footprint

Local people are being asked to give feedback on Swindon Borough Councils ambitious Carbon Reduction Strategy, which looks to make Swindon Borough Council operations carbon neutral by 2030, along with wider plans to lead the entire borough towards net zero by 2050, delivering on Government targets.

The consultation, which can be accessed by visiting Swindon Borough Councils website will be open from Wednesday 18 November 2020 until Friday 8 January 2021.

Residents can give their feedback on the plans and submit their own ideas which will feed into an implementation plan for 2021 and will set out what the Council plans to do to reach the objectives in the strategy over the coming years.

The final strategy is due to go before Full Council for a decision in early 2021.

The Carbon Reduction Strategy forms part of Swindon Borough Councils wider leadership role to improve the environment. So far more than £15m has already been invested in low carbon interventions over recent years including the construction of solar energy farms, the installation of electric vehicle charging points, the use of LED street lights and investment in electric vehicles amongst others.

Residents will be able to comment on how Swindon Borough Councils plans to reduce its own carbon footprint across the Borough building on work which has included installing LED lighting at STEAM and significantly reducing the amount of paper used for printing. New initiatives will take into account vehicle emissions, the amount of electricity used to power offices and other buildings, street lighting, business travel and heating.

The strategy includes a recent analysis of the Borough’s overall sources of carbon emissions. This shows road travel, residential buildings and institutional buildings and facilities produce over two thirds of the current 1.5m tonnes of CO2 emission currently produced by the Borough on a yearly basis.

Swindon Borough Council will be looking to use all of its available powers to influence, educate and support residents and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. However, residents and businesses will need to play a key role in reducing their own carbon emissions if the Borough is to come close to net zero before 2050.

The consultation will be asking residents to provide their input and ideas on how Swindon Borough Council can support the wider community in reaching net zero in the coming years.

The consultation can be accessed at www.swindon.gov.uk/carbonreductionstrategy

Councillor Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “Protecting our environment is a key commitment for this Council and this ambitious strategy sets out how we plan to meet our pledge to become carbon neutral as an organisation and also support the wider borough to reduce its carbon emissions.

“The Council will not be able to reduce Swindon’s total carbon emissions by itself so it is very important residents and businesses are engaged and we need people to come on this journey with us.

“I would encourage everyone to read the strategy and provide their feedback to help us develop these important plans that will lead our long-term approach to reach net zero.

“I would also urge everyone to start to think about the way you travel, work and live and how you can reduce your carbon footprint. We will all need to make a change if we want to protect our environment.”

Swindon Borough Council Media Release – Two Road Improvement Schemes

Swindon Borough Council Media Release:

Two road improvement schemes to make it easier for people to walk and cycle around town have been completed 🚶🚴‍♀️
Surface improvement work has been carried out on the Old Town Railway Path, which runs from Signal Way in Old Town to the bottom of Kingshill Road, and on Kingsdown Lane between Highworth Road (South Marston Business Park) and Blunsdon (Turnpike Road).
We’re keen to make it as easy as possible for people to use sustainable forms of transport to get about.

Here’s the full story 👉 https://bit.ly/2TLQovc
📸: Cllr Maureen Penny at the Old Town Railway Path and a tractor working on Kingsdown Lane.

Don’t Be Alarmed – Removal of Dovecote

Don’t Be Alarmed
Engineers have recently inspected our landmark Dovecote at Sevenfields and declared that it is in imminent danger of collapse due to safety issues it has now been removed.  Councillor Keith Smith has been contacted by local residents who are keen to have it replaced.   He will be asking for the opinion of fellow councillors in the next few weeks.   In the meantime he is hoping to put together a team of volunteers.  If you have practical skills, fundraising skills or just boundless enthusiasm and you have not yet contacted me then drop me an email at keith.smith@highworthtowncouncil.gov.uk .

Families in Swindon who may be experiencing financial hardship over half-term are being urged to contact Swindon Borough Council for help.

Families in Swindon who may be experiencing financial hardship over half-term are being urged to contact Swindon Borough Council for help. The Council is using its Emergency Assistance Fund to help vulnerable children in food poverty, who are eligible for free school meals, over the school holidays. It is the latest support measure, which has been made available to help those struggling in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) gave the Council a grant of £227,827 in order to help vulnerable residents in its communities. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Council and a number of local organisations have been providing food to those ‘shielding’ and to those unable to afford to pay for food. Over the last six months alone, the Council’s Emergency Assistance Fund has helped 291 people, while the Council has distributed 625 free food parcels to residents who could not afford to pay for their food and had no-one to look after them. The Government grant was split between a number of local groups including Swindon Food Collective, Swindon Scrapstore, Swindon Night Shelter, Swindon Harbour Project and Swindon Carers Centre. Councillor Russell Holland, Deputy Leader of Swindon Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Commercialisation and Education and Skills, said: “We have always provided help to those who need it most and, unfortunately, the pandemic has left many people needing the Council’s support. “We know many of our residents are struggling financially during these challenging times, which is why we are keen to offer help particularly to our vulnerable children who are eligible for free school meals. “We have a great community here in Swindon and many charities and organisations have already stepped up to offer support, but the Council does have funds available for anyone, to help people in need.

“If anyone requires help I strongly encourage them to contact the Council who will be able to signpost to organisations who can help and provide support directly as well.” For more information on the Council’s Emergency Assistance Fund and to make a claim, call 01793 445500.

Swindon Borough Cabinet approves plans for Cultural Quarter in Swindon Town Centre

Swindon Borough Cabinet approves plans for Cultural Quarter in Swindon Town Centre

 

 

Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed plans to build a brand new Cultural Quarter in the town centre.

Cabinet members met last night (Wed) to discuss the proposals and gave the go-ahead to building the Cultural Quarter on the Kimmerfields regeneration site, located between the railway station and opposite the former Debenhams building on Fleming Way.

The Council has spent the past year working closely with key partners in Swindon’s arts, cultural and business sectors, meticulously preparing plans to create a new Cultural Quarter to help revitalise the town centre and boost the town’s cultural offer.

The plans for the Cultural Quarter are expected to come to fruition over the next 10 years and include, among other things, a new theatre, dance centre, digital media and arts hub and new facilities to display Swindon’s nationally-significant art collection.

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, said: “I am delighted that so many people have agreed that this positive vision is a credible, realistic and deliverable approach for improving Swindon town centre over the next 10 years.

“My Cabinet colleagues and I are determined to see a new Wyvern Theatre built by 2030 with a 1,200 capacity – double the number of seats today – so our town can attract the big national and regional shows and performers. We also support the creation of a wider Cultural Quarter that includes a new museum, art gallery, dance centre and digital studio.

“It won’t be the Council paying for the estimated £80m cost, so the hard work now begins. Over the next six months the Council will work closely with partners in the arts sector, and funding bodies like the Arts Council, to prepare the full financial business case and an investment prospectus to make this vision one step closer to reality.”

Mark Powell, Artistic Director at Swindon’s Prime Theatre, said: “Too often Swindon’s young people are disadvantaged by lack of experience or aspiration. Every week in Swindon schools, I see how art awakens imagination, education and empowerment.

“The town is making a bold commitment to future generations with this plan. Swindon won’t just be a place to live and work, but a place to dream and achieve as well.”

The Cultural Quarter plans enjoy cross-party support on the Council.

The proposals are very much in their infancy and residents should not expect to see any building work on site for a while yet. But the Council believes in being bold and brave in its ambitions for Swindon, and to spearhead town centre regeneration.

Picture captions: Artist’s impressions of the Cultural Quarter. Credit: Make Architects

Swindon Borough Council turns Swindon’s traffic lights green

Swindon Borough Council turns Swindon’s traffic lights green

Swindon’s traffic lights have been switched to LEDs as the Council moves towards a greener future.

Sixty-seven of Swindon’s traffic light sites have been upgraded from halogen bulbs to low power environmentally friendly LEDs. The upgrade will save Swindon Borough Council more than £33,000 in energy and maintenance costs per year and will reduce the Council’s annual carbon footprint by 66 tons of carbon dioxide.

The LEDs have a lower fault rate than their halogen predecessors, which will reduce the level of maintenance required for their upkeep and provide a more reliable experience for motorists and pedestrians.

The £193,000 scheme was funded by the Council through its capital budget for 2020/21. The scheme will take just under six years to repay and is expected to start realising savings by the end of 2020.

The new LEDs have been retrofitted into the existing traffic lights, which has reduced the cost, time on site, program length and waste generated by the scheme.

In total, 458 traffic light heads were upgraded, which is approximately 1,374 new LED red, amber and green light fittings. The traffic signal controllers at all 67 sites have also been upgraded to ensure they are compatible with the new LEDs.

There are currently 206 traffic light sites in Swindon and 151 sites now operate with LEDs. The remaining 55 halogen bulb sites are due to be replaced, refurbished, altered or removed through other council programmes.

Any traffic light sites that have been refurbished within the last 10 years will already have LEDs.

Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Maintenance and Waste Services, said: “This is a glowing example of one of the many things the Council is doing to help reach carbon neutrality by 2030. So far we’ve already spent £15m on low carbon interventions to improve our local environment as part of our Carbon Reduction Strategy.

“This scheme, combined with our LED street lighting programme, solar energy farms and investment in electrical vehicles, amongst others, will help us deliver on government targets.

“I’m also very pleased that the scheme has caused little to no disruption for our residents and I hope that, going forward, our traffic lights provide a more reliable and safer experience for motorists and pedestrians on Swindon’s roads.”

School Safety update

Over the next five years Swindon Borough Council will be improving road safety and congestion issues outside Swindon’s schools.
Between now and March 2021, we’ll be working closely with 15 schools to introduce a range of measures which could include:

• new road signs and road markings
• speed limit changes
• waiting restrictions and cycling facilities