THEY have nine years to go and Winchester civic chiefs say they are making good progress to help make the district carbon neutral by 2030.

The council undertook the aim last year to help tackle the climate crisis but not adding to the problem.

It aims to be carbon neutral itself by 2024 and its efforts were highlighted at the health and environment committee last Tuesday.

Achievements include planting 500 trees, cutting CO2 emission by 19 per cent by buying green electricity, installing 849m2 on the new Winchester Sport and Leisure Centre and spending £1m a year for ten years on reducing the carbon impact of council houses.

Sue Robbins, corporate head of engagement, said one positive thing to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic was many people’s realisation that local services were better; car travel had declined so pollution in the city centre as reported by the Chronicle in May;

The council is working on a solar project but details, including its location, are currently under wraps.

Another future project is a new decked car park for the Vaultex site off Barfield Close. Planning permission has been granted for a car park of 135 spaces but the committee was told that the business case for a multi-storey, 300+ car park has been approved by the EM3 LEP with £5.6m set aside for its design, planning and construction.

Plans for more electric vehicle charging points are also being drawn up.

City councillors highlighted the inclusion of a wind farm on a list of actions, but Naomi Wise, sustainability officer at the council, said that was only a ‘vision’ and there are no firm plans.

The only proposal for a major wind farm on fa

The council is looking at ways of cuttings its staff’s reliance on cars. Some 76 per cent use their cars to get to work. A survey revealed that relatively few live in Winchester but most commute from Eastleigh and Southampton and Romsey. A fifth have a daily commute of more than 30 miles.

But remote working caused by the pandemic had seen an 80 per cent cut in miles travelled and CO2 emitted. It dropped from 54 tonnes a month in January to 10 tonnes in June.