Environmental strategy sets out blueprint for borough's green future

Boosting recycling rates is part of the environmental strategy
Boosting recycling rates is part of the environmental strategy

Councillors will consider plans drawn up by the town hall to tackle environmental concerns recently raised by borough residents.

Wigan Council’s draft environmental strategy will be put to elected representatives on the Confident Places scrutiny committee this evening (Wednesday).

The council also wants to protect green spaces such as Borsdane Wood

The council also wants to protect green spaces such as Borsdane Wood

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The report looks at issues ranging from largely cosmetic complaints such as the amount of littering in Wigan to colossal tasks such as moving towards making the entire borough carbon neutral.

Other key issues highlighted nclude addressing single-use plastic, increasing recycling, improving air quality, reducing congrestion and improving the natural environment while also maintaining it in a better way.

The draft strategy has been drawn up based on the responses of around 6,000 residents in a listening exercise as part of The Deal 2030.

Climate issues have climbed steadily up the news and political agendas in recent months as global environmental problems have been highlighted and Wigan Council this month followed other town halls in declaring a climate emergency.

But the strategy also says the local authority cannot solve all the environmental issues the borough faces alone.

The report concludes: “We believe that our draft environment strategy strikes the right balance between the emerging national and regional and local priorities. We also understand that the environment directorate or indeed the council cannot single-handedly address the important environmental issues we now face.

“It is therefore important that we take a key leadership role and create the required momentum to help tackle these important issues.”

Councillors will be asked for their views on the environmental aims before detailed work plans are created.

The strategy aims to make the borough free of litter by 2030 and also tackle carbon footprints, which younger residents have expressed particular concerns about.

It is hoped the borough will be carbon neutral by 2038 and recycling 65 per cent of its waste by 2035, with single-use plastic gone by 2025 and air quality compliance met the year after next.

Town centres should have more recycling bins and traffic needs to be reduced by making more public transport options available, with journeys also made smoother by filling in potholes.

It says it will also promote flexible working to reduce the amount of journeys its own staff make and continue to provide safe, accessible routes for walking and cycling.