Climate Action Plan 23 Progress Report
I welcome the first Progress Report on Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2023, as a promising start to 2023: Of 36 actions due for delivery across the transport, agriculture, electricity, buildings, industry and land use sectors, in the first 3 months of this year, 27 were delivered on time.
We know we are playing catch up from previous years and any delays in delivery must be urgently overcome to meet legally binding emissions reduction targets at EU and national levels. Based on this Progress Report, I believe there is lots of scope to be hopeful.
In my own Department of Agriculture, for example, we are on target for 91% of actions which includes the opening of the ACRES scheme. This allows farmers to receive funding for, among other things, the planting of cover crops to help stop soil erosion, improving carbon sequestration on mineral grasslands, low input peat soils management and tree and hedgerow planting.
There are many wins here for rural areas, from opportunities to work remotely thanks to the expansion of the network of coworking hubs, to the funding for the regeneration of our town centres through town plans and measures to reclaim vacant buildings. Each local authority now has funding for a Town Centre First Officer.
And to get around? The expansion of rural bus and hackney services is a key climate action measure. I see so much potential in climate action, from job generation, clean air to improved quality of life. It's time to embrace it, and stop demonising the messengers.
What I most welcome is that we are regularly monitoring and evaluating our progress in a transparent and accessible way. Climate action must be a whole of society effort, as it impacts on every aspect of life and I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the climate action plan.