THE Forest Council is set to receive a £250,000 grant to fund new staff who will help make further progress towards Net Zero.

The funding is being provided by independent charity Thirty Percy to employ two new part-time officers to work with communities on the issue, and produce a report on carbon reduction pathways.

A council spokesperson said the officers will have a role in supporting a renewed ‘climate partnership’ within the district, and will work closely with the Climate team to prioritise certain areas of carbon reduction, and the Community Wellbeing team to work with residents and community groups.

Cabinet member for Climate Emergency, Chris McFarling, explained: “Tackling the climate emergency head-on is one of our number one priorities and we’re absolutely committed to doing all that we can to reach net zero by 2030. 

“As a district built on our local community, we know the vital part that local groups and individuals have to play in helping us reach our climate targets. However, we recognise that these groups and individuals may lack the know-how and resources to make the necessary changes without our help. 

“By building on our community links we’ll be listening to, signposting, advising and supporting our communities on how they can save energy, cut carbon and improve their environmental impact. For example, by retrofitting buildings, travelling more sustainably or working together towards more sustainably produced local food.

“I also eagerly anticipate the outcome of the carbon reduction pathways work, which will enable us to better understand where we need to focus our efforts and how we can work with our communities and other partners in doing so.

“Overall, I’m thrilled to see this funding being provided, which will help build stronger climate-based connections with the local community, so that we can all play a part in saving the planet together. ”

The council say since declaring a Climate Emergency in 2018, it has “remained committed” to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

“In lieu of this, innovative ways of reaching this goal have been and are being explored. This has resulted in the forging of new partnerships such as with Thirty Percy”, the spokesperson added.

The Thirty Percy foundation makes grants to prompt and advance the education of the public in subjects relating to sustainable development and the protection, enhancement and rehabilitation of the environment.

The agreed £250,000 will be split as follows:

- One Part-time officer, based in the Council’s Climate Change team, with a budget of £80k.

- One Part-time officer, based in the Council’s Community Wellbeing team, with a budget of £80k.

- One part-time officer, based with Forest Voluntary Action Forum, overseen by the Community Wellbeing Manager, via a Service Level Agreement, with a budget of £40k.

- Procurement of a carbon reduction pathways report to establish current and likely future emissions for different sectors and sources in the Forest, and the means of their reduction, with a budget of £50k.

The new team members will be recruited and work will commence once a final grant agreement has been signed by both parties.