Letter to the Editor: I refer to reports of the Council spending £250,000 and employing staff in pursuit of their obsession with ‘Net Zero’.

This is over and above their considerable existing budget.

Whilst one can understand and appreciate the Council reducing its internal consumption of energy and getting what it uses from renewable sources, it is the height of folly to presume that the District Council has any power to influence energy use of those who live in the District and also to source all energy used in the Forest of Dean from renewable sources.

I had difficulty getting a meaningful response from the Council regarding the extent to which it had succeeded so far in reducing energy use and sourcing renewable energy for residents of the District. I also failed to get a response on the amount spent by the Council over the years towards its objectives of ‘Net Zero’.

A recent Workshop by the Forest Council said that ‘since November 2018, hundreds of local authorities, parish and town councils have passed declarations of a Climate Emergency and in July 2019 the UK’s target to achieve nets zero carbon emissions by 2050 were enshrined in law. 

The Climate Emergency has received unprecedented levels of media and public attention in the past year, and awareness and a desire for change remains high’. Such declarations are just empty words.

Whist appreciating the objectives of our Council, it is not clear whether or not the money spent over the years has achieved much and whether the new proposals for staff and expenditure of £250,000 will make any difference.

There are also doubts over the success of UK Government policies to achieve net zero by 2050.

One other thing to bear in mind is that the UK is no longer a manufacturing economy. 

Much of our industrial carbon emissions have been taken over by other countries that make the things we use. 

Energy use in transport, heating and leisure have gone up. 

Recent changes to extend gas and oil use beyond 2030 bring into question whether fossil fuels used for domestic heating and transport will be wholly replaced by renewables by 2050.

Strictly speaking, a small District Council has no role in achieving Net Zero except perhaps to act as a source of information and also encouraging residents to manage their energy use wisely within Government regulations.

Venk Shenoi, Blaisdon