Luton Borough Council declares 'climate emergency'

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image captionLuton Borough Council has been "working alongside" Extinction Rebellion in a bid to become carbon neutral by 2040

A town has declared a climate emergency and activated a plan to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Luton Borough Council hopes to cut carbon emissions from homes and cars as well as London Luton Airport.

Labour councillor Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for the environment, said the council could charge cars for driving into the town centre.

Mr Shaw said the council had been "working alongside" Extinction Rebellion in compiling the plan.

"The airport has been told that by 2040 they've got to be carbon neutral and we expect them to come up with their own plan," he said.

image copyrightLondon Luton Airport
image captionLondon Luton Airport will be expected to become carbon neutral by 2040

At a meeting on Monday, councillors agreed to spend £200,000 a year for the next five years on improving insulation in council-owned properties.

The council will also aim to develop "more cycle tracks" and "encourage kids to get on their bikes going to school".

Mr Shaw said the council was looking at setting up its own bus company to implement routes which are not provided by other bus companies.

A "workplace driving scheme", which would charge cars driving into the town, could fund the new bus company, Mr Shaw said.

"Where there's hundreds of cars coming into one place we can say we want £2 per car a week off you to pay for this bus company," he said.

Mr Shaw said the climate change activist movement Extinction Rebellion had attended several meetings about the "action plan".

"We have had Extinction Rebellion working alongside us preparing the plan and they are going to be a part of future plans when we look at how we can save energy in schools," he said.

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