Wiltshire Council climate change plan aims to develop eco-careers

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image captionRetro-fitting homes could be a way to create green jobs and cut carbon emissions

Carbon emissions can be reduced by giving people the skills to make buildings eco-friendly and expanding recycling projects, a council has said.

Wiltshire Council is working with colleges and businesses to address a current skills shortage.

Portfolio holder Nick Botterill said the council would not achieve its targets unless it tackled the issue.

The authority is seeking views on its Climate Strategy, which plans to meet carbon targets between 2022 and 2027.

Mr Botterill added: "We feel there's a missed opportunity to get buildings up and running with renewable electricity.

'Handful of people'

"There are some enormous great sheds which are on industrial parks and new ones going up at Junction 17 (of the M4).

"We feel there are opportunities to install solar panels and the latest technology on those and we are looking to see how we can stimulate that directly as a local authority."

He estimates there are 200,000 homes in Wiltshire which need to be retro-fitted with solar panels and eco-boilers but "very, very few" trained to carry out the work.

"There are literally a handful of people who have any knowledge about for instance, fitting air source heat pumps.

"The transition will not happen and we will not achieve these targets unless we have a skilled workforce."

He added an advisory group was looking at "exploring opportunities" in this area.

Another goal is to increase recycling rates.

"At our household recycling centres bicycles are pulled out and they're sent to an organisation which works with a prison where the inmates refurbish the bikes and those bikes are sold on.

"With white goods we've got an agreement with a Devizes based charity KFR and they take items such as washing machines, dryers, cookers and furniture.

"Thirty-nine tonnes has been collected since June 2020.

"It works and it's the sort of thing we'd like to replicate elsewhere," he added.

The draft climate change plan is open for consultation until mid-October.

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