SOUTH Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has extended its partnership with with one of Cumbria's leading sustainability organisations in pursuit of its carbon reduction aims.

SLDC's Cabinet brokered a £100,000 funding agreement with Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) in 2020/21 and a £50,000 deal in 2021/22 to deliver the Low Carbon Communities in South Lakeland Initiative.

SLDC says the funding will enable CAfS to help the community group Ambleside Action for a Future deliver an 'exemplar project' to achieve a zero carbon Ambleside, including measures to help both businesses and residents across the district reduce their carbon footprint.

Cllr Dyan Jones, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Localism, said: "South Lakeland District Council's partnership with CAfS is a really good example of a trusted relationship that combines high-quality expertise with value for money.

"CAfS deliver in a strategic manner projects that complement our ambitions for delivering sustainability and community action at the heart of all our operations."

She added: "We have set a course to become carbon neutral and this contract enables this council to continue this work across the district.

"This demonstrates how despite austerity and shrinking budgets this council is committed to delivering on our promises, which is something to be proud of."

SLDC declared a climate emergency last year and has set a target to achieve carbon neutrality in its own operations by 2030, as well as supporting a target of carbon neutrality for Cumbria by 2037.

In addition to looking at its own operations, activities and sphere of influence, hitting this target would also involve commissioning work with communities and businesses to ensure that everyone plays their part in meeting the shared objectives.

‘Low Carbon Communities in South Lakeland' was set up as a trial project in 2019 to look at how communities as a whole could establish targets to become carbon neutral and work towards achieving them.

Ambleside was selected as an exemplar and the activities included bringing a community group together, establishing the carbon footprint and identifying scope for renewable energy on a town wide basis including a detailed survey of the potential for solar panels.

Low Carbon Communities in South Lakeland will be extended for another two years.

Work will include: working up options and managing feasibility work on new local renewable systems (in the Ambleside exemplar community); carbon Footprint and Carbon Reduction support for businesses and individuals; an events programme – for communities, businesses and those with an interest in low carbon buildings and to disseminate learning from the Ambleside experience; establishing a Community Knowledge Hub; and advising SLDC and Cumbria Leaders on Zero/Low Carbon transition.