Decision details

Carbon Capture through Nature

Decision Maker: Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Purpose:

Initial reasons for a review of this work include what are the opportunities and emerging issues regarding sites and how the county council is forming partnerships on a regional and local scale. Further scoping will take place through the agenda setting process.

Decisions:

County Councillor Shaun Turner, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Debbie King, Head of Environment and Climate Change, and Andrew Mullaney, Director of Environment and Planning presented a report to the committee containing an update on the council's activity to capture carbon through nature projects, including tree planting, peatland restoration and trials of biochar to store carbon in soil. A presentation was also provided to complement the report. A copy of which is attached to the minutes. The committee expressed its appreciation to see Lancashire at the forefront of new projects including the use of biochar.

 

In response to queries from the committee, officers responded as follows:

 

·  Concerns regarding the sole use of virgin felled trees in the making of biochar were made. Officers responded that much of the wood used came from land management practices such as bush clearances and trees that had already been planned for felling. It was also noted that Lancashire had a high volume of Ash Dieback cases that would provide a considerable amount of virgin timber that would need to be disposed of. There was a preference to recycle this for the purposes of increasing carbon capture.

·  It was confirmed that more community projects would be taking place, including further work with schools and community groups on tree planting. A request was made for further information to be circulated to all councillors to assist with finding opportunities in their divisions.

·  On whether partnerships with extensive landowners were being explored to encourage tree planting to mitigate water runoff and prevent flooding, it was reported that whilst the council was working with multiple environment organisations, district councils, and parish and town councils, opportunities to work with United Utilities and other private landowners and businesses were being explored as well. United Utilities were already involved in the peatland restoration projects as a landowner and had matched funded contributions with the council.

·  It was recognised that under current legislation green waste streams from across the county could not be turned into biochar. In considering this point it was suggested that the Cabinet Member be asked to challenge the legislation.  If positive results were proven from the biochar test schemes, it was confirmed there would be a push for change in legislation.

 

Resolved: That the Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, following the outcomes of the biochar project gives consideration to challenging the UK waste regulatory framework regarding the use of green waste for the production of biochar.

Corporate Priorities : Protecting our environment;

Divisions Affected: (All Divisions);

Contact: Gary Halsall Email: gary.halsall@lancashire.gov.uk Tel: (01772) 536989, Debbie King Email: debbie.king@lancashire.gov.uk Tel: 01772 534195.

Report author: Gary Halsall

Date of decision: 25/04/2024

Decided at meeting: 25/04/2024 - Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: