THE first stage of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s plan to tackle the climate emergency has been revealed.

Borough bosses agreed to declare a climate emergency last year and pledged to come up with a plan to boost the borough’s green credentials.

And now the initial steps in the plan have been outlined in a report to go before the executive board when it meets next week.

Executive member for finance and resources, Cllr Vicky McGurk, said: “We cannot do this alone.

“We will hold a Citizens’ Inquiry to identify actions that individuals, communities, organisations and decision-makers could take and we will work with other bodies in the public, private and voluntary sector to learn what they may already be doing to tackle climate change.

“We know too, that Blackburn with Darwen is just a small part of the problem and we need action at national and international level to help us reach our carbon neutral target. The Council will lobby Government for the support it needs.

“The plan will evolve to reflect actions being taken across the borough and we will report progress annually to full council.”

Cllr Jane Oates has been appointed climate change champion, procurement processes are being reviewed and the council’s local plan is being updated.

A citizen’s inquiry into the climate emergency is scheduled for Spring 2020.

This involves a representative group of local residents in discussing, hearing evidence and making proposals that will help inform the council’s action plan and the everyday actions of residents, businesses and partners.

According to the action plan, the council will look to take steps to facilitate improvement of homes in the borough to reduce emissions and tackle fuel poverty.

Work will also be carried out to exploit the opportunities arising from the move to a low carbon economy.

As part of the plan, council bosses will explore opportunities to invest in clean energy and efficiency measures throughout the council estate and support renewable energy generation in the borough.

They also hope to reduce the waste generated in the borough, increase recycling and maximise the benefit from residual waste.

A pledge has been made to reduce emissions from transport and increase active travel, while the council will work with landowners to plant more trees.

And bosses say they will work with borough residents and schools to raise awareness of the issue.

Cllr McGurk added implementation of the Action Plan will be overseen by an officer working group.

The group will report to the council’s management board through the director of growth and development, Martin Kelly.

Interim progress reports will be made to the executive member for finance and governance with annual updates provided to the executive board.

Cllr McGurk added: "Blackburn with Darwen Council has long been aware of climate change and taken steps to cut emissions and adapt to more extreme weather.

"But, the consequences of global temperature rising above 1.5°C are so severe that preventing it from happening must be humanity’s number one priority.

"The council recognises it is part of the problem and needs to transform how it operates and change mind-sets if it is to redress the balance between climate-related considerations and other, often competing, priorities."