Collaboration is the key to tackling climate change and Guildford Borough Council confirmed full commitment to making our borough greener together, at a meeting of the newly formed Climate Change and Innovation Board (CCIB) meeting yesterday.

Leader of the Council Cllr Caroline Reeves said: ‘We declared a Climate Change emergency on 23 July joining Surrey County Council and other local authorities in a mission to be carbon neutral. Since 2007 this Council has invested over £8million on energy saving projects including insulation, boiler replacements, LED lighting in all car parks, air source heat pumps and solar PV panels.’

She explained: ‘We have brought Climate Change and Innovation together in this unique board because we feel the two are strongly interdependent in impacting on the cause and effects of climate change. There are a substantial number of innovative companies in the borough and innovation is a key part of how we do business in Guildford. Much of this work can have a positive influence on climate change.’

Chair of the CCIB, Cllr Gordon Jackson commented: ‘The new board will develop an overall strategy for the reduction of carbon emissions within the Council and the borough. It will drive how we move forward and make our lives in Guildford more environmentally sustainable together. For the first time we have invited representatives from key external partners to join the group, we currently have members from the Guildford Environmental Forum and University of Surrey.

He added: ‘We have agreed our forward plan and areas of focus and each includes a fundamental element of public engagement, education and encouraging behavioural change.’

The key priorities of the CCIB are:

• Buildings and planning
• Transport
• Trees and green spaces
• Waste
• Energy
• Procurement

Adrian Thomson from the Guildford Environmental Forum confirmed they were committed to helping make the borough and beyond a more sustainable place by educating, cutting energy use, reducing ecological footprints, helping wildlife and tackling climate change. He said: ‘We are delighted to join the Council’s CCIB to help shape the future of Guildford, making it a greener town by informing and working with residents, businesses and visitors.’

Earlier this year the Council launched an Innovation Strategy to embrace a digital future and reflect our changing society in order to support the local economy, improve the lives of residents and improve council services.

Professor G Q Max Lu AO DL FAA FTSE, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey champions a collaborative approach to making a difference through innovation and climate change. He said: ‘Innovation for sustainability is vital to shaping a better future around the globe. Collaboration will be the key to success. One of Surrey’s major strengths is working with businesses and partners of all descriptions and I’m delighted we already work closely with the Council on leading edge projects from sustainability and clean air to driverless cars and supporting infrastructure. This kind of collaboration maximises resources and expertise and produces great results for everyone.’