26,000 streetlights replaced with LED lights
The last streetlight in the two-year, £10 million scheme, was installed in March 2022 by the council’s contractor Enerveo - formerly SSE Enterprise.
With the switch the LED streetlights complete, the LED-driven lighting network will deliver 1,300 fewer tonnes of carbon and result in energy savings of more than three million kWh each year.
In total, throughout the project, 25,037 lanterns were replaced as well as 10,019 streetlight columns. Replacing so many of the old sodium bulbs means there will not only be a 60% energy reduction but also an annual saving on the borough’s energy of around half a million pounds, based on energy costs at the time of completion. The ultra-reliable LED units should also see a reduction in maintenance and repair costs.
New grant schemes to make Wirral’s homes greener
Residents living in areas where homes are older and less energy efficient have been able to access help to lower their bills whilst keeping their homes warm and being more environmentally friendly after accessing funding through Green Homes Grants and Sustainable Warmth Funding.
The council’s housing teams are working to make home improvement grants more accessible to residents and will be applying for different funding on behalf of residents. Find out more about Green Homes Grants and Sustainable Warmth Funding.
From April 2021, we will only be using electricity from renewable sources for all council-owned offices, streetlights and buildings (including children’s centres and libraries). This change is in line with our recently published Environment and Climate Emergency Policy and its commitment to reduce energy consumption and switch to greener energy.
This change will reduce our carbon emissions by over 5,000 tonnes – which is equal to about 39% of our carbon emissions.
Green electricity will cost the us 0.32% more than it would to continue using non-renewable electricity. The additional cost will be funded through our Climate Emergency budget.
A longer-term solution for maintaining a renewable energy source continues to be investigated.
Council support annual No Mow May campaign
Wirral Council continues to support a national month-long initiative, after supporting for the first time in 2021, that promotes the welfare of bees, butterflies and the wider environment.
The annual ‘No Mow May’ campaign, which is led by the conservation charity Plantlife, encourages people to lock up their lawnmowers for the month of May and let wildflowers and other important pollinators shine through.
The aims of the ‘No Mow May’ campaign align closely with many aspects of Wirral Council’s long-term commitment to tackling the climate emergency locally, protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of the area and prioritising nature-based solutions to many of the challenges of climate change. To find out more about grass cutting in Wirral, visit wirral.gov.uk/grasscutting
Dock Branch Park
The park will bring the former, disused Dock Branch railway line in Birkenhead to life, with the first phase creating a linear pedestrian and cycle friendly park between Tower Road and Argyle Street. It will also provide a new transport visitor attraction operated by National Museums Liverpool which links to the existing Wirral Transport Museum.
Preparatory work ahead of the construction of the West Kirby flood wall is continuing through June with the removal of some of the memorial benches along South Parade.
Construction work on the flood wall is due to commence end June.
4,000 trees planted for The Queen's Green Canopy
More than 4,000 new trees have been planted in Wirral and dedicated to The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative across six different planting events.
The Queen’s Green Canopy is a tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and invites groups, organisations and people across the UK to plant a tree during the official planting season.
Jubilee recognition for Dibbinsdale
Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve has been chosen as part of a nationwide network of 70 Ancient Woodlands to be dedicated to The Queen in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee.
The Queen’s Green Canopy announced the network of Ancient Woodlands and Ancient Trees across the United Kingdom which will form part of the Ancient Canopy to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service. The initiative aims to raise awareness of treasured habitats and the importance of conserving them for future generations.
Dibbinsdale is Wirral’s largest ancient woodland and is not only classified as a Local Nature Reserve – in partnership with the adjacent Brotherton Park – it is also an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Wirral awarded 30 Green Flag Awards for 2021
208 Green Flags have been awarded to parks and green spaces in the North West for 2020/21, with 30 of those awarded to Wirral alone – that’s 14% of the Green Flags in the region.
All 30 of last year’s winners have been awarded with a Green Flag to celebrate the dedication of parks and countryside staff, as well as Friends Groups and members of the public who volunteer their time and effort, to make improvements to these important areas.
The international awards recognise good quality parks and green spaces around the borough and each of the sites must have good environmental standards, be well maintained and provide clean and safe visitor facilities to be honoured with a Green Flag.
New signs identify pollinator havens
As part of Wirral’s Climate Emergency response, certain verges across the borough will not be cut, to encourage long grasses and wildflowers to grow and create the perfect environment for wildlife and wildflowers. Grass verges which are left to grow provide the best environment for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and other flies.
Depending on the location of a verge, pollinators are prioritised in various ways, including:
- planting pollinator friendly plants
- reduced weed removal in the area of pollinator sites
- not mowing grass verges when wildflowers of significance are in season
Trees and woodland strategy lauded by campaign groups
Groups, including the Tree Council and local organisations, have come together under the umbrella banner of ‘Wirral Initiative on Trees’ to contribute to and give their endorsement for Wirral’s Tree and Hedgerow Strategy.
Nationally, Friends of the Earth and DEFRA have also cited Wirral’s Tree Strategy as a visionary strategy and national exemplar for other authorities to follow.
Read what the different organisations had to say by visiting Wirral View.
New tree inspection equipment
In November 2020 new financial investment was made in state-of-the-art detection equipment to identify decay in Wirral’s trees. This makes it easier to find those that are dangerous or could pose a risk to the public.
Around £12,000 is being invested in an ‘Arborsonic’ system which is used to accurately display decay levels within the tree. This means it’s easier to identify dangerous or unstable trees so they can be safely removed but also, ensures healthy trees can be maintained.
Wirral recognised as a bee champion
The borough has been recognised as a bee and pollinator champion for the work undertaken on the grasslands at Wirral Country Park.
Over the last few years, a significant amount of work has been undertaken at Wirral Country Park within the Meadow Restoration Project and this was recognised with a 2020 Bees’ Needs Champions Awards.
The meadows are not only home to bees and wildlife but a locally rare wildflower, Dyers Greenweed. Our Wirral Country Park Rangers have partnered up with The North West Rare Plant Initiative to harvest some of the seeds so more can be grown around the North West.
Find out more about how the meadows are looked after by watching ranger Frank mow the meadows for their autumn trim.
We continue to look for alternative ways to treat weeds as more trials take place. In line with our commitment to phase out glyphosate use across the borough, these further trials follow the manual scraping and other test treatments that were undertaken in 2020 by our weed maintenance contractor, Man Coed.
Managing trees and woodland
Wirral now has a comprehensive new strategy for managing trees and woodland in the borough for the next 10 years and beyond.
The aim of the strategy is to actively protect and increase Wirral’s urban forest and to plant 21,000 new trees every year for the next decade.
Trees are our natural ‘armour’ against climate change. They capture carbon dioxide and store it in wood and other growth, removing it from the atmosphere.
By the time the new trees are fully grown, Wirral’s tree canopy will have doubled.
Active Travel campaign
A new campaign is asking people in Wirral to ‘Think Outside The Box’ and see if there is a different way that they could make some of their short journeys.
Even making small changes, for example by walking or cycling to school even just once a week, or when they are popping to the shops, people will be able to see the difference it can make to their health, their wallet and where they live. Longer trips can also incorporate active travel, such as by parking further away and walking the last part of the journey or by park and ride – doing the last part of your commute by train or bus.
Tips and information can be found by visiting wirral.gov.uk/leavethecar
Wirral launch ‘School Streets’ scheme to improve safety
A project, that is intended to help make the school run safer, healthier and happier for children, families and the wider community by closing roads at key times, is launched in Wirral.
A School Street is a stretch of road outside a school that is temporarily closed to traffic during drop-off and pick-up times. Some vehicles are exempt, but it will reduce the build-up of traffic outside the school gates and create a predominantly car-free zone to improve safety and air quality by encouraging walking, scooting or cycling.
Greenleas Primary School was the first school to launch the scheme in November 2021. Other schools signed up to the scheme will follow and launch in 2022.
Residents and parents can share their thoughts on Have Your Say.
Wirral Walking Festival
The annual event, co-ordinated by Wirral Sports Development and Active Wirral, throughout May highlights the range of walks that take place in the peninsula, from short strolls to energetic rambles.
The walks are all completely free, suit all ages and abilities and many are accessible to people with limited mobility.
Whether residents are wanting to join a walk in their local park, get involved with a walking group or take a self-guided walk alone, there is something for everyone.
View the range of self-guided walks that can be enjoyed throughout May and all year round on the Visit Wirral website.
Cycle route on Fender Lane
As part of the council’s Active Travel programme, funded by central government, this project aims to make it safer and easier for cyclists to use the busy cross-borough route.
The scheme connects riders to existing cycle schemes - Reeds Lane Cycle Link and the River Birkett Trail – as well as to National Cycle Route 56 at the Bidston end.
53 electric vehicles charging points installed around the borough
53 on-street electric vehicle charging points have been installed in parts of Wallasey, Woodchurch and Hoylake to make it easier for owners of electric or hybrid vehicles to stay charged up and to encourage more people to consider moving away from petrol and diesel.
Electric vehicle charging points are free for the first 12 months from installation (from October 2021 to October 2022).
The locations of the units were chosen based on a survey carried out in 2019 that asked residents where they would most like to see electric vehicle charging points.
New cycling and walking facilities along New Chester Road
Pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy better access to places like the Wirral International Business Park and Croft Retail Park as a significant active travel scheme, A41 Eastham cycleway, is completed in August 2021.
The project saw an off-road walking and cycle path created along New Chester Road, between Eastham Village Road and junction 5 of the M53 motorway at Hooton.
The 1.2km route connects with the existing shared cycleway and walkway that runs north from Eastham Village Road towards Bromborough.
Investment in eCargo bikes
Five ‘try before you buy’ electric cargo bikes are to be bought after the council made a bid for funding. Wirral was just one of 18 successful local authorities and will received almost £40,000 from the Energy Savings Trust.
The scheme will allow the eCargo bikes to be trialled by and hired by local businesses and educational establishments. The aim is to rapidly reduce the environmental impact of existing delivery vehicle fleets, including enabling a reduction in the number of journeys undertaken by motorised vehicles.
New features fitted on cycle routes for extra protection for cyclists
Extra safety measures have been fitted to the existing cycle lane at New Chester Road and will be installed when the new cycle lane at Fender Lane in Moreton in installed to provide extra protection to cyclists so they can feel safer using the dedicated lanes.
Funded by the Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund, schemes such as these are designed to make it easier for those who want to travel around Wirral on their bike - making cyclists feel more confident sharing the road with other vehicles and making access around the borough easier by joining with other cycle lanes.
Improvements to Tower Road walking and cycling links
In February 2021 Tower Road reopened to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Linking to existing cycling and walking routes, the improvements made at Tower Road will make travelling around the borough on foot or bike accessible to more residents and support the wider regeneration of the area.
Wirral Council recognised as first Carbon Literate Council in Merseyside, three years after declaring a Climate Emergency.
When Wirral Council declared an Environment and Climate Emergency in 2019 it pledged action to ensure council operations would be net carbon zero by 2030. Since 2019, more than 223 council representative – including elected members, managers and staff have received Carbon Literacy training. Climate Literacy training is key to help employees understand the council’s ambitions and ensure they have the awareness to make changes in their own roles. It is helping the council to develop and deliver their Climate Emergency Action Plan, targeting the reduction of carbon emissions throughout all service areas.
The council has been achieved Bronze status as a Carbon Literate Organisation. Awarded by the Carbon Literacy Trust, this international recognition for commitment to carbon reduction shows that the council is prioritising action to tackle the climate crisis.
Carbon literacy is defined as ‘an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis’.
Wirral welcomed the COP26 battle bus ahead of conference
The Planet Mark zero carbon, fully electric “Battle Bus” headed to the Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton on Friday 1 October 2021 to offer practical net zero advice to businesses across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) ahead of the COP26 conference.
The event celebrated local efforts to create greener and fairer communities in the LCR and explored the ways in which everyone can make a difference when it comes to climate change.
Hosted by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), businesses had the opportunity to find out more about why achieving net zero carbon is so important as well as hearing from speakers including Farm Urban, End Furniture Poverty and FRC Group, the Zero Carbon Research Institute and Energy Projects Plus about the importance the role of SMEs will play in achieving the North West’s ambitions to become the UK’s first carbon neutral region.
Cool 2 strategy to address the climate emergency
In summer 2020 the council endorsed the ambitious Cool 2 strategy to address the climate emergency and is developing its own action plan in support.
This sets ambitious targets for Wirral as a whole to eliminate climate damaging pollution completely within the next 20 years. It means local CO2 emissions need to reduce by three and a half times more each year than has been achieved so far.
The council is aiming to eliminate its own emissions within the next 10 years to set a leading example.
New environment policy launched for Wirral
A new policy was agreed by Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee on 16 March 2020 which will enable Wirral Council to achieve its ambitious but achievable target to be net carbon neutral by 2030.
The policy which will change the way the council operates, makes decisions, and provides services. It includes commitments to:
- Reduce emissions
- The re-introduction of carbon budget reporting
- Enhancing biodiversity
- Investment in facilities and infrastructure
- Tree planting
- Future-proofing Wirral through coastal and flood management and nature-based solutions
- Measuring progress
Wirral Council 2025 Plan
The Wirral Council 2025 Plan underlines our ambitions concerning the environment and climate emergency.
The authority’s Chief Executive, directors, and managers have responsibility to incorporate environment and climate emergency issues into business planning and day-to-day procedures and practices in dialogue with staff.
Councillors have responsibility for shaping policy, taking decisions, and scrutinising progress. All elected members and employees have a role in helping to put this policy into practice.
Wirral Council seeks to progress its ambitions by ensuring that consideration of the environment and climate emergency is integral to its function, decision-making, service delivery and resource allocation:
- by learning from and working constructively with others
- by showing leadership and encouraging wider action.
- embed sustainable decision making and ways of working in all areas of council activity
- monitor progress on the impact of the Council’s actions and seek to achieve continual improvement
- provide training and briefings for councillors and employees about the environment and climate emergency
- communicate progress regularly and publicly
- encourage learning and innovation within and between organisations
- support positive engagement with partner organisations and residents
- develop and deliver the Council’s Environment and Climate Emergency Action Plan
- support the delivery of the ‘Cool2’ Wirral Climate Change Strategy
- deliver the Wirral Tree Woodland and Hedgerow Strategy
- further the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity through the development of a local nature recovery strategy for Wirral
- develop a Wirral walking and cycling implementation plan
- help deliver the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCR CA) transport plan objectives to decarbonise travel and the LCRCA local journeys strategy
- develop a Wirral electric vehicle strategy
- review and update this policy on an annual basis from the date of implementation