HEREFORDSHIRECouncil has announced that it has been ranked as the top performing local authority in the West Midlands on sustainability action for the third year in a row. 

This follows the local authority completing the Sustainability West Midlands (SWM) benchmarking.

The results, which were announced last week, give Herefordshire an overall score of 91 per cent and demonstrate that Herefordshire Council is making excellent progress on the various aspects of sustainability associated with the West Midlands ‘Sustainability Roadmap to 2030’.

The benchmarking by members of SWM is undertaken on an annual basis via answers to 80 questions on various aspects of the Roadmap themes. 

It aims to help local authorities to self-assess their progress on sustainability and to more quickly identify where they should take further action. 

Benchmarking can also help supporting organisations, such as national government (BEIS, Defra etc.), the Local Government Association (LGA), The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to better understand where there support would be most welcomed.

Herefordshire Council’s benchmarking was undertaken by the Sustainability and Climate Change team, but indicates work across all service areas and reflects the Council’s commitment to net zero by 2030. 

Richard Vaughan, Sustainability and Climate Change Team Manager, said: “We believed we were making good progress with our environmental performance, but it is nice to have that confirmed through this process and to be ranked as top performing for the third year in a row is a great expression of the hard work towards net zero that is being undertaken across the authority.

“However, much more needs to be done to reach our net-zero target. Some of the projects we re currently working on include expanding the electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the county, offering grant schemes to help retrofit some of the county’s least energy-efficient homes, awarding local businesses grants to support them to reduce carbon and supporting the Herefordshire Climate and Nature Board who’s focus is on a net zero and nature rich county by 2030.”

Cllr Swinglehurst, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Being ranked as the top performing authority in the West Midlands is a real achievement and recognition of the effort that the council is putting to sustainability. 

We will continue to work just as hard and lead by example to support the entire county in achieving net zero by 2030.”

“We are also developing the county’s first Climate Change Adaptation Plan which will help us to better respond to the challenges of climate change.”