Summit defines next steps to a net-zero Northamptonshire

Date 24.05.2024

Action plans detailing the steps Northamptonshire will take over the next year to achieve net-zero were agreed during the second Sustainability Summit at the University of Northampton this week.

Organisers hoped to repeat the success of the first summit in 2023 which unlocked £80,000 of funding for research and support.

The two-day summit which took place at the University’s Waterside Campus on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 May saw representatives from the public, private and third sectors gather to focus on the importance of innovation in limiting climate change and addressing the challenges of sustainability

Dr Ebenezer Laryea, UON’s Associate Professor in Sustainable Development Law and Chair of the summit’s planning committee, said the action plans agreed during the summit addressed key areas such as circular economy, renewable energy use, behavioural change, sustainable water use and effective flood management.

The actions plans will now become the first schedule for the Northampton Sustainability Accord, the county’s practical roadmap to address shared industry challenges

Dr Laryea said: “Now begins the real work to put what has been agreed into action through collaborative research, knowledge exchange and enterprise.

“What we have achieved this week at the UON Sustainability Summit marks an exciting new chapter in our efforts to preserve our ecological and social environments for future generations – and we will in the future, tell our grandchildren of these things we have done today to secure their tomorrow.”

In her opening address, Professor Anne-Marie Kilday, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said sustainability was one of the four key values in the University’s strategic plan and added: “Innovation, in essence, is about transcending traditional boundaries, thinking beyond the conventional and embracing new ideas that drive progress.

“It is this spirit of ingenuity that we must tap into to transform our sustainability targets from aspirational goals into tangible realities.”

Sarah Bunney from Our Rainwater Ltd was in the audience. She works with water companies and local authorities to empower householders to capture rainwater and prevent flooding. She said: “Over the last two days this has been a very positive experience and it’s nice to know we can all make a difference and make a change.”