Milton Keynes prepares to hold its very own mini COP26 limate summit this week

People are welcome to attend either online or in person

Monday, 8th November 2021, 1:24 pm
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 1:26 pm

MK's own mini COP26 conference will bring together experts to share ideas on a local action plan to tackle climate change.

As the United Nations summit continues in Glasgow, where world leaders have set out their national sustainability plans, 14 experts are coming together closer to home in Milton Keynes on Wednesday.

MK Council leader Cllr Pete Marland, who will talk about the council's vow to be carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon negative by 2050.

The MK conference is on Wednesday

Professor Nicholas Braithwaite will speak about the Open University’s roadmap to net zero, while other speakers include e-bike and low carbon specialist Tristan Allan and living roof expert Chris Bridgman, who will both outline how businesses are adopting sustainable practices.

Businesses, groups and individuals who are looking to better understand the local vision for sustainability, or to pick up innovative ideas they can use to change their own organisation, should find the discussion valuable, says the council.

They will also be sharing details of its Green Business Recovery Scheme - funding the council has been making available to local businesses and organisations to recover from the impact of the pandemic in a more sustainable way. And the conference will outline how businesses can still apply for sustainable travel grants.

The free conference will run from 10am to 5pm on Wednesday. Limited tickets available to attend in person at the city centre's Saxon Court venue, but there is unlimited availability for anyone to join online.

You can find the full programme and sign up for free tickets at the website sustainablemk.city.

Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet member for Climate Action and Sustainability said: “Milton Keynes was always designed to grow, which means new homes, more jobs and businesses, energy to power communities, and a plan for the waste we all create; that growth needs to be sustainable.

"We want to encourage as many people and organisations as possible to join us on our journey to zero carbon, and this conference will showcase some effective ways to do that.”

Milton Keynes Council has set up the conference using funding from INTENSIFY, a five-year EU INTERREG project.

Meanwhile, new research finds three quarters of local people believe Milton Keynes is taking positive steps to tackle climate change.

75% of just under 1,000 local people surveyed on behalf of MK Council believe MK’s leaders, communities and individuals are actively working towards Milton Keynes becoming a sustainable city, with 92% saying they are worried about climate change and its impacts.

The survey found most people think renewable energy schemes such as solar panels, heat pumps and biomass boilers would be the most effective way to lower MK’s total carbon footprint, followed by being able to buy more locally grown food. More than three quarters of residents would like all new build homes to come pre-fitted with solar panels.

MK Council asked how it could best help people make more sustainable choices. The top answer, from a third of those surveyed, was for the Council to use its influence with business, government, and other partners to make new green schemes affordable. Around a fifth wanted more zero carbon buildings and low carbon public transport options in MK.

When asked to rank what they could more or less of personally, most people said they would try to produce less waste, recycle more, and cut car journeys.