Good practice example: on target for affordable homes for rent and carbon reduction

Liberal Democrat South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has now helped to deliver 468 affordable homes for rent towards its target of 1,000 by 2025.

Latest performance figures show the council has enabled a further seven affordable homes for rent in the past three months, bringing the total since January 2014 to 468. The council has made the provision of more affordable homes to rent a key target to meet local needs, especially for young families in the district struggling to afford housing. There has also been an overall reduction in long-term empty homes from 1,079 (2011) to 980 (2019), while the council has brought 361 empty homes back into use since 2015, including 29 in the three months to September, through targeted interventions.

The performance monitoring report assesses how well SLDC is doing against its priorities for the economy, housing, environment and health and wellbeing.

A report to last week’s meeting of SLDC’s Cabinet shows the council is on track to reduce its operational carbon footprint year-on-year by 100 tonnes of carbon, from a baseline of 3,162 tonnes, with 2,996 tonnes emitted in 2018/19 – an overall reduction of 166 tonnes since 2015. As well as reducing emissions the council prevents 5,500 tonnes of emissions by reusing, recycling and composting waste collected across the district.

Leader of SLDC, Councillor Giles Archibald, said:

"This is a high-performing council and a council that delivers real results.

“That is down to the efforts of everyone associated with the council, from the chief executive and all our officers to the Cabinet and all the councillors from all sides of the chamber and, of course, our communities. “This demonstrates what can be achieved when we all consistently work together in the best interests of our district.

Councillor Archibald highlighted successes such as new playparks and playpark improvements, the climate emergency motion, the biodiversity motion, the action plan on climate change and support for community projects, as well as facilitating more affordable homes and bringing empty home back into use.

He added: "We are doing a good job on the things that we directly control but there is no room for complacency. Even in areas where we have no direct influence we can still help to inform our communities and can lobby central government and other organisations to do more.

“Child poverty is increasing in this area and throughout the country, food and fuel poverty is still an issue, homelessness is still on the rise and is an increasing burden for councils.

"Climate change threatens our lifestyles, our coastlines and possibly our food supplies. Biodiversity is becoming a huge problem for us and there is concern about loneliness and the connectivity between rural societies and urban societies.

“As a council we will continue to do all we can, working alongside our communities, to ensure that South Lakeland remains the best place to live, work and explore."