Over the last couple of weeks both the Euro 2020 football and the Wimbledon tennis championships have given us a glimpse of what life will be like after the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted in a couple of weeks’ time.

It has been fantastic to see so many smiling faces at both of these major sporting events and long may that continue.

Last night, my attention and that of my Cabinet colleagues switched from the football to a number of important items all linked to our key priority of reducing our impact on the environment.

You may have seen the launch of the council’s ‘Be the Change’ climate change campaign last week, which is encouraging everyone in the borough to play their part in helping to reduce our emissions.

I was delighted to see the Advertiser get behind the campaign with a front-page story and double-page spread inside. The local media have been very supportive of the campaign which highlights that even a tiny change to the way we lead our lives can have a positive impact on climate change.

I wrote last week about the council’s Net Zero Emissions Action Plan, which outlines the initials actions we are taking an organisation to continue to work towards achieving net zero in the council’s organisational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

Local authorities are directly responsible for between two and five per cent of their local area’s emissions and while we can do our bit by setting up solar farms, change our streetlights to LED, make the switch to electric vehicles and plant hundreds of thousands of trees , we need to take local people on our environment-focused journey.

We also need to support and encourage residents and organisations across Swindon to join the drive to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050, in line with the targets set out by the Government.

There are a number of levers we can pull to help deliver wider action to reduce emissions and make it easier for people to tackle climate change.

For example, last night cabinet was asked to approve the draft council’s draft Electric Vehicle Charging Point strategy which will go out to public consultation later this year. This will enable us to start planning for the continued increase of electric vehicles on our roads and ensure we have the right number of charging points in the right locations to make it easier for residents to make the switch from diesel and petrol cars to their electric equivalent.

We also want to encourage people out of their cars where we can and the draft Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan was also on last night’s agenda. This sets out how we will improve local cycling and pedestrian routes across the Borough. Again, we’ll be asking the community for views on this.

We are prioritising 23 cycling and walking routes to build on the millions of pounds we have already invested in recent years on some of our more strategic routes. We will be asking people’s views on the plan in due course.

Like the England team we have a number of goals, but we all need to ‘Be the Change’ to help us achieve our targets. To find out how visit www.swindon.gov.uk/bethechange