I WAS persuaded last week to watch an online event called ‘Warrington speaks out on climate’. It’s not the sort of thing I’d normally go out of my way to see but I’m really glad I did.

I was mightily impressed by the knowledge, passion and commitment to the cause shown by a range of speakers who clearly and forcefully made the point that the climate emergency is here and now.

While we can all takes steps to modify our behaviour in the battle against climate change, it got me thinking about exactly what Warrington Borough Council is doing.

My research revealed the council declared a climate emergency in June 2019 and ‘resolved’ that by 2030 it would be carbon neutral in its operations and activities. It also approved a Green Energy Strategy in 2019 which aims to reduce fuel poverty; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; improve security of energy supply; create regeneration and economic growth; achieve sustainability in all the council’s operations; and generate income to fund the investments.

So that explains why it embarked on one of its largest schemes, the rolling upgrade of the town’s 18,000 streetlights to new LED technology.

It also explains the somewhat more controversial solar farm schemes (the council’s website calls it ground-breaking rather than controversial).

The council has partnered with Gridserve to build what it describes as the UK’s most advanced solar farms, in York and Hull. The deal will make Warrington the first council to produce all of its own electricity from clean energy, as well as generating millions of pounds every year to support essential services, it says.

The solar farms will produce electricity to power the equivalent of 18,000 homes. The council expects this investment to yield £150 million over 30 years, while saving 31,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

And it’s not stopping there, launching its first Community Municipal Bond, giving people the opportunity to help fund a new solar farm in Cirencester.

I was talking about this to a friend in Northwich who mentioned his council had gone down a different route (his local authority is the somewhat extravagantly named Cheshire West and Chester Council).

Apparently, CWAC as the locals call it, collects food waste separately from other refuse and sends it to a special recycling centre where it goes through an anaerobic digestion process.

The upshot is this process gives off methane which is fed either to a generator to produce electricity or to a plant to produce biomethane (similar to natural gas) which is pumped into the gas main.

And there’s a second ‘win’ from the process. What’s left after the gas has been produced can be used as liquid fertiliser, high in nitrogen, phosphate and potassium.

Being frank, WBC has made some questionable investments in the past but producing energy from waste food is one I could really get behind. It seems like a really good idea.

Anyway, two of the guest speakers at the Warrington speaks out on climate event were the town’s two MPs, Warrington North’s Charlotte Nichols and Warrington South’s Andy Carter.

Ms Nichols spoke first and was brief, concise and to the point.

Not so Mr Carter who seemed to be determined to build up his role and went on and on.

Sometimes, Mr Carter, less is more.

Talking of Ms Nichols, perhaps the ‘less is more’ mantra could apply to her as well, or maybe that should be: ‘least said, soonest mended’.

Over the weekend she tweeted: “Campaigning suspended for today for the funeral of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Took the opportunity to head into town to see friends & pick up a few bits now non-essential retail @GoldenSquareUK is back. Even the Primark queue v quick & good social distancing being observed! :).

Needless to say, the Tory supporting Daily Express wasn’t impressed. Under the headline ‘Disgust as Labour frontbench MP boasts Prince Philip's funeral a chance to go shopping’, it quoted an ‘un-named’ Conservative Party source as saying: “This is disrespectful from a member of Labour’s top team. As the country was coming together to pay tribute to one of our country’s greatest public servants they saw it as an opportunity to do anything but.”

Yet again we have the perfect example of the perils of over-sharing on social media. When will people learn?