INVESTMENT in green projects has been prioritised as part of a council's pledge to 'tackle the climate emergency'.

Oxfordshire County Council has refreshed its aim to become 'carbon neutral' by 2030 and has set aside tens of millions of pounds for several schemes to help achieve this.

It draft budget was published this week and will be considered by councillors at a meeting at County Hall in Oxford today.

Writing in the proposal, council leader Ian Hudspeth said: "Our 2030 zero carbon ambition influences everything we do.

"We believe there is an opportunity to build on Oxfordshire’s strong environmental credentials through investment in innovation and technology."

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The document adds: "We have a climate emergency to tackle.

"We will be investing in energy and carbon reduction in the coming years...[and] make climate action a top priority in all decision making."

Spending outlined in the budget includes £40m over the next five years, to replace 56,000 street lighting bulbs with new LED technology.

The authority said this will 'drastically cut the amount we pay for electricity and greatly reduce our carbon footprint'.

It has set aside £32m towards a new bus lane and park and ride on the A40, which it hopes will encourage sustainable transport.

It has also budgeted £6.5m for Botley Road improvements and £4m on the Science Vale Cycle Network, which will connect Milton Park, Harwell Campus and Culham Science Centre.

A further half a million pounds has been ringfenced for improving sustainable travel plans to 'ensure bus, cycling and walking routes are integral to new housing and business property developments.'

Reflecting on work already done to become more eco-friendly, the council said it has reduced its own carbon emissions by 50 per cent since 2008.

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It has also become the highest-performing local authority area in England for recycling and waste management, with more than 57 per cent of household waste recycled, composted or re-used.

Lorna Baxter, the council's director of finance, wrote in the budget report: "This provides an overarching framework for our ambitions to reduce carbon emissions, improve transport networks and support healthy communities as part of our commitment to tackle the issue of climate change."

About £700,000 will be invested in 'pump priming' including renewable energy generation, improved energy efficiency of the council's buildings and the ability for cleaner staff travel.

It will switch its car and van fleet to electric vehicles where possible and in future, hopes that even its fire engines can move to become electric.

In a bid to improve air quality, it is also trialing a scheme called School Streets, which restricts traffic outside of schools during peak times.

Its other aims include introducing more solar power on its buildings and land, and buying more green power for its estate.

The budget which will not be finalised until a full council meeting next month.