WILTSHIRE has topped the table of the most climate friendly councils in England and Wales according to new research released by Friends of the Earth.

It had a rating of 92 per cent after the climate change group looked into housing, transport, waste and renewable energy.

The council said it was proud to come top but acknowledged that authorities had more work to do to reduce carbon levels.

Just over a fifth of all commuter journeys are made by public transport, bike or walking and the climate group said this should increase to 40 per cent by 2030.

It also called for improvements in the quality and number of well insulated homes and for the amount the county recycles to increase from 45 per cent to 70 per cent in the next six years.

Friends of the Earth found that 10 per cent of Wiltshire is woodland and said that doubling the number of trees in a county would help reduce emissions.

The council acknowledged a climate emergency at the start of the year and now have a committee in place looking into how to improve the county’s carbon footprint.

Over the summer it pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030 by changing how it runs its services and council owned buildings.

But Friends of the Earth said more needs to be done, even for the best performing local authorities.

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, said: “All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing. We know we are facing a climate and ecological emergency that threatens our existence and the natural word. If we want to change things for the better, let’s start at home.

“Doing things right now about climate change isn’t just good news for future generations and people most vulnerable to an erratic climate, it’s good for everyone. Creating cleaner and greener places to live means healthier, happier lives. It’s why local authorities need to take the lead by adopting ambitious local climate action plans, and who better to help them than communities.”

Richard Clewer, deputy leader of Wiltshire Council said: “It’s great news for the organisation and we’re very proud to have been named as the most climate-friendly council. There is of course, much more to do. There are many steps we are now taking to protect our environment and continue to reduce carbon levels heading into the future.

“Transport and housing are the two biggest producers of carbon and we’re looking to technology around renewable energy on housing and electric cars, as a way to see us reduce carbon levels moving forward.”