By leading the way and seeking to become net zero significantly ahead of the national 2050 target, we hope to show what can be achieved and inspire residents and local businesses to join us on this rewarding journey.
We declared a climate emergency in 2019 and we developed our Climate Action Framework (pdf format, 5Mb) in response. Our climate framework sets our targets and approach to tackling the climate emergency, outlining what we will do in the short, medium and long terms. We publish a review of our Carbon Management Plan 2022-2025 (pdf format, 415Kb) annually; updating progress and committing to new action.
Approximately 46 per cent of our emissions come from streetlighting. As part of a £40m investment project 65 per cent of our street lighting has been replaced with energy-efficient LED’s. We aim to replace all by 2024. It will cut costs and emissions by almost 70 per cent, saving 6,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.
We are working with communities to dim street lighting or switch off for periods of time when it is considered appropriate to do so. This will save energy, cut costs, and reduce the negative impacts of light pollution on nature.
Approximately 33 per cent of our emissions arise from our buildings. We have secured £3m to allow decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures across seven of our corporate buildings, nine schools and one fire station. The majority of this work is now completed with the remainder due to be finished in 2023.
A move to energy-efficient LEDs in council buildings has reduced the energy used for lighting by around 70 per cent and is saving around £78,000 per year. Further savings have been made by installing motion sensors and boiler controls.
We are developing a decarbonisation programme in line with our property strategy that will ensure that our buildings are on the path to net zero.
Approximately 21 per cent of our emissions arise from fleet and staff travel.
Virtual meetings are prioritised, and staff incentive schemes are in place to make cycling, public transport, and the transition to electric vehicles easier and more cost-effective for our staff.
The council is committed to rationalising its fleet and transitioning to electric vehicles. We now have a fleet of 24 electric vehicles and 44 charge points across 19 council sites. Our budget plans for 2023/24 include investment in a fleet to support our climate objectives and reduce whole lifecycle costs.
Our fire and rescue service is partnering with hydrogen fuel engineering firm ULEMCo, and with funding from Innovate UK, is helping to develop the UK’s first hydrogen fuelled fire engine.
We have moved to a REGO-backed (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) green electricity supply for our estate and highways assets (streetlights, traffic signals and signs).
Schools are being supported on energy efficiency measures through our Action on Carbon and Energy in Schools initiative.
Our new social value procurement policy makes sure we consider the carbon impact of all the council’s purchases, and our choices will help drive the market for low-carbon goods and services within the County.
A climate active culture
We are rolling out the award-winning carbon literacy training to our staff. Climate impact assessments are now carried out to ensure our decision-making is aligned with our climate commitments.
We are improving the way we monitor and measure our carbon emissions.
We will report on our greenhouse gas emissions annually. Over time we will look to increase the scope of our reporting to include supply chain emissions. View our latest Greenhouse Gas Report 2021-2022 (pdf format 740Kb)
In line with the council’s scrutiny processes, councillors recently reviewed the council's approach to emissions reduction. The working groups final report and the response can be found here.