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Bucks Climate Challenge

Buckinghamshire Council is working with local communities to tackle the impact of climate change in Buckinghamshire. We’re aiming for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Help us to achieve this goal and protect our planet for ourselves, our families, and our future generations.

What is the Bucks Climate Challenge?


Working together to combat climate change

Bucks’ Climate Challenge is all about working together to reach net zero carbon emissions in Buckinghamshire, to reduce the impact of climate change. Read more about what the council has done in the last year to reduce carbon emissions.

Climate change is already affecting everyone, with sea levels rising, our summers becoming hotter and drier and our winters getting wetter. Residents in Buckinghamshire tell us they are already experiencing the effects of climate change and want to do something about it.

The cause of climate change is an increase in the amount of (greenhouse) gases in our atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, that trap heat from the Sun. This is causing our planet to warm up and the ice at the caps to melt. The increase in greenhouse gases is caused by human activity.

Reaching net zero carbon emissions means taking as much carbon out of the atmosphere as we put into it.

There are many ways in which we can all reduce our carbon emissions and improve air quality; from using the car less to planting more trees. Even small changes to our lifestyle can have a big environmental impact.

Buckinghamshire Council has a Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy which details how we are working towards making Buckinghamshire carbon neutral by 2050 and ensuring that concentrations of air pollutants are at safe levels.

We will reduce our emissions by 75% by 2030, compared to our 1990 baseline, on the way to achieving net zero no later than 2050.

What is Buckinghamshire Council doing?

Second annual progress report on the Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy

It’s been another twelve months of fantastic progress on our ambitious Climate Change and Air Quality strategy. View our 2022 to 2023 progress report.

This strategy was adopted by the council in 2021, when we set bold targets to reduce carbon emissions by at least 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040. These targets are set against our 1990 emission levels.

We’ve already achieved a 73.4% reduction, which means we are well on track to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We have, for a second year in a row, exceeded our tree planting targets.

We have:

  • planted over 145,000 trees
  • created a large-scale woodland in Wing which will eventually contain 132,000 trees
  • created two new woodlands in Hazlemere and Amersham
  • created two “Tiny Forests” - Princes Risborough Combined School and Bourton Park in Buckingham

As part of our commitment to meet our seven-year carbon budget, we are reducing emissions with schemes such as Sustainable Warmth and Solar Together and are exploring how we can decarbonise our fleet.

We have:

  • seen a total of 4,356 solar PV panels installed as part of the Solar Together scheme
  • progressed the upcycling and electrification of a bin lorry
  • visited over 150 households as part of the Energy Doctor scheme
  • worked to reduce embodied carbon within new build schools, including The Kingsbrook School

We are also committed to sustainable travel and are launching greener ways to get around Buckinghamshire by:

  • extending and improving travel routes, such as Platinum Way and Aylesbury Arm canal towpath, aiming to emphasise walking, wheeling and cycling
  • supporting schools to encourage active travel with initiatives such as the Modeshift STARS
  • launching an on-demand bus service in and around High Wycombe, called ‘PickMeUp

How can I get involved?

There are so many ways you can help by reducing your own carbon emissions.

Our top three tips for doing something that will make the biggest difference:

1. Ditch the car and walk, wheel, cycle or use public transport instead

Not only will your health thank you, but you’ll be doing your bit to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. There are e-bike and e-scooter trials in parts of the county, and the PickMeUp on-demand minibus service around High Wycombe. Plus, download the Better Points app to be rewarded for walking, wheeling, and taking the bus. Find out more about travelling sustainably, including walking and cycling routes.

food waste

2. Reduce the amount of food you throw away

Did you know that the average family of four could save £60 a month by reducing food waste? Buckinghamshire homes produce enough food waste to fill 250,000 wheelie bins a year – a staggering 30,000 tonnes! Check out our toolkit to help you reduce food waste. Help reduce carbon emissions and save money, win-win!

And if you’re struggling to afford food, find out more about the help available to buy or access food on our website. Alternatively, if you have food going spare, do see if there’s a community fridge local to you.

Climate Change Image 4

3. Turn your heating down

The World Health Organisation suggests 18 degrees Celsius (64.4° Fahrenheit) is the optimum temperature for healthy and well-dressed people to keep their homes at, rising to 20°C for the old, young, or unwell.

An average home could save around £130 for each 1°C decrease in thermostat temperature between 22°C and 18°C. And if everyone in the UK turned their thermostat down by 1°C, an enormous 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) would be saved per year.

If you’re feeling the pinch when it comes to affording heating, visit our help with heating and household bills and saving energy in your home pages on our website. There’s also a useful tool from the government that gives you specific recommendations on how to make your home more energy efficient.

And don’t forget about Welcoming Spaces – warm, safe and supportive spaces that you can visit across the county.

Spread the word

Seeing what other people are doing is a powerful motivation tool. Can you help to spread the word by posting on your social media page? Use #BucksClimateChallenge to share your stories. Follow us on social media @BucksCouncil to join the conversation.

For business

Businesses can play their part in reducing carbon emissions. Get tips and resources for making your business more energy efficient and guidance on energy efficiency standards for landlords on our website.

Sign up to our new quarterly Climate Change Newsletter

The Climate Response Team have a quarterly newsletter where you can keep up to date on what is happening at the council and in the community on climate change.

If you'd like to receive climate change news directly to your email inbox, email: [email protected].

View our latest climate change newsletter.