Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy

Last updated: 30 September 2021

9. The Council's Emissions

New low and zero carbon technologies are being rapidly developed and have a potentially important role to play in helping reduce our emissions. We recognise the need to use innovative solutions, and dedicate funding and technical support, to effectively deliver against the objectives in this strategy. We will maximise opportunities to secure funding from schemes, such as those offered by SALIX and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and plug-in vehicles etc.), to support the delivery of actions in this strategy.


10. Monitor the development of innovative solutions which could help reduce our emissions.

11. Review carbon offsetting options and develop a policy on their use.

A range of initiatives to reduce our emissions have been implemented already ranging from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to using electric vehicles in our fleet. We will investigate and implement appropriate measures to address mitigate and adapt to climate change and poor air quality.


12. Explore the potential for renewable energy generation projects on the council’s land (for example a solar farm)

13.Implement a large scale tree planting programme across the estate.

14. Explore the potential for blue and green infrastructure improvement projects (for example green roofs) across our estate.


The actions below reflect the importance we place on creating a corporate culture that makes climate change and air quality a priority.


15. Embed climate change and air quality considerations in policy and decision making.

16. Engage and inform staff and councillors how they can reduce emissions through simple changes to behaviour.

The Council’s Operational Estate

The council’s Operational Estate is comprised of buildings and land we operate our services from. We will evaluate sites regarding the appropriateness of implementing blue, green, and sustainable/alternative energy projects taking into account the cost-benefit of initiatives, asset maintenance and replacement aspects, and our accommodation strategy.

Operational Buildings

We will assess the cost-benefit of sustainable energy options, taking into account the age and condition of our assets, and employ appropriate technologies to reduce the emissions footprint of our buildings.


17. Identify and implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures across the operational estate, in line with the accommodation strategy and repair and renewal cycles.

New Builds and Expansions

The council’s capital build programme, including new schools and school expansions, can incorporate environmental sustainability considerations at the scope/specification and design stages.


18. Ensure council new builds are as low carbon as practicable taking into account available budgets.

Street Lighting

Over 22,000 street lights have had light emitting diode (LED) fixtures fitted to replace old lamps and 52% of respondents to the engagement survey were aware of this project. LEDs require less power and last longer than the old lamps and are predicted to save £13 million in electricity, maintenance and operational lifetime cost savings and 3,100 tonnes of CO2e per year.


19. Retrofit LEDs to remaining street lights by 2025 (subject to funding).


Consultants have identified that there is potential for solar panels to be installed on metal canopies above parking spaces in some car parks and we are responsible for large areas of land that currently act as carbon sinks (including country parks). We recognise the opportunity to maintain and improve the capability of these spaces to store carbon and absorb/filter air pollutants, while also protecting and enhancing biodiversity.


20. Conduct feasibility studies for the installation of solar car ports at appropriate parking sites.

21. Enhance and support sustainable tree management practices.


A low number of respondents to the engagement survey (15%) were aware that we already have some hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicles in our fleet. Many of our work-related journeys don’t involve the use of our fleet vehicles – staff and councillors use their own vehicles or public transport to get to their destinations. We operate two schemes that allow staff the opportunity to overcome the upfront capital cost of purchasing a bike or car by paying it back incrementally through their monthly salary. Under a cycle to work scheme, as deductions for a bike are taken before Income Tax or National Insurance Contributions (NICs), an employee pays less tax and National Insurance Contributions and an employer can save on employer’s (NIC). As a newly formed council we need to understand more about the travel behaviour of our staff and councillors and monitor the effectiveness of actions to reduce our transport emissions.


22. Promote schemes which enable staff to purchase bikes and ULEVs.

23. Introduce annual staff and councillor travel surveys.

Travel for Work Purposes

Departments in the council are responsible for their own fleet vehicles. Many of them are using systems and approaches to ensure that vehicles minimise fuel consumption and costs, and emissions to air (for example route optimisation and driving behaviour monitoring using telematics, and encouraging eco-driving behaviour). For example, an additive is used in some of our waste collection vehicles to reduce NOx emissions and we currently use two electric vans and some electric pool cars (on lease arrangements). Our actions are therefore centred around enabling staff and councillors to lower their work travel emissions and implementing a plan across departments to improve emissions from fleet vehicles. This plan will identify when increasing percentages of the council's fleet will be replaced with ULEVs


24. Review the council's fleet and develop proposals to reduce emissions from its operation.

25. Explore the introduction or enhancement of logistics/fleet management equipment, additives and lubricants, eco-driving techniques, and alternative fuels to reduce fleet emissions and implement where practicable.

Commuting and Working from Home

The change seen in staff and councillors travelling to and from their normal places of work or meetings is perhaps one of the clearest areas which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected. The majority of staff have worked from home during the pandemic and both informal and formal council meetings now take place online. This has undoubtedly reduced overall emissions from staff commuting during this time. What is unclear is how these emissions savings compare to increases in home based emissions, now that many of our homes are occupied during the day. This may be particularly evident in winter when we look to heat our homes when they wouldn’t previously have been unoccupied.


26. Support staff and councillors to work from home (flexible working) where practical.