What are we going to do?

20 Commitments for 2020/21

We have set a long-term vision to deliver net zero carbon emissions for the Council’s operations and, in partnership with all stakeholders, for East Cambridgeshire as a whole, with clear and demonstrable progress towards that target year on year. At the same time, we will support our communities and East Cambridgeshire’s biodiversity and environmental assets to adapt and flourish as our climate changes. To help move one step towards that vision, the following forms a summary of the top 20 commitments we aim to achieve over the next 12 months.

These are real actions the Council will take to play its part to help mitigate climate change and boost the natural environment:

  1. Review its entire electricity and gas contracts, and, where practical to do so, will seek to amend to 100% renewable electricity tariffs and 100% carbon off-set gas tariffs as soon as possible.
  2. Appraise the impact of its streetlights and consider the options to move to LED lighting, if feasible, taking account of the carbon savings, financial savings and public opinion of doing so, including consideration as whether dimming of lights is practicable and safe during certain low-use hours (note: most street lights are not under the control of ECDC).
  3. Embed a greater culture of home working (to reduce commuting) and less business travel (eg for site visits), taking advantage of lessons learnt during the Covid-19 lockdown, with the aim of encouraging staff to undertake less, and more coordinated, site visits and meeting attendance.
  4. Undertake a thorough appraisal of the potential to expand electric car charge points.
  5. Roll out further guidance and training for staff in relation to the recently introduced Carbon Impact Assessment procedure – a new assessment which requires all Council decisions to be assessed for the carbon implications of the decision being made.
  6. Work with ECTC and ECSS, the Council’s wholly owned companies responsible for matters such as waste collection, street cleansing and maintaining public open spaces, conclude a review into alternative options for its vehicle fleet, and set out a programme of how its vehicle fleet will become less carbon intensive, plus review our waste collection methods to determine whether more efficient route collections can be secured, thereby reducing vehicle fuel consumption (and consequently reduced CO2 emissions).
  7. Complete an energy opportunity assessment for The Grange to identify measures that can be taken to reduce consumption and/or generate renewable energy and deliver at least one of the measures identified within a year.
  8. Complete an energy opportunity assessment for E-Space North to identify measures that can be taken to reduce consumption and/or generate renewable energy and deliver at least one of these.
  9. Develop a Customer Access Strategy, which at its heart will enable customers to undertake activities with the Council without the need for physical attendance at Council Offices.
  10. Finalise the Council’s bus, cycling and walking review (which commenced over winter 2019/20), and work with a wide variety of partners to try to implement its findings, taking advantage of new Government funds, linked to Covid-19 recovery, to boost cycling and walking infrastructure.
  11. Undertake a thorough appraisal of the Council’s land assets, and determine whether a programme of tree planting and/or meadow planting can take place on any of it. If so, commence that programme during the 2020/21 winter and spring planting season.
  12. Prepare, consult and adopt two Supplementary Planning Documents, one on the Natural Environment and the second on Climate Change.
  13. Identify / develop a training course for all staff and Members on climate change issues, minimisation, mitigation, adaptive measures, and key environmental policies (possibly Open University’s Environment: treading lightly on the Earth). Aim for all staff and Members to have completed training by 2021. All new starters from 2021 to complete training within 2 months of start date.
  14. Put in place arrangements, by April 2021 (including a district wide partnership forum), to facilitate the preparation of a district wide Action Plan (District-EnvPlan). This Action Plan, which is prepared in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, will set out how we can cut our carbon emissions and boost the natural environment collectively across the East Cambridgeshire area.
  15. Work with a willing Parish Council, to prepare a template parish-based Action Plan (ParishEnvPlan), and subsequently encourage all Parish Councils to come up with their own targets and projects.
  16. Prepare a second Council-EnvPlan by June 2021, setting out progress over 2020/21, and proposals and targets for 2021/22.
  17. Work proactively with the Combined Authority, as part of its recently launched Climate Change Independent Commission.
  18. Support Cambridgeshire County Council in its delivery of its recently adopted Action Plan.
  19. The Council also acknowledges that in recognising there is a climate emergency, the actions needed to be taken are not all about mitigating the impacts, but also adapting to the inevitable changes of climate change. As such, the Council also commits to commence preparation of a Climate Adaptation Plan over the next 12 months.
  20. Work with Palace Green Homes (PGH), the Council's commercial property and development company, to establish a new sustainability policy for the company; this will then inform how it can progress its development schemes in the most sustainable, yet viable, way.