By declaring a climate emergency in July 2019 we formally recognised the urgency and significance of our environmental ambitions for the Council as an organisation, but also for the wider district. Our residents have told us that it is important to be able to live in a sustainable way and our Community Plan recognises this through objectives linked to the natural environment, including biodiversity and green spaces, and to creating vibrant communities, amongst others. Our first step was to create a Climate Emergency Strategy, and associated action plan which sets out a more detailed pathway to a sustainable future for Newark and Sherwood District Council. We did this in partnership with the Carbon Trust and set a carbon neutrality target of 2035.
Since the implementation of the Climate Emergency Strategy and Emissions Reduction Action Plan in December 2020 a number of carbon reduction projects have been taking place within the district.
We are exploring the expansion of the Electric Vehicle Charge (EVC) points network in public car parks within the district. In recent months a further eight EVC points have been installed in Newark and Southwell; bringing the district's total to fifteen. Also, we have started our electric vehicle transition project with the purchase of two vehicles to date. Plans are being devised to replace the rest of the diesel fleet with electric vehicles, once they have reached the end of their useful life.
The Council has appointed consultants to carry out solar PV feasibility on our corporate and leisure buildings. This will enable us to make an informed decision on which sites to proceed with and prioritise for solar PV, with an idea of installation costs and payback periods.
During the 2020/2021 planting season, we planted 5,997 trees and over 2,500 of trees were given away to residents or parish/community groups. As part of our Community Plan we are committed to planting 10,000 trees by 2023. Where the pandemic has permitted, we involve local community groups and schools in our tree planting initiative.
As part of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Phase 2 (LAD2) through The Midland Energy HUB, we have been allocated £724,850 to deliver a project which provides cost savings to those home owners who reduce their carbon footprint, and ultimately improves the quality of homes by increasing the EPC ratings of the properties. The Council has developed a partnership with Eon to deliver the LAD 2 programme, due for completion by 31 March 2022. This comprises of 53 properties from the private market and 20 properties from the Council’s social housing stock. The latter will be focused on the installation of solar PV to improve EPC ratings of properties from a Band D to a Band C rating. This project will provide low income households who are most at risk of fuel poverty with up to £10,000 of environmentally friendly home improvements.
When the Council declared a climate emergency in July 2019, we knew we needed to take a stand and set an example to combat climate change and put sustainability at the forefront of our activities. To assist us with the development of a Climate Emergency Strategy and Emissions Reduction Plan, we appointed the Carbon Trust to provide guidance on determining a baseline and set targets. The Carbon Trust are recognised as industry experts in the carbon calculating field and were able to provide a wealth of knowledge and support. Although the initial planned completion date of this work was set earlier in 2020, some of our baseline data proved difficult to obtain, extending the project. Then the pandemic hit but the Council and the Carbon Trust committed to this project, adapted to new ways of working. While these two factors slowed the project down a little, we felt it was more important to obtain a complete and accurate data set for our baseline data over sticking to the original completion date. It was vital we gained a full and accurate picture of what our carbon footprint looks like.
By allocating budgets specific to climate change activities, it has enabled our climate emergency declaration to become so much more than just a declaration. We have facilitated further work and enabled a number of carbon reduction projects to begin at the early stages in our journey to become carbon neutral. A major part of this early work has been the implementation of specialised consultants to carry out solar PV feasibility work on our corporate and leisure buildings. This has allowed us to understand prospective installation costs, pay back periods, carbon savings and rule out any buildings which may be more difficult to carry out an installation.
A number of government grants available to local authorities, schools, universities and the NHS have been available to support decarbonisation in the last year. It is worth keeping an eye on what is available and what your organisation may be eligible to apply for.
Projects may from time to time require collaborative work with partners especially for those with a short timescale for completing the work or with limited resources internally to deliver the project, Newark and Sherwood District Council has entered into a partnership with EON to assist with the delivery of the MEH LAD2 social housing energy efficiency project.
- Number of trees planted (10,000 before 2023).
- Prospective generation of kWh generation (up to 500,000kWh).
- Fuel reduction savings.
- Carbon savings.