- Meeting of Transport, Environment & Climate Change Select Committee, Thursday, 17th September, 2020 10.00 am (Item 7.)
The Committee will receive an update on the development of the Climate Change Strategy.
Councillor Bill Chapple, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change
Ed Barlow, Head of Energy
Steve Bambrick, Service Director Planning and Sustainability
David Sutherland, Head of Climate Change & Environment
Climate Change Strategy
Mr Bill Chapple, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Ed Barlow, Head of Energy, and David Sutherland, Head of Climate Change & Environment, provided an update on the Climate Change Strategy.
Bill explained that the Climate Change Motion approved by Council on 15 July directed the Council to reach zero for emissions by 2050, potentially by 2030. The adoption of the Climate Change Strategy to support this work would be considered by Cabinet in February 2021. Work had been undertaken throughout the summer months and various council policies were also being reviewed to incorporate environmental issues. The council was successful in applying to be part of a pilot scheme for a Local Nature Recovery Strategy; this scheme was launched at a farm in Great Missenden. Habitat banking was also being considered, where land would be purchased to help diversity. Bill had also advised that he was Chairman of the Rural Forum and that there was a section on bio diversity in the new planning consultation document. Bill noted that the work of climate change affected all parts of the council.
Ed Barlow provided a presentation on the development timeline of the Climate Change Strategy. It was noted that it would be a challenge to bring the new Strategy to Cabinet in February due to the broad nature of the subject. The key areas were for public engagement and consultation early on in the process, and to ensure internal council departments were engaged. In order to develop the work external stakeholders such as community boards, parish council and interest groups would also be consulted.
A Carbon Audit had been undertaken to establish a new emissions baseline and then to develop options for reaching net-zero by 2050. Further work would then be undertaken to consider bringing this forward to 2030. It was requested that a Select Committee working group be created to support and act as a ‘critical friend’ during the development of the Climate Change Strategy.
David added that there were also wider issues related to the role of the natural environment and addressing climate change, and the role the loss of species have in the natural environment. Work was being undertaken regarding the Environment Bill that was currently going through Parliament, as from this there would be two statutory duties, one regarding biodiversity net gain in the planning system and the Local Nature Recovery Strategy. A Supplementary Planning Document would be consulted on in how the council delivers the biodiversity net gain in the planning system. Regarding the Local Nature Recover Strategy a local habitat map would be produced and to identify where to deliver priorities for nature recover and creation areas. Work was also being undertaken with the Forestry Commission on tree planting across the county.
The Chairman noted there were two formal committee meetings scheduled before the February Cabinet meeting. The working group would meet in between these meetings to act as a ‘critical friend’ and to ensure the process for the Climate Change Strategy was a robust as possible. An email to request volunteers for a working group on a cross party basis would be sent out following the meeting.
In response to questions the following points were noted:
· The Committee were assured that Cabinet Members would have due consideration to the climate change agenda during the budgeting process. There was commitment across all the council to achieve zero emissions.
· Regarding recruiting staff to help with the strategy it was noted that there were experienced officers in the areas of work required working at the Council and recruitment would take place when needed. It was noted that two posts had been appointed to support the Head of Energy in developing the strategy and gathering information about energy efficiency of the council. The Strategy was being led internally however external support had been brought in regarding the Carbon Audit.
· Members were informed that both Ed and David were part of the ADEPT network which supported officers with best practice across councils with regards to climate change.
· Regarding tree planting a member noted that a reLEAF project had been undertaken in Haddenham and a tool kit had been developed to enable parish and town councils to increase tree cover. It was suggested that the council could adapt this tool kit to support tree planting.
· The Carbon Audit was focussed on the council’s operations and did not include leased out buildings. There was government data available for the wider county emissions. It was noted that this was a complex process due to various data sources to gather, measure and model based on various assumptions.
· Parish and town councils would be involved in the consultation process through local council associations and the community boards and consideration would be given on the best way to support their work with regards to climate change. The Chairman noted that members had a duty to work with their local parish and town councils with regards to the Climate Change Strategy.
The Chairman thanked the officers and Cabinet Member for the update.