Climate and Environment Emergency Declaration
Human driven Climate Change is the greatest environmental challenge of our time. Driven by human activities, our climate is changing at an unprecedented pace and scale that threatens all life on Earth. There is an urgent need for stronger and more integrated action.
In recognition of the scale of this threat , through a unanimously supported motion we declared a Climate and Environment Emergency in May 2019, which set us on a pathway to securing a sustainable future for our County and its residents.
Saying that the council had a responsibility as a ‘caretaker’ of the environment for future generations, Councillor Count, Leader, said:
“People of all ages, all walks of life and all social and economic backgrounds in Cambridgeshire are becoming increasingly concerned they will leave or inherit an environment that is irreparably damaged, forcing others to live with the consequences of the decisions we make today.”
Climate Change and Environment Strategy
Climate Change is a very real challenge for our communities, businesses and nature. We believe that, as a Council, it is our responsibility to act now. We must: reduce the contribution the county is making towards Climate Change, improve our resilience to the climate change that has already happened, and reduce our impact on the natural environment.
The scale of this challenge is vast, so we will need help to make a difference. Working together we can act faster and make a bigger difference.
Following our declaration of a Climate and Environment Emergency, we have approved our Climate Change and Environment Strategy, Carbon Footprint for 2018/19 and our Action Plan. These set out our ambitious plans to reduce our own and the County’s carbon footprint, and to support others in their efforts.
We have identified the contributions we as a Council and Cambridgeshire as a region make to greenhouse gas emissions – these are detailed in our Carbon footprints.
We have also identified the biggest contributors to those emissions, and created 15 priority areas upon which we will focus our action. These are split into three themes:
Our priority areas
Actioning our 15 priority areas will help us achieve our targets while maximising the wide reaching benefits of our work.
Our Priority Areas are:
- Energy efficient, low carbon buildings – ensuring buildings have high energy efficiency while supporting residents in their own homes to decarbonise
- Low carbon transport – enabling and encouraging use of low carbon transport
- Waste management – improving how we deal with the County’s waste
- Afforestation and land use – ensuring our estate maximises environmental benefits, and exploring how to expand tree canopy cover
- Peatland – working with partners to trial innovative project that minimise peatland damage
- Resilience of our services and supporting vulnerable people – ensuring our services can cope with climate effects and help our vulnerable residents to cope
- Resilient infrastructure and highways – using innovations to improve resilience of our highways
- Flood risk – innovation to enable us to better cope with unpredictable extreme weather events
- Water availability – working with partners to improve the County’s water security
- Green and Blue Infrastructure – work with partners to develop a network of green space and water assets which can deliver quality of life and environmental benefits
- Reducing waste and tackling plastic pollution – work with partners to improve recycling options and build confidence in the recycling system
- Air pollution – work with partners to deliver projects and policy to improve air quality across the County
- Green spaces, habitats and land management – improve and develop policy and partnership working to make space for nature
- Peatland – work with partners to improve peatland condition
- Water management – work with partners to better manage our waterways for biodiversity
Sphere of influence
As a Council, we only have direct control over a small proportion of carbon emissions in Cambridgeshire. But with the help of our partners and communities we will be able to make a bigger impact, going faster and further than we are able to alone.
In this strategy, we recognise our sphere of influence, sharing where we can act and where we must work with partners and our communities to bring about change. It defines the levels of action that can be taken across Cambridgeshire and highlights where we must work to bring our communities with us on this transition to net-zero.
Accompanying our Strategy is an Action Plan. This sets out over 100 actions we are taking to reach our climate ambitions. The full action plan is available to download below.
We have many other strategies and policies in place that sit beneath the Climate Change and Environment Strategy. These focus on specific work areas, but all aid in the delivery of our ambitions.
Our Plastics Strategy was approved by Full Council in July 2019. The strategy describes how we will play our part in reducing our use of single use plastics, consider the cradle to grave impacts of plastic products procured as part of our wide range of services, and lead our supply chain and the broader community to find new solutions and innovations to help solve this problem.
The Strategy outlines our vision to secure renewable and resilient energy supplies and infrastructure that can support local needs. We will do this whilst maximising commercial benefit for the councils and our communities and making best use of our combined assets to reduce carbon emissions and environmental impacts.
The Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 2008-2022 sets out direction, aims and objectives of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Waste Partnership (known as RECAP) working together to achieve more sustainable waste management for their communities. It outlines our vision and key projects which will assist in RECAP achieving our targets of:
- 50 – 55% of household waste recycled/composted by 2015
55 – 65% of household waste recycled/composted by 2020
This strategy outlines how Cambridgeshire can sustainably manage its waterways to manage flood risk across the county.
There are 5 key objectives within the strategy:
- Understanding flood risk in Cambridgeshire;
- Managing the likelihood and impact of flooding
- Helping Cambridgeshire’s citizens to understand and manage their own risk
- Ensuring appropriate development in Cambridgeshire
- Improving flood prediction, warning and post flood recovery
We are developing a Tree and Woodland Strategy for our own estate. It will describe how we will seek to manage and plant trees we have responsibility for, and how we will expand canopy cover on our property.
Our vision for our trees is to:
- Manage our trees sustainably and carefully to ensure they are located and looked after in ways that maximise their benefits to the council, and;
- Enhance and expand our own trees and woodlands to ensure the benefits can be realised and shared.
The Strategy will be under development over the next few months, and it is anticipated a draft will be available for consultation in the Autumn. Until then, if you have an comments or suggestions please do get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Minerals and Waste Core Strategy sets the framework for all minerals and waste developments until 2026. It sets out policies to guide mineral and waste management development and will:
- ensure a steady supply of minerals (construction materials eg sand and gravel) to supply the growth that is planned for the area
- enable us to have new modern waste management facilities, to manage our waste in a much better way than landfill
Crucially, the plans set out requirements for minimising the environmental impact of any projects, including requirements for ecological restoration of sites once they are no longer actively in use.
Please Note: Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are in the process of reviewing the joint Minerals and Waste Development Plan. The current Core Strategy Development Plan Document (DPD) was adopted in 2011 and the Site Specific Proposals DPD was adopted in 2012. These two plans are being reviewed and a single joint Minerals and Waste Local Plan (MWLP) covering the two authority areas is being produced to replace them.