Climate Change and Environment Strategy

Refreshing our approach to the Climate Crisis 

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.

In 2021 the Joint Administration committed to putting climate change and biodiversity at the heart of the Council’s work and to be more ambitious than ever before about the work needed to tackle the climate and environmental crises.

Climate Change and Environment Strategy 2022

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.

We recognise, and take seriously, the opportunity we have to provide much needed local leadership to tackling the climate crisis in Cambridgeshire. This new Strategy is our commitment to working for and with people, communities, businesses and all political parties to deliver - urgent action across Cambridgeshire. This ambition and our principles will provide a practical framework to guide creativity and collaboration.

Our Strategy is made up of three key documents, all of which can be downloaded below:

Part 1 - Climate Change and Environment Strategy 2022

Part 2 - Technical Report

Part 3 - Action Plan

We have also 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 priority areas upon which we will focus our action. These are split into three themes:

Three categories of action are: Mitigation - Efforts to reduce or prevent emissions, Adaptation - Actions that help us cope with the effects of climate change and Natural Capital – Elements of the environment that provide us benefits

Our priority areas

Actioning our 9 priority areas will help us achieve our targets while maximising the wide reaching benefits of our work.

  1. Communication and engagement with Businesses and our communities
  2. New economic models and sustainable finance 
  3. Energy efficient, low carbon buildings
  4. Low carbon transport – prioritising walking, cycling and public transport, and supporting the uptake of electric vehicles 
  5. Waste and Pollution - Reducing waste, minimising pollution, and rethinking how we deal with the waste we produce 
  6. Green spaces, restoring natural habitats and Beneficial land management 
  7. Peatland - developing understanding of the scale of the challenge and opportunities for management best practice
  8. Water management, availability and flood risk, to improve water quality while improving resilience to flooding and droughts
  9. Resilience of our services, Infrastructure and supporting vulnerable people

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.

The Council's sphere of influence: The Council has direct control over its carbon footprint; The Council has direct control to set specifications for the procurement of goods and services; The Council has direct control of its policy making, but is influenced by community needs and partners; The Council has influence on partner and governmental strategies, but no direct control; The Council can influence our communities to share our vision and encourage them to take there own action.
The Council's sphere of influence. This describes the varying levels of control the Council has over different actors who will need to contribute to climate changes action.

Action plan

Accompanying our Strategy is an Action Plan. This sets out the 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:

  1.   Understanding flood risk in Cambridgeshire;
  2.   Managing the likelihood and impact of flooding
  3.   Helping Cambridgeshire’s citizens to understand and manage    their own risk
  4.   Ensuring appropriate development in Cambridgeshire
  5.   Improving flood prediction, warning and post flood recovery

Under development. 

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: mlei@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

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.

Strategy downloads

Part 1 - Climate Change and Environment Strategy 20221.06MBpdf
Size: 1.06MBFile format: pdf
Part 2 - Technical Report3.39MBpdf
Size: 3.39MBFile format: pdf
Part 3 - Action Plan243KBpdf
Size: 243KBFile format: pdf
Cambridgeshire Plastic Strategy 20191.31MBpdf
Size: 1.31MBFile format: pdf
Joint Municipal Waste Strategy 2008-20222.09MBpdf
Size: 2.09MBFile format: pdf
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Corporate Energy Strategy1.49MBpdf
Size: 1.49MBFile format: pdf