Climate change and sustainability

Climate emergency declaration

We declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ on 17 July 2019. Councillors have pledged to take local action to contribute to national carbon neutral targets through the development of practices and policies, with an aim of making Elmbridge Borough Council as an organisation carbon neutral by 2030.

Our carbon footprint

The Carbon Footprint Baseline Report (2018/19), produced by the Carbon Trust, was the first step on our journey to becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

The Carbon Trust audited our buildings (mainly the Civic Centre and seven Centres for the Community) in winter 2019, collecting extensive data and identifying carbon reduction opportunities.

Our operational carbon footprint for direct operations was equal to 1,236 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) (2018/19). Emissions from council-operated activities primarily come from electricity and gas consumption across council-operated buildings, alongside fuel consumption associated with council-owned vehicles.

Our total carbon footprint was 6,203 tCO2e. Most of our bigger emission sources are buildings we own but lease to others (approx.100 buildings, 4,022 tCO2e) (2018/19). This includes emissions from our leisure centre or those parts of the Civic Centre which we lease out to external organisations such as Surrey County Council or Surrey Police.

The borough’s total carbon footprint equals 674,000tCO2.

Carbon management and reduction plan

Our Carbon Management and Reduction Plan 2020-2030 is our ten-year action plan to reduce carbon emissions and reach our target to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

The plan proposes carbon reduction actions in the following areas:

  • Organisation emissions: proposing actions such as solar photovoltaic (solar panel) installations
  • Transport and air quality: proposing a shift to a fully electric council fleet
  • Housing and planning: proposing to engage with homeowners, landlords and residents to promote retrofitting measures and funding opportunities
  • Buildings and infrastructure: making sustainability and carbon considerations integral in the development of the new Local Plan
  • Monitoring and evaluation: monitoring operational carbon emissions and reporting on progress
  • Carbon offsetting: proposing to consider offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions

Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy

We have endorsed the strategic ambitions and priorities of Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy.

The strategy sets out the joint ambition of local authorities across Surrey to address carbon emissions so that residents can live in clean, safe and green communities and embrace their environmental responsibilities. Find out more on A Greener Future for Surrey.

Your carbon footprint and how to reduce it

Do you know your carbon footprint?  You can find out about the average Surrey resident’s carbon footprint with Surrey County Council’s online tool.

You can also estimate your own personal carbon footprint with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) carbon footprint calculator.

Climate change governance       

We will establish a Climate Change Member Advisory Panel to focus on strategic and policy matters. More information will follow once the Panel has formed and its terms of reference have been agreed.

We also have the Energy and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny Working Group to review progress on the Single-use plastic action plan 2019/20 and to explore other areas relating to sustainability that can make a positive difference to our communities and the borough.  This includes behaviour change, electric car charging, recycling, cycling, drinking water stations and afforestation.

The Surrey Environment Partnership (SEP) is made up of Surrey County Council (SCC) and the 11 district and borough councils in the county. It aims to manage Surrey’s waste in the most efficient, effective, economical and sustainable manner.

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