Agenda and minutes

Improvement and Scrutiny Committee - Climate Change, Biodiversity and Carbon Reduction - Monday, 18 September 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Matlock. View directions

Contact: Juliette Normington  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive Declarations of Interest (if any)


There were no declarations of interest.



Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To confirm the non-exempt minutes of the Improvement and Scrutiny - Climate Change, Biodiversity and Carbon Reduction meeting held on 3 July 2023.


RESOLVED – to confirm the non-exempt minutes of the meeting of the Improvement & Scrutiny – Climate Change, Biodiversity and Carbon Reduction committee held on 03 July 2023.



Public Questions pdf icon PDF 61 KB

30 minutes maximum in total for this item.  Questions may be submitted to be answered by the Scrutiny Committee or Council officers who are attending the meeting as witnesses, on any item that is within the scope of the Committee. Please see the procedure below for the submission of questions.


1. Question received from Councillor Gez Kinsella:


At the last full council meeting in February a question was asked by Anne Thoday about the limited decline in projected emissions from DCC’s core and grey fleet over the next 10 years.


On the issue of the core fleet Anne asked, how long it would take to convert all the council’s vehicles to ZEVs. No specific answer was provided by Cllr Lewis. The counties core fleet stands at 550 vehicles, and I understand five vehicles were replaced by ZEVs in 2022 with plans to replace another four this year.


On the matter of the grey fleet Anne also asked about the plan for reducing the carbon emissions from the council’s grey fleet; Cllr Lewis responded saying DCC are ‘working with industry experts across local government and academia’.


When will you publish a clear plan, including a projected target date to replace all core business fleet to ZEVs? Secondly, is there a plan and targets in place for the reduction of carbon emissions from grey fleet and can these be shared?  Will employees be consult on this plan, as they can offer expertise on effective business practice change to reduce grey fleet mileage?


Response provided:


The Derbyshire County Council core fleet (excluding non-core school minibuses and plant) at the end of September 2023 will be 398 vehicles in total, this is following current disposals of non-CAZ compliant vehicles and the delivery of 10 new gritters and 5 new EV vans.


The table below shows the number of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and Full Electric vehicles per vehicle type.


Vehicle Type

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)

Full Electric










Light Commercial Vehicle (vans)













A core fleet replacement programme for vans to transition from diesel to electric is in place. The implementation of this programme and the target for replacing 20 vehicles per year will be achieved once the necessary EV charging infrastructure is in place, which will include additional charge points installed at County Hall and new charge points installed at all Council depots where scheduled replacement vehicles are sited. The Sustainable Travel Team is developing the strategy for a comprehensive charging network across the Council’s estate, which includes undertaking the necessary feasibility assessments and charging technology option appraisals.


A new policy is being considered to support the transition of 60% of Council diesel vans to electric that are based at employees’ homes. Solutions for either providing charge points at home for these employees or changing the way services are provided so that electric replacement vans can be charged efficiently at other charging locations are being investigated, with preliminary discussions between Fleet, relevant Services and HR having already commenced.


In addition to vans, the Council currently has 75 HGVs within its fleet. Most of these vehicles are now Clean Air Zone (CAZ) compliant and the remainder will be CAZ compliant by April 2024 or will  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25/22


Climate Change Portfolio Update


Councillor Barry Lewis, Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture, Tourism and Climate Change, gave a verbal presentation, providing an update to the Committee on the climate change work of the Portfolio Holder.


Building on the launch of the Derbyshire Climate and Carbon Reduction Manifesto in 2019, and the establishment of the Council’s net zero target of 2032, or sooner, the Derbyshire County Council Climate Change Strategy: Achieving Net Zero (2021-2025) was developed and subsequently approved for adoption by Cabinet on 14 October 2021. The Strategy was now almost two years into its implementation and the majority of the actions and targets within the Strategy were on track to be achieved, with some already exceeded.


The Council’s emissions had fallen by 64.2% between the baseline year of 2009-10 and 2021-22. This included a 43% reduction in emissions from Corporate Property since 2009-10 and an 83% reduction in emissions from streetlighting.


To ensure further emission reductions the Council remained on track to achieve net zero by 2032, or sooner, Corporate Property had been developing a decarbonisation plan for the Council’s corporate estate. The Sustainable Procurement Policy was approved by Cabinet in July 2022 and was being applied on contracts. The Council had also produced a policy to reduce the amount of Single Use Plastics it uses in its buildings and the services. It was recognised that, even with significant effort to reduce emissions from the Council’s estate and activities, there would be some residual emissions that would need to be offset to ensure the Council meets its net zero target. As such, opportunities for an increase level of renewable energy generation on Council buildings and land, as well as increased carbon sequestration through tree planting, were actively being investigated and implemented.


The Climate Change Planning Guidance and Metric had been developed, which achieved a commendation in the Best Plan of the Year category in this year’s East Midlands Royal Town Planning Institute’s Awards for Planning Excellence. As well as this, the Derbyshire Spatial Energy Study and the Derby and Derbyshire Minerals Local Plan had also been developed as well as the Strategic Framework for Council action for progress to net zero energy in Derbyshire.


The Council was formally supporting a number of community energy projects. As well as proving funding and support through the Green Entrepreneurs Fund, Derbyshire Grants and DE-Carbonise.


With recent Active Travel England Capability fund grant awards, the Council would now begin to develop a series of local market town scale active travel plans. This workstream would be a primary focus of the next 12 months and look to explore the opportunities, barriers and interventions required to ensure walking, wheeling, and cycling can plan a key role in daily movement needs of Derbyshire’s residents and visitors. A Public/Stakeholder Engagement Report for the joint D2N2 Draft Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan was being finalised for publication and to inform the final Plan for Cabinet Member endorsement.


In 2021 the Council commissioned a Natural Capital Strategy for the county. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26/22


Reducing the Environmental Impact of Business Travel pdf icon PDF 108 KB


Alan Marsden, Head of Strategic Transport and Sustainable Travel, introduced the report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting and gave an update on activities within the Council that sought to reduce the environmental impact of travel, including work being undertaken to reduce the Council’s ‘grey fleet’ mileage, electrify its fleet vehicles and promote/raise awareness of public transport and active travel initiatives for staff.


The report was accompanied by a presentation that gave further detail into reducing the environmental impact of business travel.


The key strands to reducing the environmental impact of business travel were:


-       Roll out a Council wide electric vehicle sharing programme and electric vehicle charging points at all key Council sites, coupled with a behaviour change campaign and evaluation of working practices to facilitate a zero emission fleet;

-       Develop car share and cycle to work schemes;

-       Provide discounted bus and rail ticket offerings; and

-       Advocate and create awareness through support of national campaigns, such as Cycle To Work day and Travel Wise week.


By the next meeting of the Committee in December 2023 officers would have received Government Guidance and ‘policy playbook’ to support quantifying carbon emission reduction from transport (to support preparation of a new Local Transport Plan). Would be able to provide an update on the delivery programme for the electric vehicle charge point network across the County Council estate. And would have completed a review of sustainable travel initiatives offered to employees and their effectiveness in reducing grey fleet emissions.


Following a number of questions on the subject, committee members agreed that an item on the bus networks be added to the work programme. As well as be provided with further detail on avoiding unnecessary trips, insisting on alternative methods of travel, and what was in place to encourage employees to purchase electric vehicles.




1) Note the update on activity to reduce the environmental impact of travel, including work being undertaken to reduce the Council’s ‘grey fleet’ milage, electrify its fleet vehicles and promote/raise awareness of public transport and active travel initiatives for staff; and


2) Discuss and consider the progress being made, share issues and raise questions as appropriate.


The Council’s Role in Decarbonising Derbyshire’s Housing pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Additional documents:


Caroline Toplis, Programme Manager for Climate Change, introduced the report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting and gave an update on the work being undertaken by the Council in supporting the decarbonisation of Derbyshire’s housing.


The report was accompanied by a presentation.


There were a number of existing schemes and funding; UK Government Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, UK Government Homes Upgrade Grant, UK Government Local Authority Delivery, and ECO 4 Local Authority Flex.


Derbyshire County Council:


-       Supported the Warmer Derby and Derbyshire Helpline;

-       Delivered the Healthy Home project, which offered people with a long-term health condition help with cold homes; and

-       Provided online advice on saving energy and information on the help available with paying fuel bills


The challenges that Derbyshire faced were that a fifth of homes in Derbyshire were off-grid, the difficulty retrofitting homes in conservation areas and historic buildings, limited information and support available to homeowners, as well as a limited supply chain already under high demand.


Officers had been holding a number of engagement exercises; a multi-stakeholder community engagement exercise on retrofit, three online surveys, face-to-face meetings and focus groups, attendance at community events, and dialogue with community groups.


The outcomes of the engagement informed the draft Action Plan to 2025 which had been out to consultation. The Action Plan was to be co-delivered with local authorities, communities, and other stakeholders.


The Action Plan included knowledge and advice for residents to help them gain a further understanding into the options available to them. As well as further work on skills and training and supply chain development.


The Council worked with a number of community groups on skills and training, officers would provide Committee Members with a list of these groups.




1) Note the work being undertaken by the Council in supporting the decarbonisation of Derbyshire's housing.


Work Programme

Additional documents:


Committee members agreed that an item on the bus networks be added to the work programme.