The Committee was provided with an update on the development of the Council’s Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (developed by consultants, Arup) to outline the priority actions identified and to provide information on the governance structure and proposed plan for delivering the actions within the Strategy across the Council.
In November 2019, the Council approved its Carbon Reduction Plan (‘the Plan’) and the Derbyshire Environment and Climate Change Framework (‘the Framework’) following publication of its Climate and Carbon Reduction Manifesto in May 2019. The Plan set out how the Council could reduce emissions from its own estate and operations to net zero by 2032. The Framework set out an approach for all local authorities in Derbyshire to work together to reduce county-wide emissions to net zero by 2050.
Work over the last few years on reducing greenhouse gases had seen a 55% reduction in emissions from the Council’s property (excluding schools), streetlighting, core fleet and grey fleet and the Council had worked closely with partner organisations to further develop the approach and actions set out in the Framework. A lot more had to be done to remain on target to meet the ambition of being a net zero Council by 2032, or sooner, and for the Council to fully play its role in ensuring the county was net zero by 2050.
A series of workshops identified future steps needed to be undertaken to take the agenda forward as well as the development of an overarching strategy and action plan. Consultants, Arup, were commissioned and, through engagement had produced a Strategy and Action Plan to direct the associated programme of work for the Council in the short, medium and longer term.
The report went on to outline the structure of the Strategy which contained 28 priority targets across five key themes which committed the Council to playing its role in delivering net zero buildings, expanding local renewable energy generation, changing transport choices, generating green jobs and preventing waste being sent to landfill; these were presented in Appendix 2 to the report. These actions were supported by over 120 supplementary actions, initiatives and projects, which it was anticipated the County Council would either lead on or support.
The Strategy covered the period 2021-25 and would be reviewed and updated fully in 2025 to provide a Strategy beyond 2025. The targets set for each area would be revised as further studies were carried out and new priority actions and completion of existing actions were identified. The Strategy would also be complemented by the production of a Natural Capital Strategy and a strategy to build the resilience of Derbyshire to a changing climate.
The report detailed programme management and governance which included the establishing of a Climate Change and Environment Programme Board (CCEPB) to provide strategic oversight and direction for the delivery of the programme, make recommendations around the commissioning and resource implications of priority projects and initiatives and provide assurance that the programme was aligned with the Strategy and the Council’s carbon reduction targets.
Theme Teams were being established, each led by a Theme Lead to oversee the projects and activities relevant to their strategic theme. A Theme Leaders Group (‘the Group’), comprising of the Leads, and the Programme Manager, would co-ordinate activities across the themes. The Programme Manager would provide the link between the Group and the CCEPB. Identified themes and their respective Leads were listed.
The Strategy was undergoing a final detailed review which would then be shared and presented to CMT and shared with the Committee. It was intended that the Strategy would be presented to Cabinet in October 2021, with a view to it being launched and published shortly after, potentially as part of Derbyshire Country Council’s activities around the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26).
Committee members asked questions following the presentation, specifically around how the strategy would be embedded across the organisation, how the strategy would be resourced and the approach to public consultation. It was suggested that short term interim targets should be introduced to monitor the effectiveness of the strategy and to ensure the Council was on track to meet its targets in the long term.
RESOLVED – that the Committee (1) support the priority actions within the Climate Change Strategy;
(2) note the intention to present the Strategy to Cabinet in October 2021 and to launch and publish the Strategy shortly thereafter;
(3) support the governance structure that had been established to deliver the programme of work; and
(4) request that the final draft of the Strategy be brought to the Committee for its consideration.