Surrey Heath Borough Council approves Climate Change Action Plan

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Wild Orchids in the Wildflower Meadow, Lightwater Country Park

Surrey Heath Borough Council approved a Climate Change Action Plan at a meeting of its Executive last night (16 March).

The Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) outlines the Council’s priority actions for tackling climate change and will form the basis of the Council’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The CCAP has been put together by the Climate Change Working Group and SHBC officers, following the Council declaring a Climate Emergency in October 2019.

It focuses on the Council taking related actions internally and with suppliers, but also on SHBC’s role in partnership working and encouraging residents and business to play their part too.

The plan is split into six areas – Energy, Transport, Environment, Behavioural change, Operations and Monitoring.

Priority actions include changing the Council’s electricity supply to a 100% green energy tariff and embedding carbon reduction objectives into all decision-making processes in the Council.

The CCAP will evolve as more information is gathered, and regular updates will be shared on the Council’s progress towards the targets set in the plan.

The Action Plan draws directly on Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy which the Council endorsed at the meeting.

Leader of SHBC Cllr Alan McClafferty said: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges that our society faces.

“The adoption of this Climate Change Action Plan shows our commitment to tackling this vital issue, and outlines the steps we need to follow to achieve our aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

“We all have a responsibility to prevent waste, protect our environment and reduce our carbon footprint where we can. This will help slow the effects of climate change and keep our communities safe and healthy.”

The plan builds on existing SHBC actions and initiatives underway, including the installation of Electric Vehicle charging points in some Council-owned car parks and the rollout of LED lighting in Council buildings and assets.

Surrey Heath has been near the top of the English local authority areas for recycling rates for several years and in partnership with Joint Waste Solutions and Surrey Environment

Partnership will continue to encourage and support local people in this key effort.

SHBC signed Surrey County Council’s agreement to reducing single use plastics (SUP) in March 2019, and work has continued in that area since then.

The introduction of our wildflower verges scheme, supporting biodiversity and managing local heathland and green spaces sympathetically are other examples of existing Council initiatives and actions which will be built upon by the CCAP.

SHBC understand the power and importance of partnership working in the success of implementing the CCAP, and will continue to work closely with related organisations to achieve our goals.

The Council will also continue to inform and encourage local people and businesses to play their part in tackling climate change.

Part of this work includes the launch of our new Sustainable Surrey Heath webpages which offer a one stop shop for residents and businesses who want to find out more about ways they can help tackle climate change.

It covers areas like energy, transport and your home, and includes handy tips, advice, information on grants available, and explains how small actions can make a difference.

There’s also a Kids Zone for little eco warriors.

For more information on SHBC’s work on Climate Change visit surreyheath.gov.uk/climatechange