Climate Change Action Plan: what is Allerdale Borough Council currently doing to tackle climate change?
Growing a Zero and Low Carbon Economy – within its sphere of influence as a local authority we seek to influence around a third of the area’s emissions through place shaping, partnerships and leadership. The Council’s Procurement Strategy makes reference to environment and sustainability in a purchasing context. Ongoing work with the other Cumbrian local authorities through EPiC (Effective Procurement in Cumbria) should help establish a consistent approach in helping to address climate change across Cumbria through sustainable procurement.
Reducing consumption and emissions
Council staff are encouraged to switch off computer equipment when not in use. Allerdale House was designed to be energy efficient though further improvements can be made. Audits for energy performance certificates are ongoing in relevant Council buildings. It is a legal requirement to display energy certificates in large public sector buildings. Work to reduce fuel poverty is ongoing. Inspections on homes under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System to assess decent homes includes energy efficiency.
The staff travel policy requires staff to make efficient journeys and consider public transport. Close working with partners has led to an extensive cycle network in West Cumbria. The Council currently promotes a scheme to encourage staff to cycle to work. Electric vehicles have been recently purchased for some Council Services. COVID19 has led to a change in travel and working patterns which has massively decreased road miles. Many of these adaptations will be retained for the future.
Planning to deliver Zero Carbon development
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, which involves three overarching interdependent objectives – economic, social and environmental. These objectives are delivered through the preparation and implantation of plans and the application of policies in the NPPF. The environmental objective includes mitigating and adapting to climate change. Section 14 of the NPPF relates specifically to meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change. Our Local Plan is consistent with the NPPF.
Building Control are ensuring that new developments have appropriate thermal insulation as required by the current Building Regulations and are helping construction companies build environmentally-friendly homes.
Allerdale Borough Council is delivering a recycling rate of 34% with a particular focus on the diversion of biodegradable municipal waste that was previously sent to landfill, and contributed to greenhouse gases from the landfill site. Ongoing work with the Cumbria Strategic Waste Partnership assists in waste reduction and recycling.
The recycling facilities for staff in Council offices in main offices include cans and bottles in addition to paper. The design and print tender specifications will include the need for use of recycled paper. Electronic versions of meeting papers are now the standard method of distribution. Old computer equipment is reused or recycled. Water coolers supplied from the mains are present in most Council offices which reduce the need for staff to use bottled water.
The Council’s AONB team manage the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Parks and Open Spaces team manages the Council’s two nature reserves at Harrington and Siddick Pond with help from community groups, and through an extensive programme for volunteers and education. The management plans for these areas are regularly reviewed to increase biodiversity, create carbon sinks and help slow run- off of water.
A Shoreline Management Plan for the North West of England and North Wales has been developed. This sets out the long-term direction for managing risk to our coastline. The Cumbria Coastal Strategy has recently been developed and is currently going through the approval process with all partners (Spring 2021).