Climate action: our environment

How can we look after our environment and encourage others to do the same?

Climate change hub

Litter and fly-tipping is environmental vandalism – it’s unpleasant, unnecessary and unacceptable. Not only does fly-tipping create an eyesore for residents, it is also a serious public health risk, creating pollution and attracting rats and other vermin. 

Case studies

Councils are taking action to reduce their own carbon emissions and working with partners and local communities to tackle the impact of climate change on their local area. Below are examples of innovative case studies and ongoing projects from councils in specific areas. 

If you have a case study or piece of notable practice which you'd like to share with us, please fill out a case study template and submit it via email to [email protected], or simply email us with a few lines about what you’re up to. 



Reducing cigarette butt litter in Southend-on-Sea Borough Council 

Reducing the amount of litter thrown from vehicles in the New Forest in New Forest District Council 

Offline accessible reporting app by Telford & Wrekin Council 

Gloucester Digital App - Gloucester City Council and Gloucester County Council 

Waste (including food waste, garden waste and recycling)


Applying behavioural insights to improve food recycling in Wigan - Wigan Borough Council 

Improving Hampshire's recycling using behavioural insights - Hampshire County Council 

Reviewing household and trade waste collection in North Lincolnshire Council 

Waste and Zones Service Review in Colchester Borough Council 

Waste management in Craven District Council 

The London Borough of Havering are using behavioural insights to reduce household waste 

The London Borough of Hounslow are using behavioural insights to increase recycling in high rise flats 

Westminster is using behavioural insights to reduce the amount of abandoned waste on the streets 

Digital transformation in waste services by Sunderland City Council 

Transforming and digitising the refuse and recycling service by Scarborough Borough Council 

A behavioural approach to digital channel shift - Rochdale Borough Council 

Chatbot for channel shift: WasteBot - Newcastle City Council 

Digital channel shift - Blackpool Council 

Rother District Council are using behavioural insights to reduce demand 

Notable practice 

Colchester Borough Council

Region East of England

Project Review of waste and zones service resulting in a design of transformational change. This was a cost savings project

Related costs Annual revenue savings to the council of £750,000

Further information is available.

West Suffolk Council

Region East of England

Target Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2025 based on a baseline set in 2010

Project Better planning of waste collection routes using GPS mapping to reduce the need for more waste collection vehicles and fuel usage. Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council used geographical data to optimise the routes for refuse collection and street cleaning services.

Related costs Annual saving of £300000

Further information is available.

Southend on Sea Borough Council

Region East of England

Project Used the ‘nudge theory’ to inspire people to do the right thing with their cigarette waste and developed an innovative ashtray proven to reduce cigarette litter by 46% - the Ballot Bin.

Further information is available.

Stevenage Borough Council

Region East of England

Target Declared a climate emergency and achieve zero carbon status by 2050.

Project Launched the biodiversity action plan in 2010 and has been actively managing sites for biodiversity since in partnership with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and the council’s Green Space Volunteers. 4 parks have green flag status.

Further information is available.

Croydon Council

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency and target of being carbon neutral by 2030. Boost the borrowers recycling rate by 9%

Project Commitment to a £250,000 fund to support greener initiatives

Further information is available.

London Borough of Havering

Region Greater London

Project Received match funding from LGA to deliver a programme that seeks to reduce total waste tonnages collected from households in areas of high waste producers

Further information is available.

Sutton Council

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency and target to be carbon neutral by 2030

Project Since 2018, have begun the process of removing all single use plastics from council operations and contracts.

Further information is available.

Waltham Forest Council

Region Greater London

Project Will launch a new Climate Change Strategy and establish an independent Climate Emergency Commission to help shape the local response.

Further information is available.

Newcastle City Council

Region North East

Project Newcastle Digital Channel Shift project developed a WasteBot, an SMS text messaging chat box to replace a paper-based process for applying for household waste recycling centre permits that took up to 14 days and turned it into an accessible, easy to use, 90 second process

Further information is available.

Sunderland City Council

Region North East

Target Carbon neutral by 2030. Target to save £20,0000 by 2020. Sunderland was named the best place in the UK to find electric vehicle charging stations in a UK wide survey by green energy provider Tonik Energy.

Project Redesigning the online environmental services offer for customers who want to report environmental issues or request services such as bulk waste collection. This will involve redesigning web pages, integrating with Fix My Street and introducing Bartec (in-cab technology) into refuse vehicles.

Related costs cost of project £15,000 on track to meet exceed 2020 savings target. Being a 7,000 reduction in reports of missing bins and 80% reduction in reports of missed containers.

Further information is available.

Wigan Council

Region North West

Target declared climate emergency and achieved carbon neutrality by 2038.

Project Bin hangers, behaviourally informed leaflets and stickers and reminder emails were employed as nudge tactics to increase food waste recycling. The target rounds recycled 0.59 tonnes more food waste than the control, a 4.6% increase in weight of food waste recycled.

Carbon saving Emissions need to fall by 95% from 1,371,300 tonnes of carbon emissions (2016 figure) to meet 2038 target

Further information is available.

Brighton and Hove City Council

Region South East

Target carbon neutral by 2030 for the whole city

Project Establishing a sustainability and carbon reduction investment fund.

Further information is available

Buckinghamshire County Council

Region South East

Target Acknowledge the net-zero 2050 UK target, as contained in the 2008 Climate Change Act (as amended). That the new Buckinghamshire Council should consider addressing climate change as a key issue.

Project Began adopting digital solutions to managing meetings - Convene, which is an ipad app - in 2016 in order to save time, money and paper. Local authorities use 5.3 million reams of paper a year, requiring 292,000 trees to be felled. Moving to electronic meeting systems could dramatically reduce this waste. The Council has also adopted Lync/skype for business and teleconferencing facilities which are available in many meeting rooms for video conferencing.

Related costs £40k per annum for an officer to engage with stakeholders on food waste and £16m total cost for biogas plant

Carbon saving 2,635 (based on all food waste being used in the biogas plant - doesn't include the avoided methane from reduced landfill).

Further information is available

Surrey County Council

Region South East

Target carbon neutral by 2050

Project Surrey CC is planning to plant 1.2 million trees – one for every resident – and to replace wood used by businesses in the county. The council plans to work with the Woodland Trust and other conservation organisations on the project

Further information is available.

Hampshire County Council

Region South West

Target declared a climate emergency and target of carbon neutral by 2050

Project The Tree Strategy sets out Hampshire County Council’s approach to increasing and connecting woodland areas, green’ corridors and networks across the County.  It will supplement and connect existing sites through group tree planting, to create a County-wide ‘Hampshire Community Forest’.  The Council will support a programme of tree and wildflower planting on highways amenity land, and work with Partners to identify appropriate sites for improved management, natural regeneration and further planting to create the Forest. Engagement with the Forestry Commission, Forestry England and the Woodland Trust is ongoing.

Carbon saving Hampshire County Council has driven a 43. 3% reduction in its carbon emissions since 2010.

Further information is available.

North East Lincolnshire Council

Region Yorkshire and Humber  

Target declared climate emergency September 2019

Project The council has installed solar panelled compacting litter bins across parks in the area, which can hold up to ten-times more rubbish than a standard bin because they are designed to compress rubbish and therefore do not need to be emptied as often. The software installed in the bins collects data and generates wireless alerts when they are full and need to be emptied, which consequently saves time, reduces traffic and the cost of collection.

Further information is available

North Lincolnshire Council

Region Yorkshire and Humber

Project Review of household and trade waste collection in order to improve service performance, reduce costs, reduce tonnages and increase recycling.

Further information is available.


Resources from elsewhere

Forestry Commission

Trees, woods and forests play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change. Placing woodland creation at the heart of any response will result in efficient and effective carbon capture, as well as a range of other benefits. 

The ‘Responding to the climate emergency with new trees and woodlands’ leaflet has been produced to help local authorities and landowning businesses achieve net zero. It includes: 

- tips on creating and managing woodland 
- tips on reducing the use of non-renewable resources through wood and timber products 
- sources of further information on grant funding 

The Woodland Trust

Here are links to the support that the Trust offers to communities and councils for tree planting: 


For schools and communities

For large scale planting

Emergency Tree Plan checklist for local authorities

Emergency Tree Plan for the UK