Climate change: case studies and notable practice

With climate change at the centre of much discussion, councils are coming up with innovative ways to decrease their carbon footprint.

A graphic green city-scape which says climate change hub above

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.

 

Air quality
Digital innovation
Energy
Garden waste
Litter
Planning and Strategy
Tree planting
Waste and recycling

More climate change case studies

 


Notable practice
 

Corporate

Local authority Bedford borough council

Region East of England

Target declared climate emergency and became carbon neutral by 2030

Project published a carbon management plan in 2011 and target to reduce carbon emissions by 40%. Pioneered schemes including a heat exchanger system in a local crematorium and an evaporative cooling project in 2012.

Carbon saving reduced carbon emissions by over 50%.

Further information

 

Local authority Chesterfield Borough Council

Region East Midlands

Target declared climate emergency

Project Established a climate working group to develop a costed action plan

Further information

 

Local authority Croydon

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

 

Local authority London Borough of Hounslow

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency

Project Commitment to reviewing the existing arrangements in place to reduce the council's carbon footprint and will identify measures towards a goal of making the councils activities carbon neutral and ultimately zero carbon within the shortest achievable time frame

Carbon saving net zero from council estates by 2030 and influence emissions reduction borough wide

Further information.

 

Local authority 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

 

 

Local authority Durham County Council

Region North East

Project Continued support for SME business, through the Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP), (£1.7 million EU investment for Durham SME’s) and development of proposals for district heating networks in Durham City.

Launch of a Single Use Plastics Pledge which over 250 individuals and organisations have signed up for.

LED lighting replacements for 17,000 streetlights, Gala Theatre and a number of council owned buildings including schools.

A move to greater numbers of electric vehicles including the council's 26 pool cars. The first two electric vehicles for our service fleet were introduced to operations in January 2020.

A substantial programme of tree planting supported by successful schemes such as the £820 000 Woodland Revival and £1million Urban Tree Challenge Fund, as well as new schemes such as a commitment to plant 10,000 trees in each Area Action Partnership area. In total this would be an estimated 358,000 trees on top of the estimated 953,142 from 2000 to date.

The council (measured in 2018/19) has already reduced its carbon footprint by 47% from 2008/9 levels.

A £3million additional support for new climate change projects (in addition to existing commitments, European funded and invest to save projects).

Our Climate Action Plan is due to go before Cabinet on the 12th of February.

Further information

 

 

Local authority Cheshire West and Chester

Region North West

Project Established party Climate Emergency Taskforce to own this issue long term. Established Climate Advisory Panel with representatives from industry/ag/housing/transport etc to inform policy commission, chaired by Chief Executive. Developing action plan for council to be carbon neutral in its own ops by 2030 and Climate Emergency Response plan for borough to be carbon neutral by 2045. Plan to be published December 2020. Council wide actions underway to reduce emissions in own ops.

Related costs £300k per annum ongoing revenue, £7.5 million capital over four years, to support carbon neutral Council ambitions

Further information

 

Local authority Greater Manchester combined authority

Region North West

Target Carbon Neutral City Region by 2038

Project Published a strategy in Feb 2019 in partnership with the Tyndall centre for climate change lead organisations on UK climate change. Growth in line with their Local Industrial Strategy.

Related costs 45 MW additional low carbon power. 10.3 TWh of additional low carbon heat.

Further information

 

Local authority 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

 

Local authority Runnymede Borough Council

Region South East

Project Reduce demand for energy and lower carbon dioxide emissions

Further information

 

Local authority Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Region South East

Target declared a climate emergency and carbon neutrality by 2030

Project the Council is undertaking a carbon audit in the early part of 2020 and will be developing a revised carbon management Plan with short, medium and long term targets to work towards its ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.  The Council is also working in partnership with Kent County Council, Medway unitary and Kent local authorities in developing the Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emission Strategy with a view to supporting carbon reduction across the whole borough.  As part of the Councils Climate Emergency declaration the council is also considering best options with regards to citizen engagement and is due to develop this further in 2020.

Further information

 

Local authority Forest of Dean District Council

Region South West

Target for the council and the district by 2030

Project Instructed service delivery company Publica to provide additional staff resource to develop a carbon reduction programme to meet 2030 targets. Carbon reduction coordinator appointed.

 

Local authority Stroud District Council

Region South West

Target Council became carbon neutral in 2015; councillors have committed to make the district carbon neutral by 2030. The first council to achieve carbon neutrality on its own estates in Europe in 2015.

Project Created post of 'carbon neutral project officer' and ringfenced funding from its business rate pilot gain to support work.

Further information

 

Energy

Local authority Cambridgeshire County Council

Region East of England

Target Declared a climate emergency in May 2019. Set five targets for the council including 50% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2023 and delivering council owned buildings owned and occupied and fleet vehicles (excluding gritters!) to be fossil fuel free. Also includes adaptation targets and biodiversity targets.

Project A 12MW solar farm launched in summer 2019 with 45,000 PV panels which will generate enough electricity for 3,000 homes and saves 3,570 tonnes of CO2 per annum since 2017. £11 million investment into 55 schools to reduce annual carbon emissions by 3370 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum and £910,000 energy bill savings. A pipeline of projects is under development totalling £56million which will reduce carbon emissions from 2022/23 by 10.705 tonnes per annum. In addition, £583,000 of investment from a £1million energy efficiency investment fund has been delivered into 51 LED lighting upgrade projects and two low carbon heating solutions.

Related costs initial investment of a £9million into the 12 MW solar farm, £11 million in schools and a loan facility of £56 million from a pipeline of energy projects. Plus £1million energy efficiency fund. Totalling £76 million.

Carbon saving Current annual savings total's 6,944 tonnes and over lifetime will be 277,760 tonnes. By 2023 the pipeline of investments will add CO2 reductions and altogether this should reach 16,994 tonnes per annum and 679,760 lifetime savings.

Further information

 

Local authority Leicestershire County Council

Region East Midlands

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

Project Developing a 10 MW solar farm enough to supply 2,450 homes wall offset all of the energy used by County Hall plus £800k a year in income

 

Local authority 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

 

 

Local authority Tower Hamlets council

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency and target to be net zero emissions by 2025

Project Tower Hamlets council, which has set a target of net zero emissions by 2025, is using its carbon offset payments to fund a schools Energy Retrofit Programme, providing grants to schools to reduce their energy consumption. Schools are expected to save £5,400 on energy bills a year and reduce carbon emissions by an average of 53% a year. The council is also undertaking a phased programme to replace all street lighting with LED lighting, which will save for the council £2.7 million by 2020

Related costs £24,0000 grant programme and schools expected to save £4,700 on energy bills yearly

Carbon saving Reduce carbon emissions by average 53% per annum

Further information

 

Local authority Manchester City Council

Region North West

Target Target to be zero carbon by 2038

Project Construction on Manchester City’s Civic Quarter Heat Network to generate low carbon power for the city has begun. Initially 5 buildings will be connected to their HN.

Related costs £20 million project

Carbon saving Save 3100 tonnes of CO2 emissions in first five years

Further information

 

Local authority Oldham council

Region North West

Target Declared a climate emergency and make the council carbon neutral by 2025

Project Developing the Oldham Code, requiring better insulation, harvesting rainwater, and high efficiency heating based on a project called Rethinking Electricity Distribution Without Load Following (RED WoLF). This is the design of an all-electric heating system, combining solar cell renewable energy generation with battery storage and modern storage heaters.

Further information

 

Local authority Warrington Borough Council

Region North West

Target Declared a climate emergency and be carbon neutral by 2030

Project Warrington borough council is building a major solar power project across two sites at York and Hull to produce green electricity to power the equivalent of 18,000 homes. The York site will consist of a 34.7MWp hybrid solar farm plus a 27MW battery storage system. The whole site will have a 25.7MWp solar farm, will provide all the council’s electricity needs and will cut energy bills by £2 million a year. Both projects will cost a total of £62 million, generate £150 million over 30 years and save 31,000 tonnes of carbon emissions (based on replacing a combined cycle gas turbine power station)

Related costs £62.34 million cost and will generate a surplus of £150 million over 30 years

Carbon saving 31, 000 (based on replacing a CCGT power station)

Further information 

 

Local authority Kent County Council

Region South East

Target declared a climate change emergency and countywide target of net zero emissions by 2050. Zero waste to landfill by 2020.

Project Worked with Salix Finance who provided an interest-free loan to upgrade 120,000 streetlights to LED lighting. The loan is usually repaid from energy savings within a 5 year period (projects exceeding this will repay more per annum than the energy savings or can be part funded).

Related costs The cost of CO2e must be less than £191 per tonne over the lifetime of the project.

Carbon saving

Further information

 

Local authority Cotswold District Council

Region South West

Target In July 2019 agreed to  - Make the Council’s own activities net-zero carbon as soon as

possible, aiming for an 80% reduction against a 1990 baseline by 2030, and a 100% reduction by 2045, with no reliance on offsetting or the trading of carbon credits.

Project Achieve 100% clean energy use across the council’s full range of functions as soon as possible, and not later than 2030

 

Local authority West Sussex County Council

Region South East

Target In 2011, West Sussex County Council committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 50% by 2022. By 2018/19 it had achieved a 46% reduction in its carbon emissions from its original baseline. its annual sustainability report shows how they achieved this. In April 2019, WSCC's Full Council passed a motion pledging to try to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Project West Sussex County Council has installed solar panels on 80 schools to generate zero-carbon electricity and help them reduce their energy bills and impact on the environment. The schools simply purchase the green electricity from the council at a reduced rate compared to the electricity they would usually buy from the National Grid. This will lower school energy bills by £2,000 per year on average and save the County Council’s overall school energy budget £158,000 in the first year. These savings will increase over time as the cost of grid electricity rises.  This complements a Salix-funded programme of energy efficiency projects in West Sussex schools, including low-energy lighting upgrades.

Related costs Installation at no cost to the schools and council meet operation and maintenance costs.

Carbon saving

Further information
 

 

Local authority South Somerset District Council

Region South West

Target declared a climate emergency

Project Council has partnered with Opium Power Limited to create a new 25MW battery storage facility to provide power assistance to the national grid. This went live in March 2019

Related costs Invested £9.8 million

Further information

 

Local authority Telford and Wrekin council

Region West Midlands

Target declared a climate emergency and target to be carbon neutral by 2030 and free of single use plastic by 2023

Project Built a 4MW solar farm that powers 800 homes per annum and is expected to create a profit of £5 million over 25 years

Further information

Housing

Local authority Norwich City council

Region East of England

Target council became carbon neutral in 2015. Commitment to make the district carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner.

Project Delivered 100% Passivhaus certified scheme for social housing, comprising of 105 dwellings. Residents save circa 70% on their fuel bills

Related costs total project cost of one £7.3 million. Construction costs were £14.9 million. Funded by 30% retained RTB receipts and 70% HRA reserves

Parks and spaces

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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

 

Transport

Local authority Cambridge City council

Region East of England

Target In 2016 set an aspiration to achieve zero carbon status by 2050. Called upon the government to give LAs greater powers and to provide the national policies and the investment in renewable energy sources, home energy efficiency public transport and low emission vehicles needed to reach net zero carbon by 2030.

Project Projects include installation of 21 electric charge points in progress. Policy direction to require all taxis to be electric vehicles by a certain date. Councils can provide support through providing planning permission for electric vehicle only taxi ranks and subsidised licencing fees. Figures are based on 435 taxis, with a 60% reduction in CO2 through switching to EVs.

A 25% reduction in council GHG emissions since 2016, achieved through measures including energy efficiency measures in large council buildings saving 163 tCO2 annually. Measures installed included low energy lighting, a CHP system to utilise waste heat, new building management system to provide heating controls, and additional roof insulation

Related costs £18k pa (for two days a week of an officer to engage with taxi drivers and ensure planning provision is made for EV ranks)

Carbon saving 1,644 tonnes/yr based on entire taxi fleet becoming EV

Further information

 

Local authority Watford Borough Council

Region East of England

Target Declared a climate emergency and to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Project Watford has launched an innovative programme of transport solutions to help it meet to commitment to climate change. These involve: a dedicated travel app (travelWatford) to give people the information they need to make more sustainable travel choices, the introduction of the first bike share scheme in Hertfordshire (provided by Beryl Bikes) and an on-demand bus service the first supported by a local authority. In addition, it has invested in a new cycle hub for Watford to encourage more cycling, has an ambitious programme of EV charger installation and is piloting an innovative parking sensor project through the Internet of Things.

Further information

 

Local authority Northamptonshire County Council

Region East Midlands

Project As part of the government’s total transport initiative, Northamptonshire County Council used a ‘Big Data’ set to analyse local travel patterns. A new social enterprise board was created, which now has access to live travel information on around 32,000 travellers, covering almost 38% of all trips in the County carried out by employees and students associated with the parent organisations. This ‘Big Data’ set allows individual travel plans to be combined into a single virtual picture, enabling a radically different approach to transport planning.

Further information

 

Local authority Nottingham City council

Region East Midlands

Target Declared climate emergency and target to be a carbon neutral city by 2028. On track to meeting it 2020 target or 20% energy generation from renewable and low carbon sources.

Project Tram network runs on green electricity

Carbon saving Nottingham has already surpassed its 2020 target of reducing CO2 admissions by 26% (compared to 2005). In 2017, Nottingham had managed to reduce total CO2 emissions by 41% (49% reduction in per person emissions) from 2005

Further information

 

Local authority London Borough of Islington

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency and target of net zero carbon by 2030

Project Delivering the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle Streets programme - bans all non-zero emission vehicles from the Old Street and the City Fringe area at certain times of the day. Also replacing 160 of its fleet with vehicles that will either significantly reduce or eliminate emissions, to add to the 150 vehicles that are Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) compliant.

Carbon saving Nitrogen dioxide levels have reduced by 15% since 2012

Further information

 

Local authority Richmond upon Thames council

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency and carbon neutral by 2030. Reduce the use of single waste plastic by 2020

Project Campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow's third runway

Further information

 

Local authority Oxford City Council

Region South East

Target Declared a climate emergency in January 2019, to become net zero as a Council in 2020, and will be introducing the UK's first city centre zero emission zone starting in December 2020.

Project Plans for a zero-emission zone starting in December 2020. Under current proposals, it will see the introduction of a charging scheme in the Red Zone between 7am-7pm, with a £10 charge for non-compliant vehicles entering the zone. All Black Cabs licensed in the city now required to move from 0% electric today to 100% zero-emitting by 2025 and all buses running in most of the city to have one of the cleanest (Euro 6) engines by 2020 then be zero emitting by 2035 at the latest.

Further information

 

Local authority West Oxfordshire District Council

Region South East

Target Declared climate emergency and became carbon neutral by 2030

Project Developed framework for installation of EVCPs

Related costs up to £300k per year

 

 

Local authority Leeds City Council

Region Yorkshire and Humber

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

Project Launching a Clean Charging Air Zone (type B+) in 2020 to encourage businesses to transition to cleaner vehicles.

Further information

Waste and recycling

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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

 

 

Local authority Wigan

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

 

 

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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

 

Local authority 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