Climate emergency strategy and action plan

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Act on climate

North Kesteven District Council (NKDC) is working towards reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030. It’s an ambitious target that will take commitment from our residents, landowners and local businesses, as well as the Council itself. Whoever you are, you’re an important change-maker.

Act On Climate is our campaign to inform, engage and inspire our District to take action, collectively and individually, to tackle climate change.

The Council started on this path in 2008 by signing the Nottingham Declaration – a voluntary pledge to address the issues of climate change, which inspired us to begin reducing emissions from our operations and service delivery. In 2012, NKDC joined the Local Government Association’s Climate Local initiative to inspire more local actions on climate resilience, further demonstrating climate leadership.

This in turn led to the declaration of a climate emergency in July 2019; NKDC was the first council in Lincolnshire to take this step, and many others have since followed suit. In 2020 we aligned the Council’s actions and priorities to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – a raft of goals for all nations to target.

The journey continues, with the Council Leader in 2021 signing up to the UK100, a pledge to take the necessary action to resolve the climate crisis.

In the decade leading up to 2019, NKDC slashed its carbon emissions by over 63% and has since worked to reduce this still further. Government data for the District shows that emissions fell by 27% between 2005 and 2017. The target for both the Council and the District is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Our latest Climate Emergency Strategy, along with our Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP), was revised in 2022 and approved by our Executive Board on 1 November 2022. These documents reflect our ambitions and acknowledge the pathway towards our 2030 target. Understanding how fast technological advancement and climate science is evolving, we plan to review and republish our Climate Emergency Action Plan annually.

As part of our governance structure and to ensure accountability, all live actions within the CEAP are reviewed by the Executive Board every quarter. To complement this, we also have ‘Climate Emergency Action Plan Panel’ (CEAPP) meetings every two months, attended by senior management. In these meetings we address programmes of work associated with the CEAP, any associated projects and individual project delivery impacts. 

We also ensure regular engagement with Council Members is maintained, in support of our climate emergency agenda. This ensures that Climate Change response is integrated and supported throughout our governance structure.

In the coming months and years these pages will fill up further with information and ideas, so check back regularly for updates.

Come with us on the journey: play your part in cutting carbon and improving the environment in North Kesteven. 

Strategy and action plan

Our approach

In order to achieve our climate goals, our teams are working to the Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan. These set out the approaches we will take, and the actions needed to achieve net zero. Our full Climate Emergency Strategy and Action Plan documents are available to download and view from the Downloads section.

The plan is under continual review and any changes will be highlighted here and in our dedicated Climate Action email newsletter

Help us shape the action we take

The climate emergency is already impacting us all with more extreme weather each year.

What is your role? This is a daunting agenda so the strategy is clear on the action to be taken;

  • Reduce CO2 emissions from energy to net zero – Everyone needs to reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency in our homes and businesses.
  • Monitor emissions and removals of CO2 from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry – NKDC works with experts to better understand and monitor these emissions. Landowners and managers from gardeners to farmers need to increase CO2 capture and storage by high levels of tree planting, forestry improvements, and forestry management to compensate for non-CO2 emissions which cannot be eliminated e.g. agriculture. Whilst trees are vital, all natural storage options need to be considered and every piece of land is vital.
  • Reduce non-CO2 emissions – In addition to improving energy use we all need to improve the way we travel, what we eat, and reduce the waste we create. NKDC also needs the support of local industry to identify significant sources of these emissions to monitor and reduce them e.g. through Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry to absorb CO2 sufficient to help compensate for these non-CO2 emissions.

Reducing household emissions

Making a positive impact

Around 30% of the District’s greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes. This, added to businesses and leisure facilities, means that changes to buildings in North Kesteven have huge potential to make a positive impact.

  • To reach our target of net-zero emissions from energy by 2030 (a 95% reduction from 2005 levels), we need to reduce energy consumption and increase the energy efficiency in our homes. 
  • 176,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are released in the district each year from the energy used in our homes. 
  • 70% of these domestic emissions are from heating and hot water

We are gradually working to reduce the environmental impact of NKDC’s housing stock by retrofitting properties with energy saving measures. We’ve also set out our plan for zero-carbon new-build properties.

Through the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan we’re also pushing for higher environmental awareness with our net zero aims built in. 

To get updates on offers and incentives, sign up for our dedicated Climate Action email newsletter.

What can you do?

Boost your energy efficiency

Installing measures to improve your home’s energy efficiency will help you save carbon and cash. New funding is now available through the Home Energy Upgrade Scheme and the ECO4 scheme.

When the Government offers subsidies we’ll share information in our Climate Action email newsletter.

Check out our comprehensive list of tips for making your home more energy efficient and find out where you could save.

Switch to a renewable electricity tariff 

  • Switch to a certified 100% renewable electricity tariff to eliminate emissions from your electricity use. 
  • Check the fuel mix. Your energy supplier must tell you the mix of fuels used to generate your electricity. Not all ‘green’ tariffs guarantee 100% renewable energy, so check you are happy with the mix and if not, switch. 

These actions send a powerful message to energy providers that consumers want clean, green electricity.

Ask your energy supplier to install a smart meter

Smart meters (these are usually supplied by your energy provider) display your energy use to encourage you to change your behaviour to use less electricity, save money and reduce emissions. On average, homes with a smart meter use up to 20% less electricity than those without (also saving you money – that’s a win-win).

Smart meters also send automated readings to your energy supplier so that the national grid has accurate measurements of electricity consumption and can balance the significant demand we place on it. They also ensure you only pay for what you use and not an estimate.

The new generation of meters allow you to switch energy supplier. 

Ensure your heating and hot water are working energy efficiently

  • Set the programmer to automatically switch the heating (and hot water if applicable) on and off to suit your lifestyle. For example, set the heating to be off when you are out or in bed. 
  • Use the thermostat to set the house temperature and set radiator valves to medium. If you don’t have thermostatic radiator valves, get them fitted.
  • Every degree matters. Set your thermostat at no more than 18oC (unless you need it warmer for heath reasons). Start lower and increase the temperature one degree at a time to give the house time to warm up. 
  • Newer boilers have an automatic function to switch themselves on in very low temperatures – this is called frost protection. 
  • Myth busted: It is not cheaper to leave the heating or hot water on all the time.

Reduce the demand you place on the national grid. 

The national grid is struggling to supply the demand all our electrical devices put on it, particularly at peak times. 

Switch electrical items off completely and have as few electrical items as possible on at one time. 

Items that heat water (e.g. immersion heaters, washing machines and dishwashers) often use the most electricity so put these on timers to come on overnight when demand is low. You might save money with an ‘Economy 7’ package.

Reducing transport emissions

Emissions in North Kesteven and nationally

Well over a third of the emissions in the District are from transport. 

Before the pandemic, greenhouse gas emissions from transport had risen to the highest levels since 2005 in North Kesteven. 

National figures suggest post-pandemic transport movements are even higher as people are less likely to use public transport and are buying more goods online, significantly increasing van traffic. 

Think flexibly; every journey not taken in a petrol or diesel car improves air quality and lowers emissions.

An easy first step is to cut your idling time. If stopped in a queue of traffic or parked and waiting in your car (and you don’t have auto-stop), turn your engine off.  An idling engine uses the same fuel in two minutes as it uses to drive a mile. What a waste! And there’s all the needless fumes too. See the Health, Wellbeing and Communities section.

Myth busted: In modern cars it uses no more fuel to start the engine than it does to let it idle.

Come with us on the journey: sign up for our dedicated  Climate Action email newsletter.

What can you do?

Help deciding which low emissions vehicle to buy

  • The government has committed to ending the sale of new purely petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars by 2030, and all new cars and vans will be fully zero tailpipe emissions from 2035. 
  • Electric vehicles – Don’t be automatically put off by there being few public charging points right now. New vehicles have long ranges and most charging is done at home where it is cheapest, and overnight when the grid has the greatest capacity. There are rapid charging points on most major roads for long journeys, and more points are being installed all the time.
  • Plug-in electric and hybrid – Consider these first if you travel long distances.
  1. Get a discount on a home charging point - The Government offers up to £350 grant for having a home vehicle charger installed if you live in a flat (owned or rented) or any rented accommodation. Find out more on the website Your installer applies for the grant on your behalf and you must have a designated parking space.
  2. Get a discount on an electric vehicle - The Government offers a grant to people purchasing a new plug-in electric vehicle. If buying an electric car, you could get £1,500 off the RRP, for vehicles priced up to £32,000. For vans it’s £2,500. There’s also support for motorcycles and mopeds. Find out about which models are eligible on the website. Manufacturers or dealers apply for the grant on your behalf.
  3. Speak to those who own low emissions cars. They are often happy to answer questions and are an honest source of information about their cars, to dispel many of the myths and worries about the realities of low emissions vehicle ownership.
  4. Find electric vehicle charging points - Zap-map contains available public charging points, including those in the District at car dealerships, businesses, people’s homes and North Kesteven District Council’s points at OneNK Sport Centre, North Hykeham. 
  • Use public transport
  1. Regularly check if you can leave the car at home and take a journey by bus or train. Whether it’s once a day/month/week/year, every single journey not taken by car is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport and to ensuring investment to improve services.
  2. Many think that public transport in Lincolnshire is not a viable option, but over the years services have improved with more trains, contactless payment on buses, and apps to purchase e-tickets and see live bus times. 
  3. Plan bus trips in the county on Lincsbus.
  4. Plan a bus trip, save your regular journeys, book tickets, and download their app for a live map of stops, services and bus arrival times Stagecoach bus company website.
  • Active travel
  1. Consider whether you need to use a car for every journey you make. Can you walk, cycle or scoot instead? Maybe an e-bike would make car-free travel easier?
  2. 24% of journeys are of less than a mile (figures from DfT, 2017). That’s a 20-minute walk (or less!) There are lots of benefits to leaving the car at home for these short trips:
  • Save money on fuel and parking charges
  • No parking or traffic hassles
  • Improved fitness and wellbeing
  • Lower emissions – instantly better air quality and a contribution to climate change
  • Find walking routes and cycling routes.

Capturing carbon – we can all help

Carbon capture

Not only can we work towards sustainable sources becoming the main way we generate electricity, we can also take steps to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) already in the atmosphere. Trees, plants and even the soil itself capture carbon from the air and store it away. 

Come with us on the journey: sign up for our dedicated Climate Action email newsletter.

What can you do?

Increase the carbon you capture

  • As individuals and families we can all capture our own little bit of carbon. 
  • Could you plant a tree in your garden, and/or add more shrubs and plants? Trees aren’t the only answer!
  • Limit hard landscaping: lay less, or remove it and add low-maintenance and/or ground cover plants instead. 
  • Let your lawn, or part of it, grow longer – this is great for nature too!

Join together with your local community to support efforts to increase plants and trees in your neighbourhood.

  • Support rewilding or reduced mowing schemes
  • Work together to plant new trees or increase the plants in your area. For example, community groups can apply for free trees from the Woodland Trust

Landowner grants

Reduce use of natural resources

Reducing consumption

Extracting natural resources to feed our consumer lifestyles disrupts nature’s cycles and is a main driver of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Reducing our consumption will have a global impact, not just on climate, but on the scourge of pollution and waste, such as plastics in our oceans.

Come with us on the journey: sign up for our dedicated Climate Action email newsletter.

What can you do?

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Did you know that ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ is more than just a catchphrase? It’s a process! Changing what and, importantly, how much we buy has a major impact on the waste we create; we can all shift our mindsets around the things we buy and use.

First, reduce the waste you generate – this goes hand-in-hand with reducing your consumption. For each purchase, consider whether you really need it; perhaps you could borrow the item, or buy it second-hand? If you do need to buy it, can you make the purchase in as low-impact a way as possible? For example, choose the fruit that doesn’t come in plastic, and plan meals so less food is wasted.

Look at the rubbish in your bins to identify where you can change your habits.

Next, reuse items – if you can’t reduce the waste, can you reuse it somehow? Or can you pass disused items on to friends, family, neighbours or charity? Social media sites such as Facebook are a great way to let people know you have something they might need.

Recycling should be the last resort. If there’s absolutely no way to reuse something, then recycle it responsibly. Learn what can and can’t be recycled, and how to do it.

Manage your waste and recycling

Learn more about how we handle waste, and how you make a big difference to the success of the recycling and waste management process. See our webpages on waste and recycling.

Love every drop of water to reduce emissions

Fresh water and sewage go through an energy-intensive process to make it safe to reach our homes and before it reaches water courses.

Heating water is also energy intensive at home so reduce your hot water use to reduce your emissions and bills.

Get water saving tips and devices from Anglian Water’s Love Every Drop campaign.

Improving health and wellbeing in our communities

Individual actions

Individual and collective climate actions can have benefits far beyond tackling climate change. 

Reducing car journeys helps your health and wellbeing, and reducing idling of motor vehicles has widespread health benefits for you and others.

We’ll share more info and ideas through our dedicated Climate Action email newsletter.

What can you do?

Stop idling - reduced emissions improve air quality and save money:

  • If you are likely to remain stationary for more than a couple of minutes, apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions. The engine must not be left running in an unattended parked or stationary car on a public road (The Highway Code Rule 123).
  • Older cars – As long as your engine restarts easily without using the accelerator, it will not damage your engine to switch off. (RAC Advice)
  • Newer vehicles – If you have stop-start technology which automatically switches your engine off, and on, don’t be tempted to override it with the accelerator until you are ready to move.

We work with schools in the local area to promote air quality campaigns with the aim of reducing parent/guardian idling and raising awareness.

Boosting the natural environment

Managing the natural environment

We live in one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. Taking action on climate change is all about protecting the natural ecosystems that make all life on earth possible including ensuring a stable climate system. How we manage the natural environment can provide opportunities and challenges for reducing emissions, and we’ll work with partners and on our own estate to do the best we can for nature.

Sign up for our dedicated Climate Action email newsletter to stay up to date.

What can you do?

Visit the countryside, parks and open spaces in NKDC 

Healthy ecosystems provide the natural services that make all life possible. Our land is managed to improve interconnected multifunctional urban and rural green infrastructure, reverse biodiversity loss and store carbon emissions. We seek advice and work with expert partners to improve land management in the District. Find out more about biodiversity in North Kesteven here

Find the location of your next visit and the projects we have underway on our countryside, parks and open spaces page.

Improve your garden to protect and increase biodiversity

Altogether, the UK’s gardens cover more land than its national parks. They are essential carbon stores, help flood prevention, reduce heat, and are havens for humans and wildlife. 

So leave your lawn a few inches longer, make yours a low carbon gardenplant up your front garden and driveway and share them with wildlife.

Engaging business in climate action

NKDC is actively looking for ways to work with the business community and to maximise the opportunities of the green economy.

Take a look at the work of our Economic Development team at the BusinessNK website for more. If you’re a business, reach out to us and let’s discuss how we can work together.

Sign up for our dedicated Climate Action email newsletter to stay up to date.

Adapting to the impacts of climate change

Unpredictable weather

We need to adapt and become more resilient to the extreme weather events climate change is already causing. Extreme unpredictable weather will become more frequent, with summers becoming hotter and drier and winters warmer and wetter. See the Met Office website for more information.

If you live in a private rented property, our Environmental Health Team can inspect your home for hazards that may affect your health such as excess heat and cold.

Sign up for our dedicated Climate Action email newsletter to stay up to date.

What can you do?

Hot weather 

The planet’s plants and water help keep it cool, so decrease hard surfaces around your home (see the ‘Improve your garden’ section). Keep curtains and windows closed to keep the heat out, especially windows facing the sun, and follow NHS advice.

Cold weather 

Close curtains from dusk until dawn and follow NHS advice.


Hard surfaces increase the risk of flooding, as does compacted soil. Reduce hard surfaces and do not park/drive on grass verges and green spaces. Again, more plants and trees will help. Follow government flood advice.