New moves in climate change battle

Date Published: 29 October 2019

North Kesteven District Council’s nationally recognised commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat global climate change whilst supporting its residents has taken another step. 

A meeting of the authority’s Executive Board has agreed new council homes will be supplied with certified renewable electricity and there will be better monitoring and targeting of air pollution hot spots.

Council Leader Richard Wright said: “Our contribution towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions was recognised in Parliament and we were the first council in Lincolnshire to declare a Climate Emergency and commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.”

The Council has now agreed to:

  • Specifying that electricity connections to new council housing are certified as being from 100% renewable sources wherever possible
  • Pledge its commitment to the voluntary 30% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target in the Clean Growth Strategy for the public and higher education sectors so that it can report a reduction well beyond this target to the government
  • Buying two hand-held air pollution/particulate monitoring devices to better monitor levels and work with local communities in air pollution ‘hot spots’

Additionally a Plastics Reduction Policy strives to eliminate single-use plastics where that is possible. The policy contains an action plan for staff which includes replacing plastic stationery with biodegradable and reusable alternatives, a ban on plastic giveaways at Council events and the promotion of plastic free teabag brands to staff.

“The Council has been working to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 10 years in areas including energy and fuel use in buildings and vehicles and supporting reductions across the district. The Council’s emissions are down by 67% and across North Kesteven the reduction is 25% which has not only been good for quality and slowing climate change but has also brought savings of around £150,000 a year” said Cllr Wright.

“Our own buildings are now highly efficient and supplied by emissions from 100% renewable electricity tariffs. We are working on ways to be even more efficient in the way we use gas and oil.

“We are also working hard to reduce the emissions generated at our leisure facilities. Leisure and culture facilities now represent the largest proportion of our emissions and we are working closely with our contractors as we work towards reaching our zero emissions target.

“Building on a decade of investment in sustainable solutions for heating and insulation within our council housing stock, we are re-doubling our efforts to build sustainability into our new properties and to progressively retro-fit our existing stock of 3,500 older houses, supporting tenants in reducing the costs and environmental impacts of their own lives.

“We are also working with contractors and our own waste and recycling staff to make significant reductions on emissions from vehicles used to carry out council work,” said Cllr Wright.

The Council also recognises that providing young people with a voice on this agenda is essential and that is why it has supported the Live Earth primary school competition.

Now in its second year, the competition is organised by community group Global Sleaford, Christian Aid, Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant and the Council.

Cllr Wright said: “The result was fantastic. Four schools and 120 pupils took part and were taught about the causes, effects and some of the solutions to climate change. Teachers from the schools also received a tour of the Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant and were loaned renewable energy education resource boxes to take back to the classroom.

“The result was that I, as Leader of the Council, and the local MP, received 97 letters containing the children’s suggestions on how we deal with climate change. Twenty letters were then shortlisted and the authors were invited to read them at a prize giving event in the Council Chamber when I gave them a reply. Every child received a book on climate change and five books were donated to each school’s library.

 “The whole event was fantastic and a great way to enable young people to be part of the solution to our Climate Emergency.”

Live Earth Presentation 2019