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Cheshire West and Chester
Climate Emergency Response Plan

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CheshireWest and Chester Council logo

Foreword:

The measures set out in this plan will contribute to radically reshaping how we live in Cheshire West and Chester over the next three decades. But we do not currently have the powers and resources we need to go as far enough, so we will work with Government to seek to devolve these competencies to a more local level. 

 

As a Climate Emergency Taskforce, we unanimously believe that climate change is not a party political issue; it is an existential crisis that we must work together to solve. Therefore this Plan has been designed from the outset as a cross-party initiative, that is based on the best available evidence and data.

 

Half measures and partial efforts are no longer enough, nor were they for the past two decades. This Plan is designed with the principle of maximisation in mind. We must go as far as we can in all areas to tackle this issue. This will involve sacrifices and changes to our way of life but we will be a better place for it.

Councillor Matt Bryan

Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning & Climate Emergency

Executive Summary: 

In 2019 Cheshire West and Chester Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency and focus on climate change as an organisational priority. 

 

Cheshire West and Chester is, in many ways, a microcosm of the UK. Few places can claim to have such a variety of key emitters and sectors As a result of the concentration of industry in the north of the borough, the borough is the fourth highest emitting of all local authorities in the UK. This is a challenge, a responsibility, and an opportunity. 

 

In declaring a climate emergency, the Council is targeting the earliest date before 2045 that CW&C and the borough, as a whole, can be carbon neutral.

 

This report set out the scale of the challenge and the type of interventions that would be required. More importantly, it noted that research from the Tyndall Centre demonstrates that, unless unprecedented progress is made over the next six years, the limits set by the Paris Agreement  will already be breached within that period.

 

This plan sets out the actions that the Council will take alongside evidence on the borough’s current carbon footprint. It describes a range of actions to reach carbon neutrality including actions under control of the Council, as well as those the Council could advocate for the borough, and at national and international level. Actions generally can be categorised as those which are primarily mitigation-based – those that reduce carbon emissions, those that are adaptation-based – that reduce the detrimental effects of climate change, and those that will we will ask of our residents to effect change in their own lives.

 
 
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What is Carbon Neutrality?

Carbon Neutrality is a term that is interchangeable with the term ‘net zero carbon’. It refers to carbon dioxide emissions being balanced with carbon reduction (offsetting) measures such as tree planting and carbon capture and storage. It is essential that we minimise the need for carbon reduction measures by reducing our emissions as fully as possible. Typically, it is much more expensive to off-set emissions than it is to reduce them, so our efforts are primarily focused on carbon reduction.  Throughout this report, the term is also used as a proxy for the intent to achieve the area’s carbon budget, while recognising that this is highly challenging given the current technological, regulatory and funding environment. 

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The Council adopted three principles - that the plan:

Number one
Number two
Number three
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should be underpinned by the best available evidence and data

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should be
co-produced with communities to ensure it harnessed the skills and efforts of our residents

Over the next four years, the draft budget plan includes £1.6m in revenue spending, alongside more than £12.7m in available capital, to ensure that we can deliver on this priority. Appropriate performance measures will enable us to understand whether the actions are having an impact. The delivery of the plan will be kept under continual review by the Climate Emergency Taskforce, and an annual report will set out performance against identified metrics. 

 

The evidence available paints a stark picture. Information assessed by the Climate Emergency Task Force, concerning the high carbon-intensity of our industrial sector, and the radical nature of policy changes that would be required to meet this target, makes even the 2045 target and associated carbon budget exceptionally challenging to deliver.  

 

An inconvenient truth underlies this work. Our carbon reduction plan does not and cannot go far enough while remaining deliverable by a local authority. We need radical change in the political, social and economic context, beyond anything currently envisaged by either local or national government to deliver carbon neutrality. While we have not created the current situation; we have a moral responsibility to do all we can to resolve it. 

 
Energy and Industry header background
Map Shadow
Energy and Industry map illustration

Energy and Industry:

Emissions from industrial processes make up the largest single element of Cheshire West and Chester’s total emissions at approximately 2.1 million tons per year based on Anthesis’ SCATTER analysis, or 53 per cent of total emissions. 

Local Action:


  1. Purchase renewable electricity for the Council, beginning in 2020-21;
  2. In 2021-22, review the feasibility of purchasing ‘green’ gas for the Council’s buildings;
  3. When replacing heating systems in buildings, or including systems in new Council developments, our default option will be low-carbon alternatives to gas/coal/oil based heating systems.
  4. In 2020-24, review the establishment of a recycling fund to deliver renewable energy or energy efficiency projects, and prioritise in the Council’s capital programme improving the energy efficiency of public sector buildings through measures such as improved insulation.
  5. The Council will deliver Phase 2 of the Council’s LED streetlight replacement programme, reducing energy demand and speeding the achievement of carbon neutrality in the Council’s own operations.
  6. The Council will make available a Climate Emergency Fund in 2020-21, which among other uses will provide opportunities to expand community energy provision.




Working with Partners and Government


  1. Support in principle the development of a low-carbon hydrogen economy. The HyNet project aspires to capture 10 million tonnes of CO2 from the North West’s industrial cluster, add £17bn Gross Value Added to the North West economy, alongside supporting 5979 jobs. The Council will also explore opportunities for hydrogen to be mixed with the gas grid using existing infrastructure for the purposes of domestic and commercial heating. It is noted that the blue hydrogen proposed in HyNet is intended to be a transitionary step towards green hydrogen, and therefore the development of green hydrogen will also be supported by the Council.
  2. Work with the LEP, the Mersey Dee Alliance, Net Zero North West and Cheshire Energy Hub to review opportunities to reduce industrial energy use within Cheshire West and Chester, through projects such as the Energy Innovation District and E-Port Smart Energy Master Plan, which aim to aims to reduce the carbon emissions from the Ellesmere Port industrial cluster by 34 per cent by 2030;
  3. Working with the Liverpool City region on the Mersey Tidal project to seek to deliver clean energy to the Cheshire and Merseyside region;
  4. The Council will work with central Government and local industrial stakeholders to promote the development of funding mechanisms to ensure the economic viability of blue hydrogen, as a transitionary step towards green hydrogen, to enable the delivery of initial HyNet infrastructure by 2025.
  5. The Council will work with the Mersey Dee Alliance on the development and delivery of an energy prospectus.
  6. The Council will work with the local Energy Network infrastructure provider, SP Energy Networks, to assure the delivery of network upgrades to facilitate readiness for 100 per cent electric vehicles by 2030.




How residents can play their part:


We all need to change our habits and here are some suggestions to help make a difference:

  1. Switch to a renewable energy supplier;
  2. Install renewable energy generation at home;
  3. Plan to switch your home heating system to a renewable alternative, such as a heat pump.
  4. Consider the energy required to produce the products you purchase.





Transport header background

Transport is the second-highest emitting sector locally, only surpassed by industry; the majority of emissions from Transport relate to on-road transport (19 per cent of total emissions), with a minimal proportion (less than 1 per cent) attributable to rail and waterborne transport. 

Transport:

Map Shadow
Decrotive map showing traffic in West Cheshire

Local Action:


  1. Develop a Residential Design Guide that drives modal shift and supports the achievement of carbon neutrality. In-line with the government’s ‘Gear Change’ vision, develop separate cycling and active travel infrastructure that is designed around usability, that is joined up, and which feels direct, logical and intuitive. This will be achieved by creating segregated cycling infrastructure, re-balancing the street towards equal prioritisation of pedestrians, cyclists and cars, and supporting electric vehicle/low carbon vehicle infrastructure.
  2. All future major transport projects will have a carbon assessment as part of their business case.
  3. Review Bus Transport in 2021-22, working closely with local operators to review options for zero emissions buses on all routes, to create the conditions to achieve 51 per cent electrification by 2025 and full electrification by 2030. This will be enabled by provision of zero emission fuelling infrastructure, including hydrogen buses and future electric buses.
  4. Within the current Council Plan period, review the Local Transport Plan to strengthen provisions regarding climate change in-line with the Council’s Climate Emergency priority.
  5. Review the outcomes of e-scooter trials within Cheshire West and Chester.
  6. Procure zero emission vehicles where technology is available and cost effective when we replace our existing fleet.
  7. Ensuring that residents and businesses can access fast and reliable digital connections is a social and economic goal for the council. Whilst we have made some significant progress through the Connecting Cheshire programme to date there is more to do. Almost 39,500 premises having benefited from public sector funding for superfast broadband access, but we need to go further to address disparities in coverage and to ensure that all communities benefit from future technological change and growth. Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is nearing the completion of a Digital Infrastructure Plan, a key action from the Cheshire & Warrington Digital Strategy (published 2019). We are a strategic partner in this work and will be working with them once completed to help ensure it results in action and tangible outcomes for residents and businesses. Having the skills to know how to access and use digital devices and connections is also an important part of our focus and we are supporting this through the delivery of digital skills in our own adult education programmes and working with the Digital Skills Partnership for Cheshire and Warrington.
  8. Work with Building Digital UK (BDUK) through next phases of gigabit capable infrastructure programmes.
  9. Develop and support the work of the Sustainable Travel Taskforce in its goal to achieve consensus on ways to improve the delivery of inclusive walking, cycling and public transport projects.




Working with Partners and Government


  1. Support the development of Hydrogen infrastructure for trains, buses and road freight, and review opportunities for hydrogen refuelling stations on arterial routes.
  2. Work with partners and draw down funding from Government to increase the number of publicly available EV charging points developed by the Council.
  3. Support the development of Growth Track 360, which includes the electrification of the line from Crewe to North Wales.
  4. Continue to work with Transport for the North and Department for Transport on their respective key transport decarbonisation plans.
  5. Working with local partners, including Town and Parish Councils, schools and communities to improve walking infrastructure through improved pavement hedgerow control, dropped kerbs and suitable pedestrian crossings.




How residents can play their part:


We all need to change our habits and here are some suggestions to help make a difference:

  1. Consider if you can avoid the need for a journey by using technology;
  2. Prioritise making journeys by no-carbon options, such as cycling or walking;
  3. Where powered travel is needed, use public transport;
  4. Consider purchasing an electric or low-carbon vehicle;
  5. Share a car with a colleague or friend if you can;
  6. Aviation is a significant contributor to carbon emissions, and reducing our use of flights makes a significant difference to reducing our personal carbon footprints;
  7. Buy local products to reduce the emissions incurred to transport your goods to their destination;
  8. Consider offsetting your travel emissions by contributing to offsetting schemes.





 
 
Housing header background
Map Shadow
Decrotive map showing housing in West Cheshire

Housing:

Residential property makes up a substantial proportion of Cheshire West and Chester’s greenhouse gas emissions, at 572,000 tons carbon dioxide equivalent per year, or 14 per cent as of 2016 based on SCATTER data[1]. This is the third largest element of the borough’s emissions, following Industrial and commercial emissions and Transport. 

Local Action:


  1. Review the Business Needs Survey process, ensuring that this is used to gather baseline information on business needs regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation;
  2. Develop a communications plan that includes an information pack on the LetsTalkBusinessCW website that: provides helpful information to support SME’s to make changes; informs and engages business in this agenda; that supports business to access new initiatives and funding streams.
  3. Ensure that the energy efficiency of the Council’s own industrial and commercial assets improves in order to support the delivery of the Council’s own 2030 carbon neutrality target, further information is available in the Carbon Management Plan.
  4. Working with partner agencies, ensure that any regeneration or enterprise zone projects are designed with net-zero in mind and contribute to the achievement of net-zero by 2045.




Working with Partners and Government


  1. Work with the Local Enterprise Partnership to develop a long-term business grant programme (phase 2 programme) to support low-carbon and energy efficiency investments;
  2. Work with Government to develop new financial models to make commercial retrofit at scale a feasible option.
  3. Work with the Mersey-Dee Alliance to initiate activity as part of the MDA workplan.
  4. Embed low carbon discussions into the Inward Investment and Key Account Management strategy (in development).




How businesses can play their part:


We all need to change our habits and here are some suggestions to help make a difference:

  1. Understand your own emissions and environmental impact, including your supply chain;
  2. Switch to a renewable energy supplier;
  3. Engage with your landlords/tenants to switch to green energy;
  4. Access support available via existing schemes such as the LEP Blue Orchid programme, the LEP Low Carbon Energy Fund, and the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund;
  5. Install renewable energy generation at your premises;
  6. Plan to switch your heating system to a renewable alternative;
  7. Support your employees to work from home and use public transport;
  8. Switch your fleet to electric or low-carbon vehicles;
  9. Include carbon management and sustainability in your procurement policy;
  10. Ensure any land you own or manage promotes biodiversity.





 
Business Premises and Engagement header background

Commercial and non-domestic buildings fall within the 64 per cent of emissions derived from Commercial (11 per cent) and Industrial and Institutional buildings (53 per cent). Emissions from commercial buildings total 442,000 tons per year, the fourth highest emitting sector after industry, transport and residential. 

Business Premises and Engagement

Map Shadow
Decrotive map showing business premises and engagement in West Cheshire

Local Action:


  1. Review the Business Needs Survey process, ensuring that this is used to gather baseline information on business needs regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation;
  2. Develop a communications plan that includes an information pack on the LetsTalkBusinessCW website that: provides helpful information to support SME’s to make changes; informs and engages business in this agenda; that supports business to access new initiatives and funding streams.
  3. Ensure that the energy efficiency of the Council’s own industrial and commercial assets improves in order to support the delivery of the Council’s own 2030 carbon neutrality target, further information is available in the Carbon Management Plan.
  4. Working with partner agencies, ensure that any regeneration or enterprise zone projects are designed with net-zero in mind and contribute to the achievement of net-zero by 2045.




Working with Partners and Government


  1. Work with the Local Enterprise Partnership to develop a long-term business grant programme (phase 2 programme) to support low-carbon and energy efficiency investments;
  2. Work with Government to develop new financial models to make commercial retrofit at scale a feasible option.
  3. Work with the Mersey-Dee Alliance to initiate activity as part of the MDA workplan.
  4. Embed low carbon discussions into the Inward Investment and Key Account Management strategy (in development).




How businesses can play their part:


We all need to change our habits and here are some suggestions to help make a difference:

  1. Understand your own emissions and environmental impact, including your supply chain;
  2. Switch to a renewable energy supplier;
  3. Engage with your landlords/tenants to switch to green energy;
  4. Access support available via existing schemes such as the LEP Blue Orchid programme, the LEP Low Carbon Energy Fund, and the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund;
  5. Install renewable energy generation at your premises;
  6. Plan to switch your heating system to a renewable alternative;
  7. Support your employees to work from home and use public transport;
  8. Switch your fleet to electric or low-carbon vehicles;
  9. Include carbon management and sustainability in your procurement policy;
  10. Ensure any land you own or manage promotes biodiversity.





Land Use, Adaptation and Climate Repair header background

Land management can have a range of impacts on the mitigation of climate change through complex systems of emissions and sequestration (capture) of CO2. Cheshire West has a high density of dairy farming, that provide a challenge and also an opportunity for actions that can help to reduce green house gas emissions.

Land Use, Adaptation, Climate Repair

Map Shadow
Decrotive map showing land use, adaptation and climate repair in West Cheshire

Local Action:


  1. Purchase renewable electricity for the Council, beginning in 2020-21;
  2. In 2021-22, review the feasibility of purchasing ‘green’ gas for the Council’s buildings;
  3. When replacing heating systems in buildings, or including systems in new Council developments, our default option will be low-carbon alternatives to gas/coal/oil based heating systems.
  4. In 2020-24, review the establishment of a recycling fund to deliver renewable energy or energy efficiency projects, and prioritise in the Council’s capital programme improving the energy efficiency of public sector buildings through measures such as improved insulation.
  5. The Council will deliver Phase 2 of the Council’s LED streetlight replacement programme, reducing energy demand and speeding the achievement of carbon neutrality in the Council’s own operations.
  6. The Council will make available a Climate Emergency Fund in 2020-21, which among other uses will provide opportunities to expand community energy provision.




Working with Partners and Government


  1. Support in principle the development of a low-carbon hydrogen economy. The HyNet project aspires to capture 10 million tonnes of CO2 from the North West’s industrial cluster, add £17bn Gross Value Added to the North West economy, alongside supporting 5979 jobs. The Council will also explore opportunities for hydrogen to be mixed with the gas grid using existing infrastructure for the purposes of domestic and commercial heating. It is noted that the blue hydrogen proposed in HyNet is intended to be a transitionary step towards green hydrogen, and therefore the development of green hydrogen will also be supported by the Council.
  2. Work with the LEP, the Mersey Dee Alliance, Net Zero North West and Cheshire Energy Hub to review opportunities to reduce industrial energy use within Cheshire West and Chester, through projects such as the Energy Innovation District and E-Port Smart Energy Master Plan, which aim to aims to reduce the carbon emissions from the Ellesmere Port industrial cluster by 34 per cent by 2030;
  3. Working with the Liverpool City region on the Mersey Tidal project to seek to deliver clean energy to the Cheshire and Merseyside region;
  4. The Council will work with central Government and local industrial stakeholders to promote the development of funding mechanisms to ensure the economic viability of blue hydrogen, as a transitionary step towards green hydrogen, to enable the delivery of initial HyNet infrastructure by 2025.
  5. The Council will work with the Mersey Dee Alliance on the development and delivery of an energy prospectus.
  6. The Council will work with the local Energy Network infrastructure provider, SP Energy Networks, to assure the delivery of network upgrades to facilitate readiness for 100 per cent electric vehicles by 2030.




How residents can play their part:


We all need to change our habits and here are some suggestions to help make a difference:

  1. Switch to a renewable energy supplier;
  2. Install renewable energy generation at home;
  3. Plan to switch your home heating system to a renewable alternative, such as a heat pump.
  4. Consider the energy required to produce the products you purchase.





 
 
Waste and Recycling header background
Map Shadow
Decrotive map showing waste and recycling in West Cheshire

Waste and Recycling:

Cheshire West and Chester Council is one of England’s leading waste and recycling authorities. The area’s high performance does not, however, mean that the challenge to decarbonise waste is any less difficult, as many of the ‘easy wins’ to achieve higher waste and recycling performance have already been delivered locally, such as the implementation of food waste collections. 

Local Action:


  1. End avoidable single-use plastics in the Council’s operations;
  2. Work with Cheshire West Recycling to procure the most efficient and environmentally friendly fleet possible, including exploring purchasing electric or hydrogen vehicles;
  3. Review opportunities to use de-commissioned landfill sites to provide renewable energy.
  4. Explore the creation of an award scheme for sustainable businesses.




How residents can play their part:


We all need to change our habits and here are some suggestions to help make a difference:

  1. Reduce, reuse and recycle: By reducing the amount of waste sent for disposal you can make a massive difference.
  2. Reduce your use of single-use plastics,
  3. Buy products that use less packaging
  4. Reduce your food waste
  5. Recycle as much as you can to play your part;
  6. Buy local to support local agriculture and reduce transport emissions.





 

Next Steps

This report sets out the scale of the challenge faced in Cheshire West and Chester, the actions we plan to take and the performance indicators that will be used to track our progress. This plan is the product of a considerable amount of engagement, and is intended to be the start, rather than the end, of a process of ongoing co-production with Members, staff, residents and other stakeholders to ensure we can deliver on our goals.

 

Further work is required to quantify the resourcing requirements for the actions, and this will be undertaken once the actions have been reviewed by the Climate Emergency Taskforce and Cabinet, and their feedback and priorities are reflected in the Plan. There is also a requirement that this plan is aligned with future budget setting priorities.

The next steps for the development of the Climate Emergency Response Plan are: 

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Align the proposal icon
Further develop the actions icon
Engagement Icon
Decoration

Baseline performance targets based on the first year of data-gathering, where required. 

Align the proposals to the Budget process and review in year resourcing reflecting Cabinet’s priorities for action

Further develop the actions within the sectoral plans, prioritising the delivery of those that do not require additional resourcing and seeking to agree funding sources for those that require resource.

Engage with and partners, stakeholders, businesses and residents.

We are interested in hearing your views and opinions, if you would like to get involved please send us a message using the button above.