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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. 

Carbon neutral logo
 

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. The Council will review options and costs for low-carbon housing in Council-led housing schemes.
  2. Develop an action plan specifically aimed at reducing the number of fuel poor households across the borough, working closely with established affordable warmth partners.
  3. Work with the Housing Partnership to agree shared Climate Emergency goals, including the aspiration to work towards a carbon neutral borough by 2045, and work with social housing partners to deliver low-carbon housing and retrofit existing stock.
  4. Ensure the Council and housing providers support all forms of homeowners, tenants and occupiers to maximise access to all available funding opportunities for retrofit measures to improve homes, including the Green Homes Grant LAD scheme, energy redress programmes and others.
  5. Review the available domestic energy advice and support offer to ensure that government funding schemes are appropriately promoted and leveraged to achieve the highest possible carbon return on investment. This includes the Green Homes Grant.
  6. Review opportunities to support private sector landlords for whole house retrofit and other energy improvements for private rented properties that do not meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard.
  7. Review the feasibility of ensuring that all new builds (Council and private developments) include renewable energy and EV charging points and access to a high standard of broadband infrastructure.
  8. The Council will explore options for ensuring that new development should comply with the UN Sustainability Targets and the Anthesis targets.




Working with Partners and Government


  1. Support businesses and partners to sign up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. This commitment challenges organisations to reach net zero carbon in operation for all assets under their direct control by 2030.
  2. Work with Government and partners to review opportunities for significantly expanding whole-house retrofit programmes in social housing to support the achievement of Anthesis’ targets relating to low carbon energy, solid wall insulation, loft insulation and superglazing.
  3. Work with Homes England to deliver our shared priorities around climate change and ensure sufficient resource is available to deliver new build low carbon affordable homes and request that Homes England considers establishing and providing expert support to housing providers regarding delivery options for low carbon homes.
  4. The Council will respond to Government consultations to ensure that the legislative framework for Planning and Building Control promotes the ability for local areas to set higher standards for energy efficiency than the national minimum standards and puts a framework in place to ensure these standards are implemented.




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 switching to electricity for cooking.
  2. Switch provider to one that provides sustainable energy
  3. Ensure your home has LED lighting and draught-proofing.
  4. Upgrade your home insulation – loft, cavity wall and draught.
  5. Turn down your heating where you can, while remaining comfortable.
  6. Think about whole-house retrofit, particularly if carrying out renovations.
  7. Review government grant opportunities to improve homes.
  8. Consider opportunities for community-led housebuilding.





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. 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.





 
 
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. The Council will review options and costs for low-carbon housing in Council-led housing schemes.
  2. Develop an action plan specifically aimed at reducing the number of fuel poor households across the borough, working closely with established affordable warmth partners.
  3. Work with the Housing Partnership to agree shared Climate Emergency goals, including the aspiration to work towards a carbon neutral borough by 2045, and work with social housing partners to deliver low-carbon housing and retrofit existing stock.
  4. Ensure the Council and housing providers support all forms of homeowners, tenants and occupiers to maximise access to all available funding opportunities for retrofit measures to improve homes, including the Green Homes Grant LAD scheme, energy redress programmes and others.
  5. Review the available domestic energy advice and support offer to ensure that government funding schemes are appropriately promoted and leveraged to achieve the highest possible carbon return on investment. This includes the Green Homes Grant.
  6. Review opportunities to support private sector landlords for whole house retrofit and other energy improvements for private rented properties that do not meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard.
  7. Review the feasibility of ensuring that all new builds (Council and private developments) include renewable energy and EV charging points and access to a high standard of broadband infrastructure.
  8. The Council will explore options for ensuring that new development should comply with the UN Sustainability Targets and the Anthesis targets.




Working with Partners and Government


  1. Support businesses and partners to sign up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. This commitment challenges organisations to reach net zero carbon in operation for all assets under their direct control by 2030.
  2. Work with Government and partners to review opportunities for significantly expanding whole-house retrofit programmes in social housing to support the achievement of Anthesis’ targets relating to low carbon energy, solid wall insulation, loft insulation and superglazing.
  3. Work with Homes England to deliver our shared priorities around climate change and ensure sufficient resource is available to deliver new build low carbon affordable homes and request that Homes England considers establishing and providing expert support to housing providers regarding delivery options for low carbon homes.
  4. The Council will respond to Government consultations to ensure that the legislative framework for Planning and Building Control promotes the ability for local areas to set higher standards for energy efficiency than the national minimum standards and puts a framework in place to ensure these standards are implemented.




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 switching to electricity for cooking.
  2. Switch provider to one that provides sustainable energy
  3. Ensure your home has LED lighting and draught-proofing.
  4. Upgrade your home insulation – loft, cavity wall and draught.
  5. Turn down your heating where you can, while remaining comfortable.
  6. Think about whole-house retrofit, particularly if carrying out renovations.
  7. Review government grant opportunities to improve homes.
  8. Consider opportunities for community-led housebuilding.





 
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. 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.





 
 
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: 

Performance targets icon
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.