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The Council adopted three principles -
that the plan will be:

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Number one

Democratically Led Process

Following the declaration, the Council took two actions; convening the cross-party Climate Emergency Taskforce and expert Advisory Panel to provide leadership to the Council’s response, and appointed Councillor Matt Bryan as the Leader’s Champion and Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency.  Since May 2019, the Climate Emergency Taskforce has met eight times to consider a range of key sectors and the contribution that the Council, partners, businesses and residents could make to tackling climate change.

Photo of Councillor Matt Bryan

Councillor Matt Bryan

Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning & Climate Emergency

 
Number two

An Evidence Based Process

To provide appropriate evidence to support the development of the Climate Emergency Response Plan, the Council commissioned Anthesis, a sustainability consultancy. Anthesis worked closely with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change research in recent years to develop a methodology to manage and monitor local authority level emissions. Locally, this work had several objectives.

 

  • The establishment of a baseline in Cheshire West and Chester that is compatible with carbon reporting standards such as the Carbon Disclosure Project;

  • The provision of a scientifically informed carbon budget for the Cheshire West and Chester area via the ‘grandfathering’ of UK’s national emissions budget under the Paris Agreement to the Cheshire West area;

  • Analysis using the Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emission Reduction (SCATTER) tool to review the impact of forty interventions at four ambition levels on the area’s emissions, in order to determine the scale of change necessary;

  • Given the borough’s significant agricultural economy and heritage, a review was completed of the emissions attributable to the agricultural sector’s activities in the borough. 

  • Finally, the Council requested additional information about its organisational emissions.

 

 

The outputs of this work are set out in full detail in Anthesis’ report. The document sets out the Cheshire West and Chester emissions baseline via SCATTER. This refers solely to the borough’s energy systems and excludes forestry, agriculture and land use, which are covered separately. 

 

Cheshire West and Chester emits approximately 4 million tonsof carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year, and that the primary contributor to emissions within the borough’s boundary is Industrial and Institutional Buildings, at 53 per cent of emissions, followed by on-road transport at 19 per cent, residential buildings at 14 per cent, commercial buildings and facilities at 11 per cent, with 1 per cent or less from rail, waterborne navigation, solid waste disposal, and wastewater.

 

The Council’s work has also been informed by a report from by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, produced for all UK local authorities, available in the background documents section, which supported the delivery of the second objective, the setting of a scientifically informed carbon budget for the Cheshire West and Chester area. The key recommendations of the report were that, to make its ‘fair’ contribution towards the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Cheshire West and Chester should:

 

 

  • Stay within a maximum cumulative carbon dioxide emissions budget of 24.0 million tonnes (MtCO2) for the period of 2020 to 2100. At 2017 CO2 emission levels, Cheshire West and Chester would use this entire budget within six years from 2020.

  • Initiate an immediate programme of CO2 mitigation to deliver cuts in emissions averaging a minimum of -14.0 per cent per year to deliver a Paris aligned carbon budget. These annual reductions in emissions require national and local action, and could be part of a wider collaboration with other local authorities.

  • Reach zero or near zero carbon no later than 2040. This report provides an indicative CO2 reduction pathway that stays within the recommended maximum carbon budget of 24.0 MtCO2. At 2040 5 per cent of the budget remains. This represents very low levels of residual CO2 emissions by this time, or the Authority may opt to forgo these residual emissions and cut emissions to zero at this point. Earlier years for reaching zero CO2 emissions are also within the recommended budget, provided that interim budgets with lower cumulative CO2 emissions are also adopted.

 

 

The third objective of the Anthesis work relates to the scale and pace of change required to achieve carbon neutrality in Cheshire West and Chester. The SCATTER model uses forty interventions which are considered across both energy supply and demand. Each intervention has a series of ‘ambition levels’ which are articulated as ranging from Level 1 to Level 4. Level 1 assumes minimal action beyond current, national policy (where sufficiently defined by sector or measure) and nationally led decarbonisation of the electricity grid. In contrast, Level 4 assumes that the region goes significantly beyond national policy and national grid decarbonisation, across both energy supply and energy demand measures. 

 

High-level analysis of the borough’s greenhouse gas emissions under SCATTER is set out below: 

Current Emissions Profile
Summary

The figures and charts presented below summarise the emissions relating to area administered by Cheshire West and Chester (CW&C).  There are two methods used for this estimation: one uses the Anthesis’ SCATTER tool, the other uses BEIS Local Authority Emissions data. 

Figure 1: SCATTER sector inventory for the direct and indirect emissions within CW&C excluding agriculture, forestry and land use

Figure 1. Pie chart showing the SCATTER sector inventory for the direct and indirect emissions within CW&C excluding agriculture, forestry and land use. Total emissions is Total 4,006 KtCO2e. Total Buildings equals 79%, Transportation equals 19% and Waste equals 79%.

Total 4,006 KtCO   e

2

Total Buildings - 79%

Transportation - 19%

Waste - 2%

Figure 2: SCATTER sub-sector inventory for the direct and indirect emissions within CW&C excluding agriculture, forestry and land use

SCATTER sub-sector inventory for the direct and indirect emissions within CW&C excluding agriculture

Total 4,006 KtCO   e

2

Industrial & institutional buildings - 53%

Residential buildings - 14%

Commercial buildings & facilities - 11%

On-road - 19%

Rail - < 1%

Waterborne navigation - < 1%

Solid waste disposal - 1%

Wastewater - < 1%

BEIS sector inventory for the direct and indirect emissions within CW&C pie chart

Total 4,100 KtCO   e

2

Industrial and Commercial - 64%

Domestic - 13%

Transport - 2%

District Energy System Pathways
Summary

 BEIS/SCATTER Overlap: The SCATTER model base year is 2015. More recent data has since been published by BEIS (grey botted line), enabling early comparison (shaded region). Emissions have increased in the CW&C district since 2015.

SCATTER Level 1: Assumes minimal action beyond current, national policy (where sufficient defined by sector or measure) and nationally led decarbonisation of the electricity grid. This will still require a significant level of effort locally.

SCATTER Level 4: Assumes that the region goes significantly beyond national policy and national grid decarbonisation, across both energy and energy demand measures.

CW&C Carbon Budget and pathways for the District-Wide Energy System.

District Energy System Pathway chart

Tyndall Paris Aligned Pathway: Unlike the SCATTER pathways, this is based on climate science, not tangible energy supply and demand measures within the region. This pathway is one way of allocating a finite, carbon budget (the area underneath). Alternatively, the budget would last 6 years at the current emissions levels.

2030: The date by which CW&C ‘ideally’ becomes zero-carbon

39% reduction against 2017 levels

92% reduction against 2017 levels

68% reduction against 2017 levels

Figure Four demonstrates that achieving carbon neutrality and meeting the Tyndall-aligned carbon budget in Cheshire West and Chester by 2045 would require a level of technical intervention that is not currently feasible under the most ambitious scenarios. It is therefore recognised that the 2045 target and carbon budget are exceptionally challenging based on the current policy, funding and technological environment. However, setting an exceptionally challenging target is in this case, appropriate, as it will facilitate speed of action in reducing carbon emissions, which is the most significant consideration in tackling climate change.

Figure 3: BEIS sector inventory for the direct and indirect emissions within CW&C including agriculture, forestry and land use

 
Number three

A Co-produced Plan

The scale of this challenge means that it cannot be addressed by a traditional, ‘top-down’ public sector response. The response to the climate emergency must draw on the skill, knowledge and enthusiasm of all our businesses, residents and partners if it is to be effective. Therefore, we have sought throughout this process to take a collaborative approach. This is exemplified by ensuring that all meetings of the Taskforce and Advisory Panel are open to public attendance, and that we will continue with a programme of co-production and engagement on this Plan throughout its lifetime, rather than treating this as a static document. 

Consultation

Given the scale of public interest and enthusiasm within communities to tackle the Climate Emergency, the Council has started a programme of internal and external communications activity to engage with staff and residents. Initially this involved ensuring that all relevant campaigns and stories include consistent messages on the significance of considering the climate impacts of the Council’s activities. 
 
The Council has also established a webpage to summarise its Climate Emergency Response, at: https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/your-council/councillors-and-committees/the-climate-emergency/the-climate-emergency.aspx
 
This page provides information regarding the times and dates of public meetings, the minutes of meetings, the Council’s commissioned research, and links to wider resources on climate change. To provide regular progress updates to residents and other interested local stakeholders, we have established a monthly e-newsletter which now has a regular readership of more than 1000, and the Council has a regular campaign of social media promotion and engagement on the issue of the climate emergency. 

This page provides information regarding the times and dates of public meetings, the minutes of meetings, the Council’s commissioned research, and links to wider resources on climate change. To provide regular progress updates to residents and other interested local stakeholders, we have established a monthly e-newsletter which now has a regular readership of more than 1000, and the Council has a regular campaign of social media promotion and engagement on the issue of the climate emergency. 

 

The Council held a public evidence session on Friday 24 January. We received more than 100 written evidence submissions and public speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives. The key messages from this session are included in the action plans section of this report. The minutes and webcast of the meeting are available on the Council’s website. 

 

In February 2020, the Council held a Climate Summit, “West Cheshire Action on Climate Change”, in order to bring together a diverse range of stakeholders from the public, private, third sectors and from our communities in order to share the outputs of our research develop a consensus regarding the scale and urgency of the challenge, and begin jointly producing solutions with our partners.  While in-person engagement has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to regularly engage digitally to ensure that we continued to share progress and invite contributions from the public.

Photo from React Now launch at Chester Racecourse
Photo from React Now launch at Chester Racecourse

The Council has engaged with a diverse array of stakeholders, including; 

Voluntary and community sectors groups such as the Chester Sustainability Forum and Friends of the Earth

  • Private sector partners in a range of sectors, including the energy, chemicals and manufacturing sectors

  • Receiving enquiries and public evidence submissions to inform the Public Evidence session of the Taskforce via ClimateChange@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk;;

  • Engagement with the Local Enterprise Partnership on the issue of the Climate Emergency to ensure this issue is central to the development of the Local Industrial Strategy. 

  • Engagement with local authority partners in the Cheshire and Warrington sub-region and in North Wales to align action to tackle the Climate Emergency, including supporting the delivery of shared priorities such as Growth Track 360. 

  • Engagement with partners in the local public sector, including the NHS, Police, Fire and Rescue service. 

  • Engagement with Housing Associations via the Housing Partnership;

  • Engagement with stakeholders via the Climate Advisory Panel such as;

  • Engagement with the Federation of Small Business;

  • Engagement with the Environment Agency;

  • Engagement with the Cheshire Energy Hub;

  • Engagement with WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme);

  • Engagement with Chester Zoo;

  • Engagement with the Mersey Forest;

  • Engagement with Grosvenor Farms.

  • Engaged with the University of Chester. 

 

Staff engagement will be central to the Council delivering on its ambition to be a carbon neutral organisation by 2030, and to support the borough to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. Given this ambition, the Council has rolled-out a mandatory e-learning module to all staff on carbon literacy to promote awareness of the changes that can be made in both a personal and professional capacity to reduce carbon emissions. This is accompanied by a corporate objective for all staff to complete this module and to take action to reduce carbon emissions within their roles. 

The Council believes that transparency of decision making is essential to maintaining and increasing public trust on this vital issue. In order to promote transparency, the Taskforce and Advisory Panel have held open meetings, with their agendas published on the Council’s climate emergency webpage. There have also been provisions for members of the public to ask questions of and make statements to the Taskforce. Through these measures, we want to create the conditions for this plan to be delivered in partnership with our communities. 

 

In addition to the extensive co-production and engagement undertaken in 2020 the Council launched a further consultation on 18 November, running until 6 January to seek any further views on the Climate Emergency Response Plan and Carbon Management Plan.