“In Autumn 2019 East Cambridgeshire District Council
declared a climate emergency. In doing so, we agreed to
explore a wide range of actions to improve our local
environment and do our bit to help mitigate climate change.
One such commitment was the preparation of this
Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan
(EnvPlan), and I am delighted to introduce this to you.
This Council has already done many things such as boosting
recycling, improve cycling and walking infrastructure and
securing better environmental standards in new development.
But we can do much more, and we must do more. We can do this both directly, through our own
operations, but also by helping to facilitate change in partnership with residents and businesses across
the district.
This EnvPlan sets out our vision, which is that by 2050 or earlier the Council’s operations will reach
net zero carbon emissions and, in partnership with all stakeholders, for East Cambridgeshire as a
whole, with clear and demonstrable progress towards that target year on year. At the same time, our
vision is to support our communities and East Cambridgeshire’s biodiversity and environmental
assets so they can adapt and flourish as our climate changes.
To guide us towards meeting that vision, this first ever EnvPlan sets out where the Council’s current
emissions come from so we can identify those areas we will focus on, therefore maximising
meaningful reductions over the coming months and years.
This EnvPlan also sets out how, here in East Cambridgeshire, we can make significant improvements
to our natural environment, by creating new habitats and enhancing the special places we already
have.
This is our first EnvPlan. Achieving our long-term vision will take years of hard work and commitment,
a change of culture to one of “think zero” by default and the setting of new projects and targets year
after year.
This EnvPlan is therefore only the first step. But if we deliver what this ‘first step’ is aiming to achieve,
we will, by next year, have already made a real difference. Influenced by what you told us we should
do through the Ideas Forum that ran over Winter 2019/20, we:
• Will have reviewed our entire electricity and gas contracts, and, provided we are able,
amended them to 100% renewable electricity tariffs and 100% carbon off-set gas tariffs;
• Will have put in place a completely new ‘think climate, think nature, think communities’
culture throughout the Council, with compulsory staff training and compulsory carbon impact
assessments for key decisions;
• Will have thoroughly researched how the Council’s biggest CO2 emitter – our bin lorries – can
become less carbon intensive, perhaps through electric vehicles or new ways of working, and
put in place a detailed plan to achieve it;
• Will have completed or started a new wave of energy efficiency improvements on The Grange
– our second biggest CO2 emitter after bin lorries;
4
• Will have worked with, lobbied and persuaded our partners to take action to cut their emissions
and bolster the natural environment;
• Will have adopted two new Supplementary Planning Documents, one on the Natural
Environment and the second on Climate Change, which will give the Council additional powers
to require new development to contribute to achieving our vision;
• Will have started a new tree planting programme, where opportunities to do so have been
found.
With the Covid-19 outbreak still in its early phases, we are of course presently living in uncertain and
worrying times. The pandemic, as awful as it has been and continues to be, has brought a collective
examination of what is important in life with a new sense of increased value being placed on our
natural environment and on the importance of having time to appreciate it. The recovery from the
pandemic therefore requires us to think about a different future and to capture and nurture those
positive things that people have experienced.
Nature has had a welcome break from human activity during the pandemic and is thriving; air quality
has improved and CO2 emissions fallen across the globe. We’ve also seen Government promise
large sums of money to boost cycling and walking, and East Cambridgeshire is well placed to take
advantage of these opportunities as it concludes its extensive Bus, Cycle, Walk consultation. We
must take advantage of all these opportunities, to make lasting positive change.
We cannot do this alone. We are committed to working with the whole district to reduce emissions
and boost the natural environment of East Cambridgeshire for current and future residents to enjoy.
We need your help, your suggestions, your pledges.
And you have been fantastic so far, offering hundreds of suggestions through our ‘Ideas Forum’ which
we have carefully reviewed, and many of which we have incorporated in this plan. Please keep your
ideas coming.
Together we can make a real difference.
Together we can achieve a clean, green, East Cambridgeshire.
Together we can do our bit to minimise global climate change.
Anna Bailey
Leader – East Cambridgeshire District Council”

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