Agenda item

Climate Change and Nature Emergency Update

To consider the update on the Climate Change and Nature Emergency.


The Climate and Sustainability Manager presented the report on the Climate Change and Nature Emergency update. The Panel were given a summary of the report and the main points were as follows:


·       This latest report was an update, demonstrating the activity and efforts made across Council services and in partnership with external stakeholders, before the action plan would be published later in the year.

·       A New Forest Community Energy group had been created.

·       Software had been adopted to quantify carbon savings through the Council’s buildings and tree stocks.

·       Preparation and consultation of climate related planning documents had been undertaken.

·       The future purchase of renewable energy for the corporate estate had been agreed.

·       NFDC ranked comparably to its Hampshire counterparts in the UK Council Climate Scorecard assessment.

·       Opportunities linked to and dependent upon the corporate plan, transformation programme and asset and maintenance strategies had been identified.

·       There is now a need to move beyond foundation level projects already achieved by the Council toward systemic initiatives that will deliver significant improvements. How these initiatives will be resourced will be a key component of the delivery of the new strategy.

·       The new reporting schedule will see the publication of the strategy, action plans and annual reports at two points during the year; April and October. This new schedule will simplify the reporting process and accommodate the data when it becomes available.

·       Key spend on sustainability in 2023-2024 is on track for 100% utilisation in this financial year on the projects that are yet to be delivered.


Following the presentation, members of the Panel were able to ask questions and make comments on the report. These were as follows:


·       Following a question on the NFDC’s rating on Buildings and Heating comparable to other Hampshire Councils, the Panel were informed that the data used to inform the scorecard was area wide and did not just refer to NFDC buildings but the wider retrofit programme that NFDC have been supporting in Hampshire.

·       The Climate and Sustainability Manager confirmed, following a comment on data and targets contained within the action plan, that the Council would be providing contemporary data that is bespoke to the NFDC area. It was explained that how the Council would collect this data and resource the subsequent actions that would be among the most pressing aspects of the plan.

·       Members commented on waste management, in particular the approach to household recycling and food waste. It was noted that clear communications on recycling good practice would be useful to encourage positive behavioural change.

·       A member commended the Council on its placing in the UK Council Climate scorecard for Hampshire 2023 and highlighted that all Councillors have a responsibility to engage with climate and sustainability initiatives and to communicate good practice to their constituents.

·       One Panel member referred to the lower score achieved by NFDC in waste reduction and transport. It was heard by the Panel that the reduction of household waste, particularly food waste, would require localised behavioural change under a broader, national systemic change.

·       It was heard that the Waste Disposal Strategy would be a milestone of changing processes to contribute to sustainability within the District.

·       A member stated that communication, community and corporate were three elements that would be key to improving sustainability within the District and that these important elements would be linked within the corporate policy.




That the Panel:


1.1       That the Panel notes the climate action which has taken place to date.


1.2       That the Panel notes the scheduling of annual reports and action plans, in relation to the Council and the District’s response to the declared Climate Change and Nature Emergency. To align with the new reporting schedule, the current action plan delivery timeframe will be extended to April 2024.

Supporting documents: