Agenda item

Introduction from Executive Director: Delivery and update on action plan


Kevin Gibbs, Executive Director: Delivery presented an update on the Climate Change Strategy.


Kevin recommended that Panel members and members of the public read the Climate Change Strategy which set out the areas of work which the Council had been doing thus far, and the planned work for the future.


During the first COVID lockdown, there had been significant national reductions in energy and carbon usage. During Summer 2020, the UK went coal-free for the first time, and the decarbonisation of the grid continued to be developed nationally. During lockdown, people were driving less and walking more, and felt that they had made sustainable changes to their lifestyle which could be continued. However, since the lockdowns had eased, the population had generally returned to business as usual.


Members had adopted the Climate Change action plan at full council, and asked for measurable but ambitious annual targets.  A report on progress would be brought to full Council on an annual basis.


The Climate Change strategy had four pillars: working with partners, working with schools and young people, preserving COVID benefits and preserving the natural environment. It was recognised that the majority of change needed to happen in areas over which the Council did not have control, but the Council could play a role in community leadership, lobbying and promoting.


The update on the action plan for this quarter covered the following highlights:

·        The Executive had agreed the Climate Change Advisory Panel.

·        Officers had met with the Bracknell Industrial District (BID) to discuss how local business could lead on climate change.

·        The Berkshire Leaders had agreed a strategy for Strongs Heath to focus on climate change options, for example solar power.

·        A new communications manager had been appointed for the food waste communications.

·        The Cambian Partnership had adopted environmental standards for the development of Coopers Hill and Market Street.

·        The Council’s decision making report template had been update to capture the impact on climate change.

·        A sustainably energy officer had been appointed, with the focus on retrofitting buildings in the community and replacing boilers. Additional external funding had been received for this work.

·        Bracknell Forest had the highest food waste recycling figures across the re3 partnership.

·        An anaerobic digestor plan was being investigated for the borough, and the Panel was asked to support an £11k viability study into this project.

·        A new energy and services manager had been appointed to focus on decarbonising the Council’s power. All the Council’s electricity was now carbon neutral, and the Council’s carbon emissions had halved across the year.

·        There had been two successful bids for government funding for decarbonisation and retrofitting of Council buildings, which would be used across the schools’ estate. The boilers at Owlsmoor Community Centre and Sandhurst Library were also being replaced. 

·        Work was ongoing with taxis to reduce emissions, particularly around home to school transport vehicles.

·        The Public Protection Partnership had done work to stop vehicle idling outside schools and in other sensitive areas. Funding from DEFRA had been sources to look at further clean air projects.

·        The Transport Strategy Manager was looking into electric vehicle charging and bikeability schemes.

·        LED lighting on roads and subways had already been delivered.



Kevin agreed to add Panel members to the internal Climate Change Yammer site for updates.


In response to discussion and questions, the following points were noted:

·        While the Council itself was on target to be net 0 before the Government’s target of 2050, it was a matter of encouraging the community to reduce their emissions.

·        The data on climate change would be taken from DEFRA data which was released on a biennial basis, and Panel members commented that DEFRA’s data was not collected often enough.

·        Panel members requested that a link to the Climate Change strategy by attached to all future agendas.

·        While the Panel were supportive of the principle of an anaerobic digester, Panel members were cautious as they did not feel that they had all the details before them. Members asked for the detail behind the proposal to be circulated separately. (Action: Kevin Gibbs)

·        The Council had chosen a green energy supplier, making it carbon neutral. It was noted that if an organisation was to change supplier to one that provided green energy, this was an easy way of reducing their emissions.

·        Panel members requested that the homepage of the Council’s website be amended to include a link to the Climate Change strategy, however it was clear that this against the style guide, set out by digital service.

·        Panel members queried where the biggest wins could be made in the borough around carbon reduction, such as areas of heavy industry.